History & Social Sciences

History & Social Sciences Course Selections (2017-2018)


Jump to:  Grade 9  |  Grade 10  |  Grade 11  |  Grade 12

Grade 9

Students must take World History.


This course examines the major changes that shaped the modern world, beginning with the Middle Ages through the eve of World War I. Major units include the Renaissance, the Age of Exploration, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, the Age of Absolutism, the French Revolution, the early Industrial Revolution, and Imperialism. The emphasis will be on the skills students need to become discerning historical thinkers: understanding geography; reading charts, graphs and tables; recognizing and understanding diverse viewpoints; comparing and contrasting information; conducting research, writing historical essays; working with primary and secondary source documents, and making presentations. Student learning will be assessed through homework, research, class participation, tests, quizzes, document-based questions, and historical analysis essays.

Grade 10

Students must take United States History I. They may also take The American Presidency or World Cultures as an elective.

United States History I (FORMERLY HISTORY II)

This course is the first part of a sequence of United States history that will be completed the following year in Grade 11. The goal is to deepen student understanding of the United States by examining the events leading up to the American Revolution to the early twentieth century. Major units include the study of the Constitution, the Early Republic, Jacksonian Democracy, Manifest Destiny, sectionalism, the U.S. Civil War, industrialization in the U.S., and U.S. Imperialism. Students will conduct critical reading and analysis using a variety of content to hone proficiency in primary and secondary source evaluation, evaluate cause and effect, develop and prove claims with evidence, and make inferences by critically evaluating content and writing supported arguments. Students will also begin publishing formal research papers with cited sources. Independent reading is a component of United States History I.

History and Social Sciences Electives (Gr 10)

The American Presidency

This course will explore the American Presidency through history to the present. Students will consider the office and role through the vision of the Founding Fathers, changes to the Institution over time, and the current issues that impact the President today. Students will examine closely the process for nominating and electing a president, issues and events arising from the 2016 election, and what makes some presidents more successful than others through historical lenses. The course will use case studies from a variety of presidencies to help illustrate and discuss these topics. We will also closely follow and analyze the upcoming 2016 presidential primaries and election and the transition of power from one president to the next.

World Cultures

This course will explore the world’s major cultures through the study of geography. Major units will include history, geography, family life and structure, social and community organizations, approaches to education, religious beliefs and institutions, political movements, economic trends, and the intellectual and artistic achievements within a given culture. Through this process, students will learn what shapes culture, how it develops, how it changes, and how it is transferred to others. The study of each of the cultures will be enhanced by the development of reading, writing, research, and critical thinking and analysis skills.

Grade 11

Students must take one of the following courses. They may also choose to add Street Law as an elective.

United States History II (FORMERLY HISTORY III)

This course completes the second part of a sequence of United States history begun in Grade 10, by examining the major events in U.S. history from World War I to the 1960s. Major units include the study of World War I, the Great Depression and the New Deal, the Rise of Dictators, World War II, the Cold War, Civil Rights, the Vietnam War and Social Changes in the 1960s. As in previous years, students will continue to refine their critical reading and analytical writing, source evaluation, use of primary source documents, ability to make claims, evidence, and interpretation, and research methods. Honors students will pursue an accelerated program adding document analysis, debate, and rigorous practice writing supported essays based on synthesizing multiple sources. Please note that the U.S. History II Honors program is a pre-Advanced Placement curriculum that will require regular and significant preparation by reading and writing outside of class.

Advanced Placement United States History

Advanced Placement United States History is designed to give grade 11 students a thorough understanding of United States History, requiring students to master historical interpretation, critical and analytical thinking skills, essay writing, and the integration of primary and secondary sources. The class strives to prepare students to assess historical data and documents, evaluate relevance and reliability, and demonstrate historical knowledge of United States History. This course is equivalent to a full-year introductory college class and, therefore, all students enrolled in this course are expected to demonstrate their content mastery by taking the Advanced Placement exam in May. Please note that summer work is required.

History and Social Sciences Elective (Gr 11)

Street Law

This elective course educates students about law, democracy, and human rights worldwide. Among the topics covered are history of law, constitutional law, criminal law, and civil law. The course design and approach are to learn law in a practical, relevant, and experiential way. The class blends legal content with hands-on learning that allows for students to read critically, to discuss interpretations of law or areas where laws are not applicable to current circumstances, to debate with the goal of engaging with the law as future informed citizens. Students are eligible to take this course junior or senior year, but not both.

Grade 12

Students must take United States History in World Context. They may also choose to add Introduction to Psychology or Genocide Studies as an elective.

United States History in World Context

This course examines United States history from a world context and extends the sequence of United States History from Grades 10 and 11, by examining the major events in U.S. and World History from the 1970s to the present. Major units include Watergate, the Iranian Hostage Crisis, the Reagan Years, the Collapse of Communism and the Rise of the New World Order, Clinton and the New Democrats, Bush and the Age of Terrorism, Obama’s Hope and Change, Europe and the Migrant Crisis, and Globalism and the Rise of Populism.  Understanding history relies on evidence-based thinking to construct interpretations of past events and is guided by giving students direct access to sources of documentary evidence.  As in previous years, to promote historical reasoning students will continue to refine their critical reading and analytical writing, source evaluation, use of primary source documents, ability to make claims, evidence, and interpretation, and research methods.

History and Social Sciences Electives (Gr 12)

Introduction to Psychology

This elective is designed to prepare students for the content and discourse they will encounter in a college-level psychology course. The foundation of the course centers on helping students to develop familiarity with the terminology and concepts of psychology with an emphasis on how psychology is applied to real-world situations. Topics include but are not limited to the history to psychology, the brain and behavior, learning and memory, consciousness, psychological disorders, and a general understanding of human behavior. Students are eligible to take this course junior or senior year, but not both. The course is not open to any student who has completed Foundations of Psychology or Applications of Psychology as a junior.

Genocide Studies

This course examines the 20th century as “the century of genocide,” beginning with the Armenian genocide, the horrors of the Holocaust, and ending with the atrocities in Bosnia and Rwanda and the violence in Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Northern Iraq. We will consider many questions in this course: What is genocide? Where did the term come from and how has it been defined and examined over time? What conditions lead to genocide? What are the warning signs? What allows people to act in such evil ways and what causes others to stand by? How is genocide represented, coped with, and remembered? How can it be prevented? Which genocides have been emphasized, and which have been overlooked? We will explore these and other ideas through a historical lens, with critical review of primary sources and research, and through a literary lens, with first-hand accounts and survivor testimony.

Former History and Social Sciences Electives

These courses are no longer offered. However, they may have been taken by students in previous school years.

History Through Media

This course explores how history is recreated and retold through the medium of popular film.  Students will use selected pieces of literary and primary sources along with documentaries and movie-clip selections to explore themes of human existence as understood through history.  Topics such as war, revolution, survival, and human interaction will be examined to enhance student understanding of the world.  Students will revisit topics they have learned in previous classes with a fresh perspective and analyze how historical events of the past continue to influence and change our understanding of our world today.  Students are eligible to take this course junior or senior year, but not both.

Advanced Placement European History

The grade 12 A.P. course and exam in European History are intended for qualified students who wish to complete classes at the secondary level that are equivalent to college introductory courses in European history. European history is increasingly seen in a broad perspective, with teaching methods reflecting an awareness of other disciplines and diverse techniques of presentation, including visual and statistical materials. The study of European history since 1450 introduces students to cultural, economic, political, and social developments that played a fundamental role in shaping the world in which they live. In addition to providing a basic narrative of events and movements, the goals of AP European History are to develop (a) an understanding of some of the principal themes in modern European history, (b) an ability to analyze historical evidence and historical interpretation, and (c) an ability to express historical understanding in writing. Students are expected to take the College Board A.P. European History Exam in May.  College credit may be applied with a score of three or higher on the College Board exam. (Exam is scored from 1 – 5.)