The history and social science department introduces students to the disciplines of historical thinking and learning in order to create critically thinking problem-solvers found in today’s world. In addition to traditional historical learning, students are exposed to cross-curricular interactions with every other department in the school in order to apply their learning in new and creative ways. In doing so, students will work to become knowledgeable, ethical and responsible citizens who seek to use their skills to help shape a better future.
- Human Geography CP (1 year/1.0 unit)
- Human Geography Honors (1 year/1.0 unit)
- AP Human Geography (1 year/1.0 unit)
- World History CP (1 year/1.0 unit)
- World History Honors ( 1 year/1.0 unit)
- AP World History (1 year/1.0 unit)
- US History CP (1 year/1.0 unit)
- US History Honors (1 year/1.0 unit)
- AP US History (1 year/1.0 unit)
- Government and Economics
- AP® US Government and Politics (1st Semester of Government/Economics)
- AP® Macroeconomics (2nd semester of AP Government/Economics)
- AP® Psychology
Human Geography is concerned with the ways in which patterns on Earth’s surface reflect and influence physical and human processes. As such, maps and spatial data are fundamental to the discipline, and learning to use and think about them is critical to geographical literacy. Students will be able to see regions as objects of analysis and move beyond simply locating and describing regions to considering how and why they come into being and what they reveal about the changing character of the world in which we live. At the heart of a geographical perspective is a concern with the ways in which events and processes operating in one place can influence those operating at other places. Thus, students will learn to view places and patterns not in isolation but in terms of their spatial and functional relationship with other places and patterns. Finally, they will be able to achieve awareness that those relationships are constantly changing, and understand how and why change occurs.
The Honors Human Geography course is built around three enduring ideas to create an engaging and relevant social studies course:
- History is an interrelated story of human interactions with the world.
The course explores the invisible structures and forces that shape and reflect the regions, communities, governments, economies, and cultures of humanity. These big ideas help students develop an organized and meaningful understanding of time and space.
- History and geography are inherently dynamic.
As historians and geographers uncover new evidence, current assumptions are challenged and previous arguments and narratives gain complexity, nuance, and context. This course teaches students how to examine sources and data, establish inferences, and ultimately build and critique arguments.
- Historians and geographers are investigators.
Learning in Human Geography is designed to be a disciplinary apprenticeship in which students participate in the process of discovery. Students will play the role of historian and geographer by practicing the detective skills and using the tools of each craft. Throughout the course, students will work to evaluate evidence through various sources, incorporate evidence into written and oral arguments, and explain historical relationships through causality, correlation, continuity, and change over time.
Prerequisite: departmental approval
The Advanced Placement Program offers a course and exam in Human Geography to qualified students who wish to complete studies in secondary school equivalent to an introductory college course in human geography. The purpose of the AP Human Geography course is to introduce students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. The course is divided into seven independent units comprising of Geography: Its Nature and Perspectives, Population, Cultural Patterns and Processes, Political Organization of Space, Agriculture and Rural Land Use, Industrialization and Economic Development, and Cities and Urban Land Use. Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human social organization and its environmental consequences. They also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their science and practice. On successful completion of the course, students should have the skills that enable them to:
- Use and think about maps and spatial data.
- Understand and interpret the implications of associations among phenomena in places.
- Recognize and interpret at different scales the relationships among patterns and processes.
- Define regions and evaluate the regionalization process.
- Characterize and analyze changing interconnections among places.
Prerequisite: Departmental approval (writing sample--freshmen)
World History 2 begins with the Renaissance and ends in the present. Focus is placed upon the changing relationship between Western Europe and Africa, South Asia, and China, as well as the exploration and colonization of the Americas. Major revolutions will be covered, including those in the Americas, France, Russia, and China. Special attention will be paid to the themes of humans interacting with the environment and civilizations interacting with one another. Why, for example, did Western Europeans feel compelled to explore? How can the two World Wars be seen as civil wars? The course will recognize that a study of civilizations includes a study of all of the components that constitute a society: politics, economics, religion, art, literature, etc. Students will work with primary sources, refining their ability to evaluate and summarize material. A study of the world’s major civilizations also provides ample opportunity to practice reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.
Prerequisite: Human Geography
In addition to World History 2 CP course description, Honors students will be expected to evaluate, summarize, and synthesize primary source material at a higher level than that which is required at the college prep level. Already-strong abilities in reading, writing, and critical thinking will be refined.
Prerequisite: Human Geography
The AP® program enables students to pursue college-level study while still in high school. This course is the second year in a two-year study begun in 9th grade. The expectation is that students take the national exam at the end of this year--the sophomore year--and, based upon their performance on the exam, they may receive credit from the college or university they choose to attend. AP® World spans 1450 until the present. The major civilizations studied in World History will be covered—including Western Europe, the Americas, Russia, and China—but students will be expected to analyze and compare the complexities of those civilizations and the interactions between environment, religious beliefs, and social and political structures. Students will be asked to engage in consistent critical thinking and essay writing. They will work with a large number of primary sources, and will learn to analyze and evaluate like a historian.
Prerequisite: Departmental approval and writing sample
This class offers students a historical overview of the history of the United States, while also trying to promote an awareness of the striking diversity of views that both characterize and shape its history. In addition to providing a broad introduction to the modern United States, the course is intended to achieve several more specific goals.
- One of the course objectives is to expose students to what historians do. History is a discipline that entails learning how to review and gather evidence in a manner that offers greater understanding of events, issues, and people based on historical evidence. To that end, students will be required to read and analyze a number of historical documents created by the historical actors we will be studying.
- Whatever career students are considering entering, strong oral and written communication skills are a necessity. As such, this course is designed to help improve students' abilities to articulate their ideas clearly and concisely.
- In pursuing each of these objectives, students will be "doing" history. Many people have the misperception that history is simply remembering facts: names, dates, places, etc. To be sure, learning history is one of the things students will be doing, and it does entail knowing facts. But students will be doing much more than just that. They will be recovering history by looking at a variety of historical sources. They will be thinking historically by learning to understand the past and the people who inhabited it on their own terms while also recognizing how our views of the past are shaped by our own experiences. In the process, students should also connect to history by placing their own experiences in the broader context of the world. Throughout this process, I hope students will realize that "doing" history can also be quite fun.
The purpose of the Honors U.S. History course is designed to provide students with the analytic skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in U.S. history. The course serves as a chronological survey of the history of the United States from the colonial period to the present. There is an emphasis that goes beyond the memorization of facts to the interpretation and analysis of historical data and writings. The course integrates civics and citizenship into the thematic learning objectives covered throughout the year to prepare students to act as informed citizens of the country they live in. Throughout the course, students will be "doing" history and not simply "learning" history. Many people have the misperception that history is simply remembering facts: names, dates, places, etc. To be sure, learning history is one of the things students will be doing, and it does entail knowing facts. But students will be doing much more than just that. They will be recovering history by looking at a variety of historical sources. They will be thinking historically by learning to understand the past and the people who inhabited it on their own terms while also recognizing how our views of the past are shaped by our own experiences. In the process, students should also connect to history by placing their own experiences in the broader context of the world. Throughout this process, students will realize that "doing" history can also be quite fun.
Prerequisite : World History and departmental approval
The Advanced Placement U.S. History course is designed to provide students with the analytic skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in U.S. history. The program prepares students for intermediate and advanced college courses by making demands upon them equivalent to those made by full-year introductory college courses. Students are assessed at the end of the year by taking the AP U.S. History exam, a comprehensive multiple choice and essay based exam. Students will learn to assess historical materials—their relevance to a given interpretive problem, reliability and importance—and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship. Students will develop the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in essay format. By the time of the AP exam, students will be able to draw upon a reservoir of systematic factual knowledge in order to exercise analytic skills intelligently. This course will prepare students to take the AP exam by studying the following themes: American diversity , American identity , culture , demographic changes , economic transformations , globalizations and religion .
Prerequisite : World History and departmental approval
This class offers students a composite course of U.S. government and politics in the fall semester coupled with a spring semester of macro- and, to a lesser extent, microeconomics. The first half of this course focuses on the philosophical and institutional foundations of the American political system. In particular, students will investigate the various roles that the Constitution, public opinion, political parties, campaigns and elections, interest groups, the media and the various institutions of the federal government—the President, Congress, Judiciary and the Bureaucracy—play in the development of federal public policy. Throughout the government course students will enhance their reading, writing and oral presentation skills by focusing on the multiple themes pertaining to the U.S. Government and Politics.
The Economics semester of this course is designed to give students a complete understanding of the principles of economics that apply to an economic system as a whole. This course places particular emphasis on the study of national income and price determination, and also develops a familiarity with economic performance measures, economic growth and international economics. By including a minor focus in microeconomics, students will become familiar with the principles of economics that apply to the functions of individual decision makers, both consumers and producers, within the larger economic system. It places primary emphasis on the nature and functions of product markets, and includes the study of factor markets and of the role of government in promoting greater efficiency and equity in the economy.
Prerequisite : U.S. History
The Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics program is designed to teach American constitutional government based on the interpretation of original documents, the principles of American government, American political beliefs and behaviors, political parties, interest groups, national institutions, policy processes and law.
AP® Government and Politics is a very demanding college level course. Students are required not only to read the college level text, but also to augment this material through research and reading of supplemental articles and then critically apply the findings to current governmental policies. It is also imperative that a challenging academic environment exists and that the student is dedicated to learning, is highly motivated, and is willing to put forth the time and effort required for a course of this intensity both in and out of the classroom.
Students will be assigned daily reading from the text and/or other required supplementary reading materials. Teaching methods will vary and include lecture, classroom discussion, small group discussions, cooperative learning strategies, simulations, student presentations and online activities. Students will also be required to write free-response essays for each unit and to analyze and interpret various primary and secondary sources from both historical and current writings. While one of the main outcomes of the course is that students perform well on the AP Exam in May, the student’s grade is completely assessed through course work and class assignments, discussions, readings and exams. The curriculum for this course consists of topics drawn from seven interrelated units of study outlined in the AP Course Description booklet published by the College Board, including instruction in the constitutional underpinnings of the U.S. government, political beliefs and political behaviors, political parties, interest groups and mass media. The course also delivers instruction in institutions of national government, public policy, civil rights and civil liberties. Prerequisite : U.S. History and department approval
The purpose of the AP course in macroeconomics is to give students a thorough understanding of the principles of economics that apply to an economic system as a whole. The course places particular emphasis on the study of national income and price-level determination, and also develops students’ familiarity with economic performance measures, the financial sector, stabilization policies, economic growth and international economics. Instructions include basic economic concepts, measurement of economic performance, national income, price determination, stabilization policies, economic growth and the foreign exchange market. Prerequisite : U.S. History and department approval
AP® Psychology is a year-long course that is designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. While considering the psychologists and studies that have shaped the field, students explore and apply psychological theories, key concepts and phenomena associated with such topics as the biological bases of behavior, sensation and perception, learning and cognition, motivation, developmental psychology, testing and individual differences, treatment of abnormal behavior and social psychology. Throughout the course, students employ psychological research methods, including ethical considerations, as they use the scientific method, analyze bias, evaluate claims and evidence, and effectively communicate ideas.
The central question addressed in Psychology asks how people think. In order to think like a psychologist, one must learn to use critical thinking to restrain intuition, to restrain judgment with compassion, and to restrain illusion with understanding. The curriculum for this two-semester Psychology course will cover a variety of topics, and can be found on the AP ® Course Description.
Prerequisite : World History and department approval