Social Studies in High School

Social Studies offerings are consistent with the school’s DSLOs, and are designed to allow students to develop and demonstrate character, collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, cultural competence, and content knowledge. Toward this end, courses are built around the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) framework, a set of standards from the US National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS). Students will develop questions, apply disciplinary tools, evaluate evidence, and communicate conclusions. Ninth grade students will take one of the two world history courses outlined below. Tenth through twelfth grade students have a wide variety of choices in the disciplines of history, government, economics, business, geography, and psychology, as well as the opportunity to take AT and AP courses in those disciplines.

Required Ninth Grade World History Options

All SAS ninth grade students must be enrolled in either World History or World Studies, which is the combined English 9/World History course.

English 9, World History, and World Studies each challenge students to dive more deeply into content knowledge covered, and empower students to make meaningful connections across disciplines through an inquiry lens.For the World Studies course, which meets every day with the same teacher, school transcripts will not reflect independent grades for English 9 and World History, but instead will note one grade for World Studies. Whether choosing the combined double block option or the discrete courses, to be successful, a student will need to thoughtfully understand the content introduced and master the skills of speaking persuasively, writing effectively and reading analytically. Students will be expected to consistently research and share their perspectives in collaborative environments. The skills, methods and thinking emphasized in English 9, World History, and World Studies will prove beneficial when students are asked to choose and develop an interdisciplinary SAS Catalyst project. Similarly, both choices will adequately prepare students for higher level social studies and English courses (AP and AT).

US History Options

US citizens (not dual citizens) are required to earn a credit in US History and Government, American Studies, or AP US History. Since some US public universities (e.g., University of California) require US History as an admission requirement, students who might be applying to a US public university should complete a year of US History and Government, American Studies, or AP US History.

Business and Economics-Related Options

Economics is a social studies field that seeks to analyze and describe the production, distribution, and consumption of wealth. Business and economics courses are related to social studies but are viewed by most colleges as being different than the more traditional history courses.

Additional Social Studies Options

Social Studies elective courses can fill out a high school program with courses that allow students to experience new areas of academic interest or may help in the selection of a future career path. All of these courses strengthen general study skills, particularly analytical reading, expository writing, and oral communications.

Social Studies Courses in 2018-19

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View Other High School Courses

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Course Descriptions

World Studies (English 9/World History)

ID: 41005 Grade: 9 Length: Year
Credit: English/Soc Studies (2)
Note: Double block/credit in English and History.

This course is a thematic study of the human experience through the lenses of history, sociology, economics, civics, and literature, with a focus on skills development. Students will explore critical issues, ideologies, individuals, texts and turning points in the histories of the world, considering how these developed and shaped both past and contemporary issues. Students will be challenged to think critically and to make thoughtful connections as they draw on a variety of resources to understand the human experience. Students will be challenged to demonstrate the development of their skills and understandings in final culminating projects. This interdisciplinary course will meet every day, and students will earn both an English and a Social Studies credit for completing the course.

Reading and Viewing

Students will critically read a variety of nonfiction (e.g. textbooks, academic articles, primary source documents), fiction (e.g. novels, short stories), drama, and poetry reflecting the human experience. They will be challenged to read closely and critically, to understand literary structure and technique, and to read like a historian. They will be encouraged to read widely outside of class in order make connections. Core texts include a memoir, The Ramayana, The Merchant of Venice, and Lord of the Flies.

Writing

Students will develop their writing in a variety of genres (e.g. argumentative, informative, narrative, reflective/blog), responding to both literature and social studies concepts. Language usage and mechanics instruction will focus on the problems evident in the students’ writing. Students will also develop their vocabulary using the individually-levelled program, Membean.

Speaking and Listening

Students are expected to participate fully in class discussions (shared inquiry, fishbowl, Socratic seminars etc.), work in small groups, and make formal presentations, with a focus on persuasive speaking skills.

World History

ID: 42022 Grade: 9 Length: Year
Credit: Social Studies

World History will provide students with the opportunity to explore critical issues, individuals and turning points in the histories of the world. Students will analyze the extent to which ideologies, societies, and events developed and shaped both our history and contemporary issues. Using an inquiry framework, students will develop questions, read and think like a historian, evaluate sources, and communicate ideas. Through the thematic lenses of power, belief, conflict, and change, students will be challenged to think critically and to make thoughtful connections as they draw on a variety of resources to understand the human experience. By the end of the course, students should be able to discuss their understanding of these themes, supported by historical evidence. The course themes are linked to the English 9 course and students will be encouraged throughout the year to make connections between these courses. All ninth graders must enroll in either this course or World Studies.

American Studies (English 10/US History and Government)

ID: 41014 Grade: 10 Length: Year
Credit: English/US History (2)
Note: Double block/credit in English, and US History and Government

This course is a thematic study of the American experience through the lenses of history and literature, with a focus on skills development. Through the thematic units “American Values,” “All Men are Created Equal?,” “The American Dream,” and “Conflicts and Resolutions,” students will explore critical issues, individuals, and turning points in the history of the United States of America. Students will analyze the extent to which ideologies, people, literature, and events developed and shaped both American history and its contemporary issues. Students will be challenged to think critically and to make thoughtful connections as they draw on a variety of resources to understand the American experience. This interdisciplinary course will meet every day, and students will earn both an English 10 and a US History and Government credit for completing the course.

Reading and Viewing

Students will critically read a variety of nonfiction (e.g. academic articles, primary source documents), fiction (e.g. novels, short stories), drama and poetry reflecting the American Experience; the history text will be The Americans. Students will continue to develop skills in visual literacy by critically viewing documentaries and films. Students will be encouraged to read widely outside of class in order make connections.

Writing

Students will develop their writing in a variety of genres (e.g. persuasion, narration, analysis, synthesis), responding insightfully to both literature and history and they will pursue class–related areas of interest for their research projects. Language usage and mechanics instruction will focus on the problems evident in the students’ writing.

Speaking and Listening

Students are expected to participate fully in class discussions, work in small groups, and conduct oral presentations, with a focus on persuasive speaking skills.

US History and Government

ID: 42012 Grade: 9 Length: Year
Credit: US History

This course enables students to make intelligent judgments on societal problems of the past, present, and future. Developments of economic, cultural, and political patterns as well as the changing demographics of America since the Civil War are stressed. First semester topics include a review of American foundational beliefs and events from the time period between the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution. The government unit features a study of the Constitution of the United States and the legislative, executive, and judicial branches of the federal government.The second semester focuses primarily on the 20th Century, from the development of Imperialism, Economic Boom and bust cycles as well as the World Wars, and US Foreign Policy.

AP US History

ID: 42036 Grade: 10-12 Length: Year
Credit: US History
Prerequisite Semester I grade of A or higher in World History/World Studies is required to select this course in tenth grade; a B or higher in a tenth or eleventh grade social studies course is required to select this course in eleventh or twelfth grade; or current teacher recommendation.

This course provides students with an understanding of major themes in US history, including American identity, economic and social life, political change and continuity, and the US role in the world. The course is ideal for the student who has a real interest in history and who is prepared to work consistently and to go well beyond mere memorization of the material. Students are required to be internally motivated, to have good reading and comprehension skills, to be well organized, and to be prepared to examine and think about different, often conflicting, interpretations of history. The course moves briskly, so students must be prepared to devote time daily to reading and note taking. There will be considerable in–class discussions based on assigned readings, as well as numerous interpretive essays. Students will be prepared for and strongly encouraged to sit for the AP exam in May.

History of Malaysia and Singapore

ID: 42007 Grade: 10-12 Length: Semester
Credit: Social Studies

This course provides an overview of the events and forces that have created the modern nations of Malaysia and Singapore. Students will examine the common cultural and historical background of the two countries, as well as the impact of geography and location on their histories. The role of foreign empires and colonial powers will be examined, along with the forces at work and the courses followed in their independence movements. Emphasis will be placed on Singapore and Malaysia today. Students will examine their societies, cultures, economies, and political development through simulations, independent research, lectures, and class discussion.

AP World History

ID: 42039 Grade: 10-12 Length: Year
Credit: Social Studies
Prerequisite Semester I grade of A or better in World History/World Studies is required to select this course in tenth grade; Semester I grade of B or higher in a tenth or eleventh grade social studies course is required to select this course in eleventh or twelfth grade; or current teacher recommendation.
Note: 2018–19 will be the final time this course is offered. Beginning in 2019–20, the course will be replaced with an Advanced Topic (AT) offering in history. Students who take AP World History may choose to take the AT offering in history for credit. Students who are considering taking this course in eleventh grade are encouraged to speak with their counselors.

The purpose of AP World History is to develop greater understanding of the evolution of global processes and contacts, advanced through factual knowledge and specific analytical skills. The course will focus on change and continuity within and between cultures, allowing students to improve their analytical and persuasive writing skills. Students will explore the cultures of Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas, and the Pacific islands. The period covered is from the Neolithic era to the present. Students will be prepared for and strongly encouraged to sit for the AP exam in May.

AP Human Geography

ID: 42051 Grade: 10-12 Length: Year
Credit: Social Studies
PrerequisiteNo prerequisite for students to select this course in twelfth grade. Semester I grade of A or better in World History/World Studies is required to select this course in tenth grade; Semester I grade of B or higher is required in a tenth grade social studies course to select this course in eleventh grade; or current teacher recommendation.
Note: 2018–19 will be the final time this course is offered. Beginning in 2019–20, the course will be replaced with an AT offering in geography. Students who take AP Human Geography may choose to take the AT offering in geography for credit. Students who are considering taking this course in eleventh are encouraged to speak with their counselors.

This course is designed to introduce students to key concepts surrounding human geography. Emphasis is placed on understanding past and present trends in population dynamics, political geography, geopolitics, economic development, cultural considerations, agriculture, and urbanization. Throughout the course geographic models are presented to explain trends and to predict future change. For anyone interested in world geography and current events, this course is a natural as it combines theory with present case studies. This course receives a 0.25 additional GPA weighting (rather than 0.5). Students will be prepared for and strongly encouraged to sit for the AP exam in May.

AP US Government and Politics

ID: 42035 Grade: 11-12 Length: Semester I
Credit: Social Studies
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of B or higher in a tenth or eleventh grade social studies course; or current teacher recommendation.

This college level course is designed to give students an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States. The course includes both the study of general concepts used to interpret US politics and the analysis of specific examples. The following are the basic concepts to be covered: constitutional underpinnings of US government; political beliefs and behaviors; political parties, interest groups, and the mass media; institutions of national government; and the formation of public policy. Students will be prepared for and strongly encouraged to sit for the AP exam in May.

AP Comparative Government and Politics

ID: 42031 Grade: 11-12 Length: Semester II
Credit: Social Studies
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of B or higher in a tenth or eleventh grade social studies course; or current teacher recommendation.

This college level course is intended to help students better understand the diverse constitutional, ideological, and social bases of political leadership exercised by different countries. Six countries, China, Great Britain, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia are examined. Basic concepts to be covered are: the sources of sovereignty, public authority, and political power; national and international political institutions; the relationship between citizens, state, and society; the causes and effects of political and economic change; and various areas of public policy. Students will be prepared for and strongly encouraged to sit for the AP exam in May.

AT Urban Studies

ID: 42060 Grade: 11-12 Length: Semester II
Credit: Social Studies
Prerequisite: AP Human Geography; or a Semester I grade of B or higher in a tenth or eleventh grade social studies course is required to select this course; or current teacher recommendation.

Students will study urban development from a historical and a geographic perspective focusing on themes, trends, and challenges that have faced urban planners. Students will engage in various interdisciplinary assignments and projects which demonstrate understanding of the key concepts, content, and skills associated with city design and analysis. Students will apply this knowledge to Singapore and look for themes and patterns related to various community stakeholders. Students will then focus on a theme of personal interest which will form the basis of field work research paper/project. Themes could relate to topics such as gentrification, green space, the negotiation between private and public interests, architecture, transportation, leisure and recreation, or government housing, and may focus on one specific location, such as the their own neighborhood.

Following the fieldwork–based research, students will look at the main challenges and issues facing urban planners today around the world. The culminating summative project will be a research project which can take a variety of forms, but will address one of these issues. Students will also share a presentation which summarises their research and findings. This course will involve research in the field, and will require students to visit sites in their own time, and be responsible for conducting that field research. This course was collaboratively developed and endorsed by a head of department at the Institute of Urban and Regional Planning, Mumbai, India. The AT designation indicates a course is at university level, putting it at or above the level of a traditional AP course. The course requires rigorous study and emphasizes in–depth research. Like an AP course, this course has a grade point weighting of 0.5 for the duration of the course.

Economics

ID: 42008 Grade: 10-12 Length: Semester
Credit: Social Studies

Economics will provide students some insight into ways by which people and nations function economically, i.e., how they make a living. Basic economic concepts including wealth, utility, capital, labor, supply and demand, profit and competition, production, distribution, exchange, consumption, and the factors affecting each area are studied. Monetary and fiscal policies are examined in the light of contemporary economics, both national and international. Students will study major recessions to understand fiscal policy, the public debt, and ways banks create money.

Behavioral Economics and Game Theory

ID: 42023 Grade: 10-12 Length: Semester
Credit: Social Studies
Note: This course does not meet the NCAA Division I core course requirement for Social Studies. See counselor for details. This course was previously named Decision/Analysis. If a credit was earned in that course, you cannot retake it under this new name.

This course uses models from the disciplines of psychology and economics to encourage a logical, deductive approach to thinking, and to look at several different approaches to resolving conflicts. The major analytical models presented are derived from “game theory” and “behavioral economics.” These models are used to tackle issues and problems across the entire spectrum of the social sciences. The course is largely problem centered, applying game theory tactics and skills to hypothetical situations and to case studies that that come from history, current world events, and the immediate world around us. Individual analysis,small group discussion, and class discussion are common formats.

AP Economics

ID: 42045 Grade: 11-12 Length: Year
Credit: Social Studies
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of B or higher in a tenth or eleventh grade social studies course; or current teacher recommendation.

AP Economics is made up of two semester–length College Board AP courses: Macroeconomics and Microeconomics. Topics covered include basic concepts such as scarcity, trade–offs, and the functions of the economics system; the nature and function of product markets, including basic supply and demand theory, consumer choice theory, and pricing theory; the nature and function of factor markets, including theories of wage determination; measurement of economic performance using concepts such as gross domestic product, inflation, and unemployment; analysis of various schools of economic thought in relation to aggregate demand and aggregate supply; money and banking, including the tools of the central bank; and, finally, the usefulness of various government policies that can be applied to remedy the economic problems discussed throughout each semester. College Board offers both an AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics exam. This course prepares students to take both exams in May. SAS offers two different versions of AP Economics. In this version, students proceed as a class at the normal AP pace. A self–paced AP Economics (42046) is also available. Students will be prepared for and strongly encouraged to sit for the AP exam in May.

AP Economics (Self-Paced)

ID: 42046 Grade: 11-12 Length: Year
Credit: Social Studies
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of B or higher in a tenth or eleventh grade social studies course; or current teacher recommendation.

This self–paced AP Economics covers the same content as the more traditional AP Economics course (42045), but students have the flexibility to move faster than the normal pace of the class. Students may take assessments before the normal due date but may not fall behind. Students who sign up for this course will benefit from the flexibility to plan the timing of assessments themselves but should be self–directed and strong independent learners. Students will be prepared for and strongly encouraged to sit for the AP exam in May.

AT Economics: Globalization

ID: 42061 Grade: 11-12 Length: Semester
Credit: Social Studies
Prerequisite: AP Economics; or a Semester I grade of A in Economics plus teacher recommendation.
Note: This course offers students an option to pursue possible university credit.

This college level course is designed to offer students an opportunity to delve deeper into the international economy than our introductory courses allow. The focus of the course is globalization (international trade and economic development). Students use the conventional models learned in previous economics classes as well as the less conventional models of behavioral economics to study economic development and growth. All students will write a research paper and work on a development problem with a local social enterprise as culminating economics projects. The AT designation indicates a course is at university level, putting it above the level of a traditional AP course. The course requires rigorous study and emphasizes in–depth research. Like an AP course, this course has a grade point weighting of 0.5 for the duration of the course.

This course is aligned to the criteria for a Syracuse University economics course (SUPA ECN 203). Therefore, AT Economics: Globalization students may elect to earn Syracuse University credit by concurrently enrolling in SUPA ECN 203. Students must enroll in the Syracuse University system at the beginning of AT Economics: Globalization and successfully complete additional assignments and assessments through self–study in order to earn Syracuse University credit. Please note that there is a cost per Syracuse University credit hour that families must pay if students choose to concurrently enroll. For further information, please see the SUPA website (http://supa.syr.edu). To determine whether participation in this program is a fit for your long–term goals, please speak with your counselor.

Psychology

ID: 42010 Grade: 11-12 Length: Semester
Credit: Social Studies

This course focuses on the study of the mind and behavior, beginning with a brief history of psychology and a look at the work of its principal theorists. Because technological innovations have made the structure and work of the mind more accessible in the past decade, some time is spent addressing recent findings in articles and documentaries as well as the text. Principal units include The Brain, Learning and Conditioning, Memory and Thought, Altered States of Consciousness, Intelligence, Personality Theory, Abnormal Psychology, and Nature or Nurture.

AP Psychology

ID: 42050 Grade: 11-12 Length: Year
Credit: Social Studies
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of B or higher in a tenth or eleventh grade social studies course is required to select this course in eleventh or twelfth grade; or current teacher recommendation.
Note: This course will be offered for the final time in 2018–19. Beginning in 2019–20, the course will be replaced with an Advanced Topic (AT) offering in psychology. Due to significant content similarities, students who take AP Psychology cannot later take the AT offering in pscyhology for credit. Students who are considering taking this course in eleventh grade are encouraged to speak with their counselors.

A student may choose Psychology or AP Psychology or both. They use different texts. What further differentiate the two are their level, duration, and purpose. AP Psychology students must be willing to pursue college level work. Students electing AP Psychology are expected to have demonstrated high academic achievement in previous course work and to be prepared for the rigor and fast pace of an AP section. Strong students are encouraged to enroll directly in AP Psychology, an advanced level course that introduces the systematic and scientific study of behavior and mental processes. History and methods, the biological basis of behavior, sensation and perception, states of consciousness, learning, thinking, motivation and emotion, development, personality, testing, intelligence, abnormal psychology, treatment, and social psychology comprise the syllabus. The eminent psychologists are surveyed.

The AP Psychology course will receive a 0.25 additional GPA weighting (rather than 0.5). Students will be prepared for and strongly encouraged to sit for the AP exam in May.

AT Geography

ID: TBD Grade: 10-12 Length: Year
Credit: Social Studies
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of A or better in World History/World Studies is required to select this course in tenth grade; Semester I grade of B or higher is required in a tenth grade social studies course to select this course in eleventh grade; or current teacher recommendation.
Note: Course name is subject to change. This course is not offered in 2018–19. It will be offered for the first time in 2019–20.

AT Psychology

ID: TBD Grade: 11-12 Length: Year
Credit: Social Studies
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of B or higher in a tenth– or eleventh–grade social studies course is required to select this course in eleventh or twelfth grade; or current teacher recommendation.
Note: Course name is subject to change. This course is not offered in 2018–19. It will be offered for the first time in 2019–20. Students who have earned a credit in AP Psychology may not take this course for credit.

AT History

ID: TBD Grade: 11-12 Length: Year
Credit: Social Studies
Prerequisite: Semester I grade of A or better in World History/World Studies is required to select this course in tenth grade; Semester I grade of B or higher in a tenth or eleventh grade social studies course is required to select this course in eleventh or twelfth grade; or current teacher recommendation.
Note: Course name is subject to change. This course is not offered in 2018–19. It will be offered for the first time in 2019–20.