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Social Studies

Curriculum Overview

Social studies encourages an understanding of and action in local, national, and global issues.  Students will practice critical thinking skills which encourage informed civic action. As members of a globally interconnected democracy, students will understand, participate in, and make decisions about their world. Through the core social science disciplines of history, geography, economics and civics, an education in social studies provides students with tools to understand human behavior, culture, and development, as well as to become agents of change.

Class Topics

American History and Geography

U.S. History and Geography is a two-semester course that is required for graduation. This class will begin with a review of Early American History (from the Native American world through the Civil War and Reconstruction). The remainder of the course will be spent learning about the people and social forces which shaped the United States from Industrialization to the Present. Students will learn through traditional methods related to the textbook and lectures as well as special projects integrating the arts, film, computer research and simulations.


The focus of this course is to help students understand the meaning of citizenship as they interact with their community, state, nation and the rest of the world. Focus will be on the foundations and function of the American system of government with a review of other historic and contemporary forms of government. Students will understand how individuals and groups have impacted the American political landscape over the course of our history and how they can meet the responsibilities of citizenship now and in the future. Discussion and debate are critical elements of this course and frequent participation is expected.


Economics is a semester course in which students will study the American Economic System in terms of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. The principles of capitalism will be examined with the emphasis on individual and household choices, business choices, money, banking, finance, and the government’s role in the economy and trade in both domestic and international markets.

World History and Geography

World History and Geography is the study of civilizations, people, places, and events over the past 5,000 years of human history. It includes the Foundations of History, Expanding Hemispheric Interactions, the First Global Age, Global Revolutions, and Global Crisis and Achievement, The Cold War and Aftermath, and Contemporary Global Issues. Students will realize that man has had similar needs and problems universally through time and has met those needs and problems in different ways. Students will learn through traditional methods related to the textbook and lectures as well as special projects integrating the arts, film, computer research and simulations.

The Future: An Inquiry and Analysis

An interdisciplinary and inquiry-driven course pulling together history, geography, economics, sociology and political science to systematically explore predictions and possibilities about the future and how they can emerge from the present, whether that of human society in particular or of life on Earth in general. The class will culminate in a student action project addressing the “possible, probable, and preferable” futures that were studied.

History of Ideas

Using the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies as its base, this inquiry-driven course will combine themes and elements from the many disciplines of the Social Sciences. Students will explore, analyze and evaluate the significance of historical trends in philosophical, political, artistic, and cultural thought, and extend their knowledge to create connections, thus helping them to better understand the world around them.


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