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Social Studies

The study of History (Minnesota, U.S., and World) helps students to see how people in other times and places have grappled with the fundamental questions of truth, justice, and personal responsibility, to understand that ideas have real consequences, and to realize that events are shaped both by ideas and the actions of individuals. The global connections in areas such as commerce, politics, migration, and communications, make an understanding of the history of the world’s many cultures especially important in fostering the respect and understanding required in a connected and interdependent world.

The geographically literate person knows where important things are, why they are located in those places, and the significance of the location patterns of the world, as well as comprehending the nature and significance of multiple connections between people and places around the world. Included in Social Studies is the study of economics, which enables students to make reasoned judgments about both personal economic questions and broader questions of economic policy in a complex and changing world. The aim of Social Studies civic education is to ensure the participation of informed and responsible citizens who are skilled in the arts of deliberation and effective action.

Social Studies Course Progression

Required Courses:

Minnesota Studies: 6th

Minnesota Studies includes knowledge, comprehension, and analysis of Minnesota history from tribal settlement to modern-day. Some topics covered will include the daily life of native peoples, early settlement and statehood, Minnesota’s role in various wars (Civil War, Dakota Conflict, WWI, WWII, etc.), industrialization, state and local government, and immigration (among other topics). This is a blended course in which the first semester focuses primarily on Minnesota’s development, while the second semester brings Minnesota into the larger history of the United States.

US Studies: 7th

US Studies focuses on history as the leading discipline, but also includes citizenship, economics, geography, and government. Students will study the founding documents and explain the impact of various policies on how people lived, worked, and functioned in society. Some of the themes discussed include the Birthplace of Democracy, the Civil War, Reconstruction, WWII, and the beginning of the Cold War. Students will also have the opportunity to complete in the National History Day Competition, an inter-disciplinary research program which broadens students' historical experiences by completing a paper, an exhibit, a documentary, a play, or a website.

Global Studies: 8th

This course takes a regional approach to understanding the world and how people interact with their environments. Students will analyze important trends in the modern world, participate in civic discussion, conduct historical inquiry, and study events over the last half century that have shaped the contemporary world. The units that students will study include: Geographic Skills, Overview of the World/Globalization, Australia/Oceania, East and Southeast Asia, Southwest and Central Asia, Africa, Europe/Russia, Latin America, and the United States/Canada. A research project is required as well as various smaller projects

Ancient World History and Geography: 9th

Ancient World History includes knowledge, comprehension, and analysis of World History from Ancient Rome through the Age of Revolution and Enlightenment. We will examine Rome and the Rise of Christianity, The World of Islam (up to 1800), early African peoples, civilizations of the Americas, the Asian world (up to 1800), Europe in the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation, the Age of Exploration, and European Revolution and Enlightenment. We will examine history through the people, events, and ideas that made these periods and countries important, as well as trying to tie countries and people together.

Modern World History and Human Geography: 10th

Modern World History will cover the period from the French Revolution to the late 20th Century. Students will not only examine key historical events, but hone their analytical and writing skills as they prepare for college. Assignments include research papers, essay exams, and document based questions and analysis. Students will be read excerpts from a variety of sources including key readings that will come from primary source documents. Students will have the opportunity to read a literature selection to enhance understanding of a key event or era in modern history and the repercussions that resulted from that extraordinary event. Options could include: Animal Farm, All Quiet on the Western Front, When My Name was Keoko, or Persepolis.

American History: 11th

This course provides a one-year survey of American history beginning with the migration of native peoples and civilizations in North America prior to European contact to the Colonial Period, the American Revolution, the Civil War, and other defining events for the United States, including analyses of various civil rights movements and the Vietnam War era. Using the textbook, primary documents, and current events, students will learn about the various political, social, religious, and economic developments that have shaped and continue to shape the United States. Essay writing and critical thinking are emphasized as integral ways of understanding how the past relates to the present and future. A major research paper is required as well as various smaller projects.

Political Science: 11-12th

This is an introductory course which will provide students with the knowledge and skills needed for informed, responsible, and active participation in their communities. We will be framing the class with the Constitution – using it to explore such topics as rights/responsibilities of citizenship, political parties, the three branches of government, and domestic and foreign policy.

Introduction to Economics: 11-12th

Economics is the study of how people coordinate their wants and needs, given scarce resources and the decision-making mechanisms, social customs, and political realities of their societies. We will examine how decisions made by consumers, workers, investors, managers, and government officials interact to determine the allocation of scarce resources. We will begin with a focus on microeconomics and gradually expand to macroeconomic topics such as GDP, unemployment, inflation, and public policy. This course will end with a unit on personal finance.

Elective Courses:

Sociology (10th- 12th)

Sociology is the study of human interaction. It focuses on people and their ways of life as well as studying social trends, cultural changes, human development, social institutions and collective behavior. Sociology enhances students’ understanding of the social world and offers an accessible setting to learn and use scientific thinking, and consider how society might address social issues. A sociological perspective underscores the importance of examining the social world with a critical eye, and to question assumptions and generalizations about the world. In Sociology you should be open to discussing many current issues including gender, race, class, religion and crime.

AP Psychology: 11-12th

The AP Psychology course is designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Students are exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major subfields within psychology. They also learn about the ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice. For more information on this course go to:

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