Social Studies

The Social Studies Program

The Social Studies program prepares students to become informed, responsible, active citizens in their city/town, state, nation and world. Through a sequence of courses in Grades 9 -12, students deepen their understanding of civics, economics, geography, history, and other social sciences.

Students use inquiry and discussion to learn about domestic and global issues. They learn multiple perspectives about diverse cultures around the world.

Students read, write, collaborate, and research to think like historians and form positions using various sources.

Students have the opportunity to take honors-level and college-level courses.

Social Studies Sequence

(3 credits required for graduation including 1 credit in Civics/American Government. A U.S. History course must be included in a student’s course sequence.)

 

Grade 9

Grade 10

Grade 11

Grade 12

1 credit

1 credit

1 credit

1 credit Electives

World History

Honors World History

Civics/American Government

Honors Civics/American Government*

Modern U. S. History

Honors Modern U. S.

History

U.S. History-UCONN

American Studies-UCONN

American Studies-UCONN

AP Human Geography

Contemporary Issues

Economics

Economics and Law

Economics-UCONN

Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights

Intro. To Human Rights-UCONN

Honors Contemporary Issues

Honors Economics

Honors Economics and Law

Psychology

Social Studies Topics

Sociology

Topics in Modern U.S. History

U.S. History -UCONN

½ credit Electives available at some school locations.


Social Studies Course Descriptions

Grade 9

World History (SS642) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit)

World History examines our past, explains our present, and imagines our future. It’s a story about us. The course examines the questions: Where did everything come from? How did we get to where we are now? Where do humans fit in? Where are things heading?  The course uses the Big History Project online curriculum. The course is an interdisciplinary course including history, science and humanities. Students will view and analyze videos, animations and articles. Students will participate in cooperative classroom activities. Students will learn to use their intuition, make connections, and examine the authority, evidence, and logic of claims across disciplines and scales. Students will learn to engage with new ideas and information and to using evidence and original texts to construct, write, and deliver effective arguments. Throughout the year, STEM connections are made to the student’s career technical program. Students will develop critical thinking skills and perspectives to better understand the world around them. World History prepares students to take the Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT) by teaching key college and career-ready skills.

Honors World History (SS643) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit) World History is an accelerated course for the motivated student who has a strong interest in social studies and is a proficient reader with strong writing and analytical skills. The course is designed to expose the student to the global thresholds that have had the most impact in shaping the modern world. As such, the course seeks to focus on developments that have had the biggest global impact. The course uses the Big History Project online curriculum. 9th graders will study how changes in human understanding of art, religion, society, geography, science and government shaped the world we live in today. Throughout the year, STEM connections are made to the student’s career technical program. Students will develop historical thinking through active inquiry and research using multiple sources. Students will analyze multiple perspectives and interpretations and will engage in informative and argumentative tasks. Honors World History prepares students to take the state assessment test by teaching key college and career-ready skills.

Grade 10

Civics/American Government (SS210) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit)

Civics/American Government is a required course for graduation. The focus of this course is to prepare students to participate in exercising their political responsibilities as thoughtful and informed citizens. Civics provides a basis for understanding the rights and responsibilities for being an American citizen and a framework for competent and responsible participation. Emphasis is placed on the historical development of government and political systems and the importance of the rule of law; the United States Constitution; Federal, State and local government structure; and rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Students will actively investigate local, state and national issues, read and participate in discussions, and develop informed opinions using a variety of writing forms. This course prepares students to take the state assessment test by teaching key skills throughout the curriculum.

Honors Civics/American Government (SS211) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit)

Honors Civics/American Government is an accelerated course for the motivated student who has a strong interest in social studies and is a proficient reader and writer. Civics is a required course for graduation. The focus of this course is to prepare students to participate in exercising their political responsibilities as thoughtful and informed citizens. Civics provides a basis for understanding the rights and responsibilities for being an American citizen and a framework for competent and responsible participation. Emphasis is placed on the historical development of government and political systems and the importance of the rule of law; the United States Constitution; Federal, State and local government structure; and rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Students will actively investigate local, state and national issues, read and participate in discussions, and develop informed opinions using a variety of writing forms. This course prepares students to take the state assessment test by teaching key skills throughout the curriculum.

Grade 11/12

Modern U.S. History (SS310) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit)

Modern United States History builds upon the historical foundations learned in Civics/American Government. This course focuses on the major historical periods, issues and trends in U.S. History from the 20th century to the present. Students examine historical themes such as ideals, beliefs and institutions, change and conflict, and mass media and technology in order to understand how the United States came to be the way it is. The course emphasizes the historical, political, social, cultural and economic events and developments that shaped our nation. Throughout the year, connections are made to the student’s trade and technical program. Students will develop historical thinking through active inquiry and research using multiple sources. Students will analyze multiple perspectives and interpretations and write to inform and persuade the reader.

Honors Modern U.S. History (SS311) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit)

Honors Modern United States History is an accelerated course for the motivated student who has a strong interest in social studies and is a proficient reader and writer. The course builds upon the historical foundations learned in Civics/American Government. This course focuses on the major historical periods, issues and trends in U.S. History from the 20th century to the present. Students examine historical themes such as ideals, beliefs and institutions, change and conflict, and mass media and technology in order to understand how the United States came to be the way it is. The course emphasizes the historical, political, social, cultural and economic events and developments that shaped our nation. Throughout the year, connections are made to the student’s trade and technical program. Students will develop historical thinking through active inquiry and research using multiple sources. Students will analyze multiple perspectives and interpretations and write to inform and persuade the reader.

Seminar in American Studies – UCONN (SS716) (1 credit) (NCAA Approved Course)  

This college-level course for advanced learners explores the question what is an American? The course is a multi-disciplinary inquiry into the diversity of American societies and culture. To be successful in this course, students need to be independent, self-motivated and ready to take on the challenge of participating in seminar-style discussions.

Students who enroll in the UCONN Early College Experience (ECE) program and successfully complete this course are eligible to earn three (3) UCONN college credits for the Seminar in American Studies course, (AMST1201). This course meets graduation requirements for Social Studies in U.S. History.

United States History to 1877 - UCONN (SS718) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit)  

This college-level course for advanced learners surveys political, economic, social and cultural developments in American History through the Civil War and Reconstruction. The course has two principal aims: To give students a good basic grounding in the foundations of society in the United States and to introduce students to the discipline of history and the process of thinking historically. Some of the themes that will be explored will include the exploration, conquest and settlement of the land; the impact of the environment on culture and vice-versa; the formation of national identity; and the question of American “exceptionalism.” This class draws upon a variety of texts and will develop critical thinking skills, reading and writing skills. To be successful in this course, students need to be independent, self-motivated and ready to take on the challenge of participating in seminar-style discussions.

Students who enroll in the UCONN Early College Experience (ECE) program and successfully complete this course are eligible to earn three (3) UCONN college credits for United States History to 1877 course (HIST1501). This course meets graduation requirements for Social Studies.

United States History since 1877 - UCONN (SS719) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit)  

This college-level course for advanced learners surveys political, economic, social and cultural developments in American History from 1877 to the present. Students will consider political, economic, cultural and social histories while paying particular attention to gender, race, sexuality, class, region, nation and shifting global contexts. This class draws upon a variety of texts and will develop critical thinking skills, reading and writing skills. To be successful in this course, students need to be independent, self-motivated and ready to take on the challenge of participating in seminar-style discussions.

Students who enroll in the UCONN Early College Experience (ECE) program and successfully complete this course are eligible to earn three (3) UCONN credits for United States History since 1877 course (HIST1502). This course meets graduation requirements for Social Studies.

Contemporary Issues (SS620, SS665) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit, ½ credit)

In Contemporary Issues, students examine current issues on the local, national and global level using a variety of print and electronic news sources. The course encourages students to make connections to their trade and technical program. Classes focus on decision-making and critical thinking activities such as mini-debates and class discussions. Students will use the process of inquiry to identify issues, form questions, investigate resources and draw conclusions on important contemporary issues. Discussions, role plays, demonstrations and presentations will be used to develop student understanding and awareness.

Honors Contemporary Issues (SS621) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit, ½ credit)

In this accelerated course for advanced learners, students research current issues on the local, national and global level using a variety of print and electronic news sources. The course encourages students to make connections to their trade and technical program. Classes focus on discourse, debate, decision-making and critical thinking activities. Students will use the process of inquiry to identify issues, form questions, investigate resources and draw conclusions on important contemporary issues. Discussions, role plays, demonstrations and presentations will be used to develop student understanding and awareness.

Economics (SS625, SS660) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit, ½ credit)

In Economics, students will study about choices that people make to satisfy their needs and desires. The course will provide them with fundamental economic ideas, concepts and skills necessary to reason logically about key economic issues that affect their lives as workers, consumers, producers and citizens. The course focuses on economic choice making due to limited human, natural and capital resources. Throughout the year, connections are made to the student’s trade and technical program. Students learn about the American economy and the differing views on important economic issues. Essential consumer skills will be introduced including budgeting, savings and investment, credit and insurance. Students will identify economic problems, alternatives, benefits and costs, collect and organize economic evidence and compare benefits with costs.

Economics - UCONN ECE (SS661) (1 credit).  

This college-level course for advanced learners provides a general introduction to micro- and macroeconomics. Economic concepts to be taught include opportunity costs, demand and supply, incentives, comparative advantage, inflation and employment policies, balance of international payments, and economic growth. To be successful in this course, students need to be independent, self-motivated and ready to take on the challenge of participating in seminar-style discussions.

Students who enroll in the UCONN Early College Experience (ECE) program and successfully complete this course are eligible to earn three (3) UCONN college credits for the Essentials of Economics course, (ECON1000).

Economics and Law (SS626) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit)

In this course one semester focuses on Economics and the other semester focuses on Law, students will study about choices that people make to satisfy their needs and desires. The course will provide them with fundamental economic ideas, concepts and skills necessary to reason logically about key economic issues that affect their lives as workers, consumers, producers and citizens. In Law, students are introduced to the American legal system and the impact of law on the daily life of the individual. Students learn about their legal rights and responsibilities, various kinds of laws and lawmaking bodies as well as fundamental civil and criminal procedures. The course provides a study of criminal law, juvenile justice, torts, consumer and housing and family law.

Honors Economics (SS630) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit)

Honors Economics is an accelerated course that focuses on key micro- and macroeconomic concepts as well as key economic philosophies and their application to specific issues and topics. Current issues of economic policy and practice and the role of public policy in economic decision-making are studied. An understanding of the operation of a free market economy and the influence of contemporary forces upon it constitute the major purposes of the study. This course requires high-level reading, writing and analytical skills.

Honors Economics and Law (SS627) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit)

In this course accelerated course for advanced learners, one semester focuses on Economics and the other semester focuses on Law, students will study about choices that people make to satisfy their needs and desires. The course will provide them with fundamental economic ideas, concepts and skills necessary to reason logically about key economic issues that affect their lives as workers, consumers, producers and citizens. In Law, students are introduced to the American legal system and the impact of law on the daily life of the individual. Students learn about their legal rights and responsibilities, various kinds of laws and lawmaking bodies as well as fundamental civil and criminal procedures. The course provides a study of criminal law, juvenile justice, torts, consumer and housing and family law.

Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights (SS710) (1 credit) (NCAA Approved Course)

This course is an in-depth study of the Holocaust as well as genocide and terrorism in the 20th century to the present. The course will focus on the historical, social, political, intellectual, cultural and economic causes and consequences of the Holocaust as well as current examples of genocide and terrorism. Students will use the process of inquiry to identify issues, form questions, investigate resources and draw conclusions.

Introduction to Human Rights- UCONN ECE (SS723) (1 credit). (NCAA Approved Course)

This college-level course for advanced learners provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary study of human rights through the lens of law, justice, ethics, and morality. Students will study and consider the history of human rights and the creation of international human rights law. Students will then reflect on the evolution of how human rights is considered today in different cultures and focus in on specific, current human rights issues. By the end of the semester, students will have developed an understanding of human rights as international law and as a movement formed around a set of values shared by individuals and communities across the globe. They will also be familiar and have grappled with critiques and responses to the human rights framework and have learned policy and advocacy strategies to secure human rights for all people.

Students who enroll in the UCONN Early College Experience (ECE) program and successfully complete this course are eligible to earn three (3) UCONN college credits for the Introduction to Human Rights course, (HRTS1007).

Law (SS610, SS670) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit, ½ credit)

In Law, students are introduced to the American legal system and the impact of law on the daily life of the individual. Students learn about their legal rights and responsibilities, various kinds of laws and lawmaking bodies as well as fundamental civil and criminal procedures. The course provides a study of criminal law, juvenile justice, torts, consumer and housing and family law. Discussions, role plays, demonstrations and debates will be used to develop student understanding of the complexity of the legal system and individual rights and liberties.

Psychology (SS645, SS675) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit or ½ credit)

Psychology is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes that can involve both animal and human behavior. In Psychology, students are introduced to the historical development of psychology and the scientific study of behavior and mental processes. Students will learn about personality development, learning theory, biological bases of behavior, heredity versus environment, memory, abnormal psychology and current mental health issues. Students will take part in discussions, experiments, group projects, demonstrations and presentations designed to better understand how people think, feel and do.

Sociology (SS655, SS680) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit or ½ credit)

Sociology introduces students to the study of human behavior from an individual and group perspective. Students will examine the role of the individual as a member of primary and secondary groups, and the pressures that these groups exert. They will investigate the culture and values of school, home and work. Throughout the year, connections are made to the student’s trade and technical program. Students will review research, take part in discussions, engage in group projects, demonstrations and exercises – all designed to develop student understanding and awareness of group dynamics.

Social Studies Topics (SS650, SS651, SS652) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit or ½ credit)

This course provides students an opportunity to study selected social science topics from the following areas: economics, law, psychology, sociology and/or contemporary issues. Students will use a variety of print and non-print sources and will analyze a variety of issues throughout the year. Students will develop   critical thinking skills and perspectives to better understand the world around them.

Honors Social Studies Topics (SS653) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit)

  • Social Studies Topics is an accelerated course for the motivated student who has a strong interest in social studies and is a proficient reader and writer. This course provides students an opportunity to study selected social science topics from the following areas: economics, law, psychology, sociology and/or contemporary issues. Students will use a variety of print and non-print sources and will analyze a variety of issues throughout the year. Students will create and conduct presentations for classmates and take a lead role in classroom discussions. Students will develop critical thinking skills and perspectives to better understand the world around them.

Three American Wars (SS686) (NCAA Approved Course) (½ credit)

This course concentrates on three significant wars such as the Revolutionary War, Mexican American War and the Civil War or the Korean War, Vietnam War and Iraq War.  The course focuses on the historical, social, political, intellectual, cultural and economic causes and consequences of these wars in American History.

Topics in Modern U.S. History (SS720) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit)

This course focuses on key people, events and technology during specific historical periods in American History such as slavery, freedom and the struggle for empire; revolution and the new nation; expansion and reform; development of the industrial United States; emergence of modern America and contemporary United States. Students will compare and contrast time periods as well as evaluate foreign and domestic policy decisions. Students will demonstrate knowledge and understanding of specific events by completing individual projects choosing from a variety of formats.

AP Human Geography (SS721) (NCAA Approved Course) (1 credit)

This course is equivalent to an introductory college-level course in human geography. The course introduces students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface.  Students study the distribution, processes, and effects of the human population on our planet.  Students employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine socioeconomic organization and its environmental consequences.  They also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their research and applications.  Students learn how to use and interpret maps, data sets, geographic models, GIS, aerial photographs and satellite images. (Windham Tech only)

HONORS/ADVANCED PLACEMENT COURSES

The course materials in a social studies honors/advanced placement course are more rigorous in the following areas: text selection; length of reading assignments; writing assignment prompts; assessment types.  The term “advanced” as used in this description includes UCONN Early Experience courses, Community College Career Pathways Courses and College Board AP Courses. There may be additional requirements for UCONN, community college and AP courses as requested by the credit granting institutions.  Students in an honors/advanced placement course will be expected to do the following:

  • Comprehend complex grade-level texts independently.
  • Contribute thoughtful grade-level commentary to classroom discussion.
  • Write to grade-level expectations with attention to organization, detailed content, precise analysis and writing conventions.
  • Understand the fundamentals of the research process and execute research with minimal support from teacher.
  • Create and conduct presentations for classmates and take a lead role in classroom discussions.

Students seeking admission into a social studies honors/advanced placement course should meet at least 2 of the 3 following criteria:

  • Reading on Grade Level: Students seeking to take a social studies honors/advanced placement course should be reading on the same grade level as the course they are seeking entry into as demonstrated by the STAR Reading Diagnostic Test. (Example: Students seeking entry to American Civics Honors (10th), should be reading on a 10th grade reading level at the time of scheduling the course.)
  • Current grade in social studies course:
  • If student is currently in a social studies honors course, h/she should have an earned 85% or higher at the time of scheduling.
  • If student is currently in a core level social studies course, h/she should have an earned 90% or higher at the time of scheduling.
  • Teacher Recommendation: When recommending students, teachers should take into consideration the above bulleted items.

* Some courses may not be offered at every school.