Social Studies

  • Overview 

    COURSES

    • Modern World History (9th Grade)
    • U.S. History (10th grade)
    • Anthropology
    • "We the People" Class on the U.S. Constitution
    • Economics
    • Government
    • Philosophy
    • Intro to Psychology
    • Social Justice
    • Ethnic Studies
    • AP U.S. History
    • AP Art History
    • AP Microeconomics & Macroeconomics
    • AP U.S. Government & Political Science
    • AP Comparative Government & Politics
    • AP World History
    • AP Human Geography
    • AP Psychology

    Extra-Curricular Options

    • Mock Trial Team
    • Model United Nations

     

  • The Social Studies content area provides Wilson students a balance of three years of required courses along with electives and civic-oriented experiences. Social Studies elective credit may be earned within the school curriculum as well as through extracurricular activities. Course offerings challenge students to deliberate on public issues, to understand human diversity and to interpret the human experience in order to help them become more familiar with their own history and more aware of the world around them.


    Wilson’s Social Studies courses have been designed to give students a common base of knowledge and to provide for their individual needs with the end goal of preparing students for life in the 21st century. Strong emphasis is placed on the development of process skills such as researching, organizing, and analyzing data, communicating effectively both in written and oral formats and working effectively as individuals and group members.

    Courses

    Advanced Placement Courses:
    1. The student is self–motivated and accepts responsibility for keeping pace with assignments and daily coursework.
    2. The student has an exemplary attendance record.
    3. The student carried an “A” or “B” in his/her prior social studies course or the student must receive teacher approval before enrolling in an AP course.
    4. The student will be expected to take the AP exam.
    5. It is an expectation of all classes that students’ behavior supports a positive and rewarding learning environment.
    In addition, students may elect to become involved in Model United Nations, Mock Trial, or Outdoor School as extended activities and can also choose any of the elective courses of Intro to Psychology and Leadership in order to have authentic social science experiences. Students who choose to earn the Woodrow Wilson Scholars designation can meet their requirements by taking rigorous courses and by getting involved in many of the elective opportunities.

    FRESHMEN

    9th-grade students will take Modern World History 1-2. This course is part of the Freshman Community.

    Modern World History 1–2 Year 9 Prerequisite: None 1 unit, 1 period
    This course will explore selected topics in world history from The Enlightenment to the present. Students will learn about the influential people, events and ideas that have shaped our world. Major units of study will include World Geography, the Industrial Revolution, Imperialism, World War I, Revolutions, the Rise of Dictators, World War II, the Cold War and regional units such as Africa and the Middle East. Additional skills taught include those involving reading, writing, researching and presenting.

    U.S. History Year 10 Prerequisite: Modern World History. 1 unit, 1 period
    U.S. History is a full-year course designed to explore the multifaceted question, “What does it mean to be an American?” Students will examine this question from multiple perspectives of race, gender, and social class as the country expands
    and develops from its pre-colonial beginnings. American ideals of democracy, equality, individual rights, justice, and prosperity are contrasted with American realities. The Social Studies department, in collaboration with the English department, will utilize an interdisciplinary approach using historical documents, literature, film, and digital technology to create an American studies experience. In addition to course content, a heavy emphasis will be placed upon skill development in the areas of critical reading, writing, speaking, higher-level thinking, effective interpersonal and small group communication, and annotation. American History will also provide meaningful background to Economics and U.S. Government courses.

    Anthropology Year 10 – 12; Prerequisite: Modern World History
    Students will acquire an understanding of the differences and similarities (both biological and cultural) in human populations. Moreover, students will recognize the characteristics that define their culture and gain an appreciation for the culture of others. This is a College Preparatory Course that would include human biological and cultural origins; adaptation to the physical environment; diversity of human behavior; evolution of social and cultural institutions; patterns of language development; family and kinship relationships; effects of change on such cultural institutions as the arts, education, religion and law.

    AP Human Geography Year 10 – 12 Prerequisite: “B” or better in Modern World History and concurrent enrollment in US History; 1 unit, 1 period
    AP Human Geography presents students with an introductory college level course in human and cultural geography. Content is presented thematically rather than regionally and is organized around the disciplines main subfields: economic geography, cultural geography, political geography and urban geography. The approach is spatial and problem oriented. Case studies are drawn from all regions with an emphasis on understanding the world we live in today. Historical information serves to enrich analysis of the impacts of phenomena such as globalization, colonialism, and human environment interactions on places, regions, cultural landscapes, and patterns of interactions.


    The following courses in the social sciences are designed to provide students with challenging opportunities to study areas of special interest.
    One semester of Political Science and one semester of Economics are required to fulfill the state graduation requirement. These courses are offered at three levels in order to meet the needs, interests, and abilities of the students. A student must sign up for the same level in both courses. That is, one may take Political Science/Economics over one year or take our two–year AP sequence. This two–year sequence consists of AP Macroeconomics and AP Microeconomics one year and AP US Government and Political Science with AP Comparative Government and Politics in the other year. Each AP course is one semester long. The AP course pairs will be offered in alternating years.


    "We The People" Class on the U.S. Constitution Year 10-12 Prerequisites: Modern World History, U.S. History and desire to commit to participation as a member of the Wilson Constitution Team. Graduate Requirement: fulfills .5 Government credit.
    The Constitution Team is a one-semester course of study where students learn about the U.S. Constitution and apply the knowledge to historical and contemporary questions. The teaching method is Socratic and students learn to present their ideas and opinions in both verbal and written formats. The class is open to students in grades 10-12 on a space available basis. The course will demand some time outside of class to meet with local community Lawyers and legal experts in preparation for the competition sponsored by the Center for Civics Education. Students will focus on topics such as "Historical and Philosophical Foundations of the American Political System", "How have Values and Principles embodied in the Constitution shaped American Institutions and Practices", and "What Challenges might face American Constitutional Democracy in the Twenty-first Century?".

    Economics Year 12 Prerequisites: Modern World History, U.S. History .5 unit, 1 period
    This course provides students with an examination of both micro– and macro– economics with an emphasis on applying economic theory to real life economic conditions and problems at the international, national and local levels. Students will apply economic concepts and reasoning when evaluating historical and contemporary social developments and issues, such as how to balance the federal budget and the economic impacts of NAFTA or GATT.

    Government Year 12 Prerequisites: Modern World History, U.S. History .5 units, 1 period
    This regular course provides a study of both practical and theoretical aspects of political science as they apply primarily to the United States on the local, state, national, and international levels.

    AP Microeconomic and Macroeconomics Year 11 or 12 Prerequisites: Modern World History, “A” or “B” in U.S. History, intention to take the AP exam and teacher permission. 1 unit, 1 period
    This course undertakes an academically rigorous study of the principles of economics to include the basic concepts; microeconomics: supply, demand and product markets; factor markets: land, labor and capital; applied microeconomics: international trade; government and environment; macroeconomics: the study of economic growth and business cycles; economic growth and macroeconomic policy; and unemployment, inflation and economic policy. The objectives of this course are to successfully teach each student one year of university level economics and to prepare each student to pass the Advanced Placement examinations in microeconomics and macroeconomics and therefore earn college credit for this course. In so doing, and emphasis will be placed on vocabulary, graphs, processes, computations and standardized test taking skills and strategy. It is a clear expectation that those enrolled in this course will also enroll in Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics and Advanced Placement Comparative Government to complete a two year sequence. Enrollment in this course requires a teacher recommendation based on an excellent attendance pattern and a commitment to taking the Advanced Placement examination issued by the College Board.

    AP Comparative Government and Politics / US Government and Political Science Year 11 or 12 Prerequisites: Modern World History, “A” or “B” in U.S. History, intention to take the AP exam and teacher permission. 1 unit, 1 period
    AP United States Government and Politics – One Semester:
    This course undertakes an academically rigorous study of the structure and function of the government of the United States to include the development of the U.S. federal system, the United States Constitution, federalism, political beliefs and behaviors, public opinion and polling, political parties, campaigns and elections, interest groups, lobbies, political action committees, media, the legislative branch, the executive branch, the federal bureaucracy, the judicial system and civil liberties, the federal budget and economic policies, domestic policy development, foreign policy and national security. The objectives of this course are to successfully teach each student one year of university level United States government and politics and to prepare each student to pass the Advanced Placement examination in this subject matter and therefore earn college credit for the course. It is a clear expectation that those enrolled in this course will also enroll in AP Comparative Government, AP Microeconomics, and AP Macroeconomics to complete a two–year sequence. Enrollment in this course
    requires a teacher recommendation based on an excellent attendance pattern and a commitment to taking the Advanced Placement examinations issued by the College Board.

    AP United States History Year 11 – 12 Prerequisite: “B” or better in Modern World History and US History; 1 unit, 1 period
    The Advanced Placement Program of U.S. History is designed to provide students with the analytical skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with the problems and materials in United States History. This course prepares students for intermediate and advanced college courses. Students will learn to assess historical materials and their relevance to a given interpretive problem, their reliability, and their importance, and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship. It is expected that each student enrolled in this course will register for and complete the College Board’s Advanced Placement Test in U.S. History in May of the academic year. A superior attendance pattern and work ethic is a prerequisite for this course. Each student will be expected to work at an accelerated pace equal to a college–level course. Students will have homework everyday.

    AP World History Year 11 – 12 Prerequisite: B or better in previous social studies class or teacher permission. 1 unit, 1 period
    The Advanced Placement program in World History provides students with a greater understanding of the evolution of global processes and contacts in interaction with different types of human societies. This understanding is advanced through a combination of selective factual knowledge and appropriate analytical skills. This course highlights the nature of changes in international frameworks and their causes and consequences, as well as comparisons among major societies. The course emphasizes relevant factual knowledge in conjunction with leading interpretive issues and types of historical evidence that have set the current human stage. This course prepares students for intermediate and advanced college courses by making demands upon them equivalent to those made by full–year introductory college courses. It is expected that each student enrolled in this course will register for and complete the College Board’s Advanced Placement Test in World History in May of the academic year. A superior attendance pattern is a prerequisite for this course.

    AP Art History Year 11 – 12 Prerequisite: None; 1 unit, 1 period
    AP Art History students will consider influential forces like patronage, politics, class, belief, gender, and ethnicity in their analysis of art forms. They will examine styles, techniques, themes, and chronology, comparing and contrasting art forms from varied perspectives. The course focuses on a specific set of 250 works of art in 10 content areas beginning with art from global prehistory and ending with global works from the present. This is not a social studies credit but can either be fine arts or elective credit. Ethnic Studies Year: 11-12 Prerequisites: None 1 unit, 1 period This Ethnic Studies course will give students an introduction to the experiences of ethnic communities that are rarely represented in textbooks. The main purpose of this course is to educate students to be socially, politically and economically conscious about their personal connections to local and national history. The course will explore cultural issues thematically and it will also focus on the experiences of Native Americans, Latino Americans, African American, and Asian Americans and the LGBTQ community. Ethnic Studies focuses on themes of social justice, social responsibility, and social change. The course equips students with a critical lens to see the world and their place in it by understanding systems and power at the root of American society and has as a goal to motivate students to actively engage in our democracy. Through the Ethnic Studies course, students are supported to discover and use their own power for the benefit of not only themselves but also that of their community and society at large.

    Intro to Psychology 1–2 Year 11 – 12 Prerequisite: None 1 unit, 1 period
    First semester: What is the nature of human nature? Introduction to Psychology allows students to investigate the social and scientific reasons behind human behavior. Topics include bystander intervention, the nature–nurture controversy, personality, learning, intelligence, and memory. Normal reactions to common problems will be analyzed. The brain is examined to uncover explanations. Psychological theories and perspectives will be examined and students will perform experiments to test theories and write a paper each quarter. Group interaction is stressed. Second semester: Dreams, “the royal road to the unconscious mind,” are interpreted using various theories and students do an experiment and paper. Continuing to examine why people are the way they are, the course studies life–span development, gender communication, death fears, and abnormal personality development. Group interaction is stressed.

    Social Justice Year 10-12 Prerequisite: None 1 unit, 1 period
    This class will be a group of teenage leaders who want to make change in their environment. Students will learn how to organize for social justice, how to view conflict through different lenses, how to communicate with courage, how to lead in a way that centers the voice of the historically marginalized, and how to improve our educational experience. We will also study the paths of other leaders, allies and activists, who have stepped up to make lasting impact for themselves and others. We will look at our own school, community organizations, and current events to reflect on how we develop a place that celebrates and honors diverse cultures, values and beliefs. Students will also work in collaboration with Equity Team, Climate Team, ASB, Peer Mentors, Site Council, culturally-specific clubs (SOCAA, BSU, Unidos, MSA, API, GSA, SEA) and administration to make our community a safe and inclusive place for all students. Together we will use the year to gain background knowledge, develop skills and follow through on actions that help us honor Wilson as a multicultural school.

    AP Psychology Year 11 –12 1 unit, 1 period
    AP Psychology teaches students to critically analyze all incoming information, to expose them to the history of the subject, the theories and experiments of those psychologists of the past and present and to understand the different perspectives and approaches which are being used by psychologists today. These include: psychoanalytical, biological, behavioral, cognitive, humanistic, socio– cultural, evolutionary and positive perspectives. The main objective of this class is to instill in students a desire for knowledge, to think for themselves, to generate an interest in Psychology, and to prepare students to pass the Advanced Placement Exam.

    Philosophy 1-2 Year 11 – 12 Prerequisite: None 1 unit, 1 period
    This course will introduce students to some of the main philosophical problems by engaging them in critical thinking. The leading idea is that the best way to learn philosophy is to learn to philosophize, rather than to memorize facts about philosophers and hear arguments. To achieve this aim, there have to be small group discussions and presentations besides lectures. The course focuses on philosophical problems in the theory of knowledge, metaphysics, and he philosophy of mind.

    EXTRA-CURRICULAR SOCIAL STUDIES OPTIONS

    Forecasting for these options is not necessary.


    Mock Trial Team Year 9 – 12 Offered both first and second semesters. 0.5 unit
    This team is for students who are interested in participating in Mock Trial competition. This team
    will not meet during regular class time. At the beginning of the semester we will coordinate as a group for the most appropriate meeting times. Mock Trial team will prepare students to compete in the regional, state and potentially in the national mock trial competition. There may be travel expenses. This class may extend beyond first semester. Due to the academic nature of the team, it qualifies for one semester of social studies elective credit.

    Model United Nations Year 9 – 12 Prerequisite: None .5 unit is earned for 2 years of active participation, including the conference.
    Model United Nations is an extracurricular club that provides opportunities for students to partake in global decision–making. Independent research and public speaking are used to address current world issues in a United Nations format. Participation in the statewide Model United Nations Conference in April develops leadership skills in global problem solving. There are travel expenses which the student will incur