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Academics

Social Studies


 

social studies

The Social Studies Department is committed to fulfilling the philosophy and mission of La Salle High School, preparing our students in mind, body and spirit. A carefully planned and rich program is offered, encompassing world history, cultures and geography, United States history, United States government and politics, economics, Sociology and United States foreign policy.

Students are challenged to develop a broad and thoughtful perspective of our complex world. By reasoning from facts to reach their own conclusions, they develop the skills necessary to be critical thinkers. To demonstrate their thinking, students practice clear and thoughtful expression in speech and in writing. Ultimately, the department is committed to helping students sharpen their abilities to make informed choices and communicate effectively as they prepare to actively participate in civic life.

American History (ACP) (Grade 10)

This course is for sophomores who do not plan to take Advanced Placement United States History.  The course examines the history of the United States of America from 1877 to the present.   The episodes of America’s past have shaped the nature of the country today and prepared it to attend to the challenges of tomorrow.  Understanding how these events came to pass and their meaning for today’s citizens is the purpose of this course.  The major topics for this course are Industrialization, Imperialism, The Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, Civil Rights and Post-Cold War America.

 

Prerequisite: None Full-year course - 1 credit

 

Key Skills:

  • Analyze and evaluate the credibility of primary and secondary sources.
  • Evaluate the historical significance of an event.
  • Develop theses and use evidence to support or refute positions.
  • Identify, compare and evaluate multiple perspectives on a given historical event. 
  • Identify and evaluate the relationships among historical causes and effects.
  • Analyze a historical decision and predict the possible consequences of alternative courses of action.

United States History (AP) (Grade 11)

AP United States History is a college level course that follows the recommended curriculum of the College Board. This course is a rigorous survey of the history of the United States from approximately 1492 to the present.  The primary focus of the course will be developing historical thinking skills that include: interpreting and synthesizing primary and secondary sources, crafting historical arguments using evidence, and chronological reasoning.  Students will also gain an understanding of the major themes in American History.  In addition, this course seeks to prepare students to successfully take the AP Exam for United States History.  All students taking this course are required to take the AP exam.

 

Prerequisite: Recommendation Full-year course - 1 credit

Key Skills:

  • Use context to explain the relative historical significance of a specific historical development or process. 
  • Explain the relative historical significance of similarities and/or differences between different historical developments or processes.
  • Explain the difference between primary and secondary causes and between short-term and long-term effects.
  • Explain the relative historical significance of different causes and/or effects.
  • Explain the relative historical significance of specific historical developments in relation to a larger pattern of continuity and/or change.
  • Explain the relative historical significance of a source’s point of view, purpose, historical situation, and/or audience.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of a historical claim or argument.
  • Make a historically defensible claim in the form of an evaluative thesis.
  • Support an argument using specific and relevant evidence.

American Government and Economics (ACP) (Grade 11)

This course is for students who do not plan on taking Advanced Placement Government and Politics.  The basis of this course is how the American people govern themselves at the local, state and national levels of government.  Topics include the constitutional framework, federalism, the three branches of government (including bureaucracy), civil rights and liberties, political participation and behavior and policy formation. During the fourth quarter, the course will explore the fundamentals that guide individuals and nations as they make financial decisions.  Topics will include the fundamentals of economics, the government’s role in the economy, saving and investing, and credit and debt.

 

Prerequisite: None Full-year course – 1 credit

 

Key Skills:

  • Evaluate issues by analyzing critically public records, surveys, research data and policy positions of advocacy groups.
  • Evaluate the process of persuasion, compromise, consensus building and negotiation contributing to the resolution of conflicts and differences. 
  • Engage societal problems and participate in opportunities to contribute to the common good through governmental and non-governmental channels.
  • Use data to explain trends and decide among economic alternatives.
  • Use data to determine the condition of their finances and to make savings and investment decisions.

AP Government and Politics (Grade 12)

AP Government and Politics is a college level course that follows the recommended curriculum of the College Board.  This course explores the political theory and everyday practice that direct the daily operation of the U.S. government and shape our public policies. It will also provide the students with an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States. This course includes both the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. government and politics and analysis of specific examples. The express purpose of this course is to prepare students to take the AP Exam for U.S. Government and Politics.  All students taking this course are required to take the AP exam.

 

Prerequisite: Recommendation Full-year course – 1 credit

 

Key Skills:

  • Describe and compare important facts, concepts and theories pertaining to U.S. government and politics.
  • Explain typical patterns of political processes and behavior and their consequences (including the components of political behavior, the principles used to explain or justify various government structures and procedures, and the political effects of these structures and procedures).
  • Interpret basic data relevant to U.S. government and politics (including data presented in charts, tables and other formats).
  • Critically analyze relevant theories and concepts, apply them appropriately and develop their connections across the curriculum.

Holocaust Studies (ACP) (Grades 10-12)

This one semester course assists students in developing an understanding of the causes to and ramifications of a watershed event in human history. Through the use of primary source readings and films and the employment of internet research, students will appreciate the dangers of remaining silent, apathetic and indifferent in the face of others’ oppression. 

 

Prerequisite: None Semester course – 0.5 credit

 

Key Skills:

  • Predict the possible consequences of alternative courses of action.
  • Evaluate the credibility of primary and secondary sources.
  • Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
  • Develop a thesis and use evidence to support or refute a position.
  • Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events. 
  • Analyze the relationship between historical events.
  • Gain a working knowledge of methods of preventing, intervention, and justice for instances of genocide throughout history

Contemporary American History (ACP) (Grades 10-12)

This course will be an in-depth study on American history from 1940 to the present. Through the use of feature films, documentaries and primary sources, students will analyze a changing America.  Topics will include: World War II, The Cold War, Vietnam, Civil Rights Movement, and Post-Cold War America.

 

Prerequisite: None Semester course – 0.5 credit

 

Key Skills:

  • Predict the possible consequences of alternative courses of action.
  • Evaluate the credibility of primary and secondary sources.
  • Develop a thesis and use evidence to support of refute a position.
  • Analyze the relationship between historical events.
  • Evaluate the accuracy of historical films.
  • Develop critical thinking skills.
  • Evaluate films as a primary source.

World Issues (ACP) (Grade 10-12)

World Issues introduces students to various issues facing the world today. Students will explore global economic systems, human rights, world health, environmental issues, and the role of the United States and the United Nations in a changing world. Students will evaluate the issues and propose solutions from a variety of perspectives.

 

Prerequisite: None Semester course – 0.5 credit

 

Key Skills:

  • Evaluate media messages that are constructed using particular tools, characteristics and conventions for unique purposes.
  • Identify, assess and evaluate world events and propose appropriate solutions.
  • Identify global issues and formulate appropriate research questions.
  • Identify a research topic and develop strategies to conduct a case study.
  • Analyze a global issue using several different theoretical perspectives.

Sociology (ACP) (Grades 10-12)

Sociology is the systematic study of human behavior, social relationships, and societies. This course will introduce the "sociological perspective" as a tool for understanding the connections between the individual's everyday life and larger-scale processes and structures within society. We will focus particularly on various explanations for social inequality in the U.S. and empirical research about such inequality. Specifically, we will examine how social class, race-ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and age shape our lives and our social institutions. 

 

Prerequisite: None Semester course – 0.5 credit

 

Key Skills:

  • Describe key concepts, principles and overarching themes in sociology.
  • Compare and contrast the sociological perspective.
  • Use basic terminology, concepts and theories in Sociology to explain social behavior.
  • Interpret, design and conduct basic sociological research.
  • Apply ethical standards to evaluate sociological science and practices.
  • Describe practical applications of sociological principles to everyday life.

Human Geography (ACP) (Grades 10-12)

This course is designed to provide an opportunity for students to study the interaction of man and his environment. The study includes current developments around the world, which affect physical and cultural settings. Emphasis is placed on geographical processes, which affect decisions concerning interrelationships among nations, production and distribution of goods, uses and abuses of resources and political and economic conditions.

 

Prerequisite: None Full-year course – 1 credit

 

Key Skills:

  • Discuss and describe the major concepts in human geography including place, space, scale, landscape, etc. 
  • Distinguish the characteristics and key principles of human geography.
  • Assess how all inhabitants of earth are interrelated with the lives of people in other places, thereby creating a greater appreciation for the places and landscapes encountered in everyday life. 
  • Understand that the modern world is an entity that is ecologically, economically, and politically interconnected and interdependent and what the implications are of this for environmental problem solving. 
  • Appreciate that the diversity of cultural backgrounds and personal experiences influence the way people perceive places. 
  • Approach problem-solving from a geography perspective by understanding the role location plays.

Human Geography (AP) (Grade 10)

AP Human Geography is a college level course that follows the recommended curriculum of the College Board. This rigorous course examines human geography as a social science by emphasizing the relevance of geographic concepts to human problems.  The central theme of this course examines the tension between two important themes—globalization and cultural diversity.  Understanding how these two themes play out locally, regionally, and globally within a student’s life is the primary goal.  The major topics for this course are Basic Geographic Concepts, Population and Health, Migration, Folk and Popular Culture, Languages, Religion, Ethnicities, Political Geography, Development, Food and Agriculture, Industry and Manufacturing, Services and Settlements, and Urban Patterns.  All students taking this course are required to take the AP exam.

 

Prerequisite: Recommendation Full-year course - 1 credit

 

Key Skills:

  • Understanding the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and organization of the earth.
  • Employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human organization of space.
  • Study the distribution, processes, and effects of the human population on our planet.
  • Learn how to use and interpret maps, data sets, geographic models, GIS, aerial photographs, and satellite images.
  • Recognize and interpret the relationships among patterns and processes at different scales of analysis. 
  • Define regions and evaluate the regionalization process. 
  • Characterize and analyze changing interconnections among places.
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