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Social Studies Department Course Descriptions
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Social Studies

Our Program

Three courses of Social Studies are required for graduation. Students will take Citizenship and World History, United States History/U.S. History Survey, and American Government and Geopolitics/Global Studies. Most students will choose to take a Social Studies elective during their junior and senior year. The three years of Social Studies are designed to develop and evolve the knowledge, skills, and attitudes for effective citizenship.

Although the sequence in which students fulfill the Social Studies requirement is fixed, there is some flexibility in meeting those requirements after ninth grade. Tenth and eleventh-grade students may defer the course normally taken in those years by one year if they need to adjust their schedule. Juniors may choose to take the required course of study, as well as a Social Studies elective. Seniors may choose to take two electives each semester. Students may also choose to take Dartmouth courses if they meet the following prerequisites: they have taken all Social Studies Department courses related to the requested Dartmouth course, there is space available in the Dartmouth course at the time of registration, and have maintained an A average in their 3 previous years of social studies.

Students who wish to consider the Advanced Placement options should refer to the Advanced Placement Section of this handbook.

 

Course Descriptions


FIRST YEAR

Citizenship and World History (CWH) A

Grades: 9-12 Fall Semester
Credit: 1/2
Prerequisites: None

This course seeks to address the question of how complex human societies have evolved over time.  To introduce the students to Hanover High School, the course begins with an examination of the democratic elements of Hanover High School and the role students play in this “democratic school.”  The course then continues to immerse students in a carefully selected in-depth study of the key turning points time periods in world history up to the Middle Ages, where the concepts of citizenship, human rights, and government have been at the forefront of events. The Citizenship and World History A curriculum also emphasizes an the development of essential set of historical thinking skills, including understanding continuity and change, analyzing sources, and making historically defensible arguments.  The course introduces students to crafting historical essays grounded in strong, clear arguments supported with evidence. critical thinking, researching, note taking, discussion, debating, self-reflection, textual reading, essay writing, and historical analysis and interpretation.  Throughout the semester, references may be made to current events related to citizenship and historical studies.

 

Citizenship and World History (CWH) B

Grades: 9-12 Spring Semester
Credit: 1/2
Prerequisites: None

This course continues to build on the essential question of Citizenship and World History A, “How have complex human societies evolved over time?”  The course also builds on the content knowledge and skills of Citizenship and World History A, with further study of carefully selected turning points in world history from the Renaissance to the post-WWII world, with an emphasis on the relationship between citizens and their government.  The course continues to emphasize the historical thinking skills learned in Citizenship and World History A as well as references to current events related to citizenship and historical studies.


 

SECOND YEAR

United States History (USH) A

Grades: 10-12 Fall Semester
Credit: 1/2

In this fast-paced course, students will come to understand that, “American History is a compilation of competing, and often contradictory ideas and actions, employed in the pursuit of freedom, liberty, and unity.”  The course utilizes in-depth case studies developed at the Case Method Institute, focused on the history of American democracy and examines this democratic nation from the country’s founding through the Civil War and Reconstruction.  The course also focuses on the development of historical thinking skills, including understanding continuity and change, analyzing sources, and creating historically defensible arguments. Central to a student’s success in the course is their ability to critically read longer form texts, participate in large-group in-class discussions, and write defensible 5-part paragraph arguments.  The greater demands of this course include nightly reading, demonstration of proficiency in reading and writing skills, and active engagement with independent study.

 

United States History (USH) B

Grades: 10-12 Spring Semester
Credit: 1/2

Building on the content and skills learned in United States History A, this course will continue to explore the enduring understanding that  “American History is a compilation of competing, and often contradictory ideas and actions, employed in the pursuit of freedom, liberty, and unity.”  The course once-again utilizes case studies that examine United States history from the Gilded Age to gerrymandering in the 21st century.  This course will focus more closely on students' development of their writing skills and their ability to craft an extended argumentative essay with a strong thesis statement, supporting claims, and historically defensible evidence.

 

American Experience (AMEX) A

Grades: 10-12 Fall Semester
Credit: 1/2

In this course which utilizes smaller class sizes, students will come to understand that, “American History is a compilation of competing, and often contradictory ideas and actions, employed in the pursuit of freedom, liberty, and unity.”  The course examines United States history from colonization through the Civil War and Reconstruction.  The course focuses more concentrated time on the development of historical thinking skills, including understanding continuity and change, analyzing sources, and creating historically defensible arguments. Students in this course are expected to do in-class reading, writing, and preparation for individual assessments. While there may be less outside reading and work than United States History, students are expected to come away from the class with a proficient understanding of the basic skills necessary for success in a history course.

 

American Experience (AMEX) B

Grades: 10-12 Spring Semester
Credit: 1/2

Building on American Experience A, this course will continue to explore the enduring understanding that  “American History is a compilation of competing, and often contradictory ideas and actions, employed in the pursuit of freedom, liberty, and unity.” The course further examines United States history from the Gilded Age into the 21st century. The course also continues to develop the foundational historical thinking skills. Students in this course are expected to do extensive in-class reading, writing, and preparation for individual projects and tests. There will be limited work required of students outside of class. The course provides students with an engaging and challenging course through smaller class size and more one on one teacher interaction.

 

American Studies

Grades: 10 Spring Semester Only
Credit: 1/2 Social Studies, 1/2 English

This Interdisciplinary English/Social Studies class studies issues that impact American culture and politics.  The course meets both an English credit requirement and the US History-B Social Studies requirement.  The curriculum is arranged thematically to allow a study of America from the late 1800s to the present.  Through both historical and literary lenses, students will frame their own answers to questions like:  What does it mean to be an American? What issues motivate you to act? Who holds the reins of power? How far have we come? We will turn to writers, historians, filmmakers, musicians and artists for perspectives. Students will use texts, primary documents, novels, poetry, short stories, plays, movies, and guest speakers to examine their own and others’ perspectives, and they will write frequent, short papers to reflect upon their experience. 


THIRD YEAR

American Government

Grades: 11-12
Credit: 1/2

The purpose of this semester‐long required course is to have students develop an understanding of and an appreciation for the role of an informed and active citizen in American democracy. To achieve this, students will draw upon their previous 10th grade study of American History.  Students will pay particular attention to developing an understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of the principles found in the Constitution and how they relate to the concept of limited government. 

Students will explore the organization and functioning of each of the three branches of the federal government as well as the relationship between the federal government and the states. Students will analyze the rights and freedoms protected under the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and subsequent amendments, paying particular attention to differences of interpretation, as often examined through the courts. Finally, students will explore the role of the citizen in American democracy, including both rights and responsibilities and the impact of public policy on the broader populace. Students will develop an understanding and appreciation for the various forms of civic participation, from staying informed, to voting, to working with political parties and/or interest groups or perhaps running for elected office.  Students will also write a 5-8 page, independent, research-backed policy brief.

 

Civics and Government in the US

Grades: 11-12
Credit: 1/2

The purpose of this semester‐long required course is to have students develop an understanding of and an appreciation for the role of an informed and active citizen in American democracy. To achieve this, students will draw upon their previous 10th grade study of American History.  Students will pay particular attention to developing an understanding of the philosophical underpinnings of the principles found in the Constitution and how they relate to the concept of limited government. 

Students will explore the organization and functioning of each of the three branches of the federal government as well as the relationship between the federal government and the states. Students will analyze the rights and freedoms protected under the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and subsequent amendments, paying particular attention to differences of interpretation. Finally, students will explore the role of the citizen in American democracy, including both rights and responsibilities. Students will develop an understanding and appreciation for the various forms of civic participation, from staying informed, to voting, to working with political parties and/or interest groups or perhaps running for elected office.  While students in this course are expected to do extensive in-class reading, writing, and preparation for individual projects and tests, there will be limited homework required of students outside of the classroom. The course provides students with an engaging and challenging course through smaller class size and more one on one teacher interaction.  Students will also be responsible for writing a 2-3 page, research-backed policy brief.


Geography and Geopolitics

Grades: 11-12
Credit: 1/2

Geography and Geopolitics utilizes key geographic skills and concepts to examine “the Science of Where” - the central role that geography plays in influencing current global issues. Course content includes in-depth analysis of countries and regions, as well as the geopolitical factors that contribute to conflict and cooperation among nation-states. Many human geography concepts (demographics, migration, land use, economic development, cultural patterns and processes, as well as the political organization of space) are examined within the units of study.  Students learn to use ArcGIS to create maps and projects that emphasize the development of geospatial analysis skills. This fast-paced course has nightly required reading from a variety of sources that adheres to the Department’s criteria for a course at this level, which is 8-10 pages of reading per night. Students are expected to work independently as well as collaboratively, and approach their study with a spirit of inquiry.


Global Studies

Grades: 11-12
Credit: 1/2

Global Studies focuses on modern global issues of concern, addressing the central question of how does ‘place’ shape the culture, politics, and opportunities of people across the globe? Topics include population, the environment, politics, economics, modernization, migration, and human rights. There is a major emphasis on current events. Students are expected to do extensive in-class reading, writing, and preparation for individual projects and tests. Students in this course are expected to do extensive in-class reading, writing, and preparation for individual projects and tests. There will be limited work required of students outside of class. The course provides students with an engaging and challenging course through smaller class size and more one on one teacher interaction.


FOURTH YEAR: Junior-Senior Electives

Black Women and American History

Grades: 11-12
Credit: 1/2
Prerequisites: Two semesters of United States History/American Experience and/or American Studies

This course focuses on Black women’s history in the United States, with the primary purpose of expanding student understanding of American history. Over the course of the semester, students will examine a diversity of Black women’s experiences, focusing on how these women engaged in freedom struggles while simultaneously defining their identities as women, wives, mothers, leaders, workers and citizens. Students will explore the question: How does Black women’s history add to our understanding of American history?

Comparative Governments

Grades: 11-12
Credit: 1/2
Prerequisites: Junior/Senior Elective

Comparative Government will help develop the students' understanding of different political structures and practices around the world through . We will include the six countries covered in the AP Comparative Government and Politics syllabus as examples of these core topics. For example, countries might include Great Britain, Russia, China, Mexico, Nigeria, and Iran. Topics include the power and limits of modern sovereign states, government structures, participation and elections, civil society, political/economic change, and public policy. Students who wish to sit for the AP Comparative Government exam receive preparation through this elective. Assessment is based on tests, essays, and research projects.

 


Constitutional Law

Grades: 11-12
Credit: 1/2
Prerequisites: Junior/Senior Elective

The work of the Supreme Court - interpreting the Constitution and applying it to court cases - is the focus of this elective. Much of the course content is drawn from current court cases that are scheduled for Oral Argument in the Court’s fall term.  Students study the 9 Justices, read legal briefs, analyze court decisions, and consider how they would decide the constitutionality of issues that are brought before the court. In addition, students participate in Moot Court, which involves role-playing as attorneys and justices to argue a case on the current Court’s docket that has not yet been decided. Juniors and Seniors who have an avid interest in history, law, politics, government, and current events are encouraged to register for Constitutional Law.  Evaluation is based on a variety of assessments including preparation for class, Moot Court, research projects and presentations. One or two field trips to the New Hampshire Supreme Court and/or the Federal District Court to hear cases being argued are also a component of the course.

 


Eastern Religions

Grades: 11-12
Credit: 1/2
Prerequisites: Junior/Senior Elective

Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shinto, are the focus of this one-semester course. Students will read from the Bhagavad Gita, the Dhammapada, The Analects, The Tao, and other sacred texts. We will discuss the concept of Man, and the moral teachings of the religions in historical context. Also, we will meet with leaders of local religious congregations and practitioners to learn about the role of their faiths in their lives and in the life of their community. The course is expected to be a challenge to students preparing for college. Assessment is based on tests, essays, research projects and the commitment of students to actively participate in the course.

 


Economics

Grades: 11-12
Credit: 1/2
Prerequisites: Junior/Senior Elective

How do we meet our unlimited wants and needs with scarce resources? What do we make? How do we Make it? For whom are we making it?  These are the essential question of economics. This course is an introduction to Micro and Macro Economics. This course will enable students, through the use of economic models, to understand their role in the economy as a consumer in the marketplace, the impact of government regulation, and to evaluate conditions such as unemployment, inflation, and growth. Students will be assessed on written work, tests, simulations, and presentations. By the end of the semester students should be able to critically read and discuss today's events from the perspective of an economist.

 


Entrepreneurship

Grades: 11-12
Credit: 1/2
Prerequisites: Junior/Senior Elective

Explore, Pursue and Launch. This entrepreneurship elective offers students the opportunity to investigate and discuss topics in a way that emphasizes depth of coverage and real understanding of the entrepreneur’s role in the economy. Students will be challenged to identify wants and needs in society and create a solution. This style of course supplements the current curriculum with engaging and rigorous coursework that will broaden and deepen students understanding of their role in the emerging global economy.  The course would be centered on Invitation, Design, Plan formulation, Opportunity Recognition and Marketing. Students will not only do work within the classroom, but will also help to develop the Hanover High School Store.



Ethics & Contemporary Issues

Grades: 11-12
Credit: 1/2 Can be either a Social Studies OR Science elective credit 

Ethics and Contemporary Issues is an interdisciplinary elective course, team taught by both a Social Studies and a Science Department teacher. What makes a contemporary issue and ethical one? Why should ethics be at the center of our approach to thinking and problem solving? This course allows students to study current issues in depth, from multiple perspectives, while considering the underlying ethical questions that are at the heart of the issue(s).

Students will participate both as active listeners, and active speakers, in class discussions and structured debates. In addition, students will research current issues, examine resources for bias, and prepare materials for use in class as well as for a final project. In the process of reading, discussing, and debating, it is expected that students will be challenged to formulate their own thinking about the issues they are studying.

While the course topics will stay tuned to emerging issues, content that may be studied includes subjects such as:

  • The Human Genome Project
  • Cloning
  • Ethics in business
  • Ethics in medicine
  • Legal ethics
  • Ethics in public policy
  • Ethics in war and conflict
  • Environmental ethics
  • Ethics and globalization

 


Media and Democracy

Grades: 11-12
Credit: 1/2
Prerequisites: Junior/Senior Elective

This one-semester news literacy course addresses questions about the current media environment, the explosion of information sources, and the development of cutting-edge technologies. Students will become discriminating news consumers at a time when the digital revolution is spawning an unprecedented flood of information and disinformation each day.  Reading newspapers, online news sites, blogs,  and by talking to journalists, we will learn what is news and what is not-so-newsworthy. The questions we seek to answer are : What is news? What does it take to be an informed citizen?  Evaluation will be based on a variety of assessments including homework,  tests,  research projects and papers, class presentations and class participation.  The text for this course is the news itself.  Students will be expected to monitor a variety of news sources daily and take note of what is going on and how it is being presented. 
 


Military History

Grades: 11-12
Credit: 1/2

Noted military historian John Lynn from Northwestern University said, “My interest in military history does not imply any glorification of human conflict, but rather the conviction that this is a matter of great importance.” There is much understanding to be gained regarding the human condition through a study of armed conflict. This course is offered not only to gain such understanding but to continue to develop the historical analysis skills learned throughout previous required Social Studies courses. This course is a survey of the history of warfare and military tactics from ancient times to modern day. The important theoretical works of Sun-Tzu, and Von Clausewitz will be used as the framework for the course. Numerous battles will be analyzed spanning the breadth of military operations including hand-held weapons, horse cavalry units, armored and mechanized units, and naval and air power. Students will utilize mapping symbols, operational terms, and graphics currently in use by the U.S. military. Causes and consequences of individual command decisions will also be analyzed to place each campaign within its greater historical context.

 


Psychology

Grades: 11-12
Credit: 1/2
Prerequisites: Junior/Senior Elective

The course looks to answer the various ways psychology approaches the study of human behavior. This course focuses on understanding human behavior through major psychological perspectives. Students will leave with a better understanding of how the brain works and what influences behavior. The course draws on a number of authorities on human behavior-some from the community, some in required reading, and some through individual research. 

 


 

Seminar in Modern European History

Grades: 11-12
Credit: 1/2
Prerequisites: Junior/Senior Elective

This semester seminar presents the development of Western thought and society by tracing European history and culture from the Renaissance to the present. Students play a major role in the development of the curriculum through research seminars. The course is a demanding history elective that emphasizes discussion, original thinking, creativity, and writing through the examination of various primary documents and key biographies. Students read original texts from Western intellectual history and analyze period music, art, and literature. The class may include speakers and several museum visits. It is an essential course for Juniors and Seniors who are interested in gaining a foundation in the humanities as well as in political philosophy. There is a special focus on how the evolution of European society contributed to modern European issues. Students who complete this course may be able to sit for the AP European history exam. Students are assessed on document analysis, essays, teaching seminars, and presentations.

 


 

Sociology

Grades: 11-12
Credit: 1/2
Prerequisites: Junior/Senior Elective

Sociology focuses on understanding the behavior of groups in society. In order to do this it is essential to see the world through the eyes of others. Using this premise, students will study issues and change in society such as gender roles, the criminal justice system, cultural difference, and social movements. The course draws on a number of authorities on human behavior- some from the community, some in required readings, and some through individual research. This course requires that students become actively involved in their own learning, and draws on students' personal experience and insights

 


Street Law

Grades: 11-12
Credit: 1/2
Prerequisites: Junior/Senior Elective

Street Law provides an engaging study of law and society, with an emphasis on criminal law, the criminal justice system, consumer law, and immigration law. Students will study the constitutional guarantees regarding the rights of the accused, as well as how the criminal justice system works, in preparation for Mock Trials.  Students will also preview careers in the law by hearing from guest speakers, and participating in field trips to the Federal District Court.  Assessment is based on homework completion, mock trials, essays, and research projects..

 


Western Religions

Grades: 11-12
Credit: 1/2
Prerequisites: Junior/Senior Elective

Have you ever met a Rabbi? Do you open the door when the Mormon Missionaries stop by? Have you read the Qua ‘ran? Living in the US, we often make assumptions about the multiple forms western religions take without specifically understanding what adherents believe. Western Religions focuses on “Religions of the Book”, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, in their MANY forms: Shia, Sunni, Sufi, Catholic, Congregationalist, Christian Scientist, Charismatic, Evangelical, Orthodox, Progressive, Conservative, among many others. The course couples an understanding of the historical development of each religious tradition with conversations with believers. Students will read from the Torah, the New Testament, and the Qua’ran.

 

 

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