Mary Star of the Sea High School

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Course Catalog » Social Studies Department

Social Studies Department

SOCIAL STUDIES DEPARTMENT


Note: An asterisk (*) following the course title indicates the course meets the 

entrance requirements for UC/CSU when passed with a grade of C or better. 


SOCIAL SCIENCES

Prerequisite: None

Grade 9 1 Semester

This course is designed to prepare students to expand their thinking and study skills by introducing them to behavioral and social sciences. This course will touch briefly on the fields of Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Geography, History and the roots of modern democracy. Basic study skills are emphasized throughout the course, including note taking from text and lecture, vocabulary extension, reading comprehension, and map reading. The material in this course will enable the student to better appreciate the world’s diverse cultures, as well as prepare the student for advanced course work in social studies.

MODERN WORLD HISTORY *

Prerequisite: None

Grade 10 1 Year

Students study major turning points that shaped the modern world from the Renaissance through the present. They trace the rise of democratic ideas and develop an understanding of the historical roots of current world issues, especially as they pertain to international relationships. They contrast the American experience of democratic ideals with those of other countries, understanding democracy is not practiced everywhere in the world. Students develop an understanding of current world issues and relate them to their historical, geographic, political, economic, and cultural contexts. Writing assignments include a research essay based on a theme addressed in the course.

HONORS MODERN WORLD HISTORY *

Prerequisite: "A” in Introduction to Social Studies and “B” or better in Honors English 9 or an “A” in English 9 and department approval.

Grade 10 1 Year

Students study major turning points that shaped the modern world, from the Renaissance through the present. They trace the rise of democratic ideas and develop an understanding of the historical roots of current world issues, especially as they pertain to international relationships. They contrast the American experience of democratic ideals with those of other countries, understanding democracy is not practiced everywhere in the world. Students develop an understanding of current world issues and relate them to their historical, geographic, political, economic, and cultural contexts. Strong emphasis is placed on the evaluation, interpretation and use of historical evidence through documents and primary sources, as well as analytical writing incorporating that evidence. Writing assignments include several essays throughout the year, including a research essay based on a theme addressed in the course.

UNITED STATES HISTORY *

Prerequisite: None

Grade 11 1 Year

Students in United States History analyze the identity, diversity and culture of the American experience, linking America’s past to the present. Exploring the democracy and free enterprise of the United States, students critically view the character of America and Americans. Major topics include:  the national embodiment of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness; tensions between the individual and the state; extension of equal rights; expansion of the American way of life; surviving and thriving in a global economy; and the United States’ role in the world. Assessment of historical materials -- including persuasive writing and at least one research paper -- underscores fundamental elements of the course:  the ability to weigh evidence, interpret logically and argue persuasively. Coursework strives to motivate students to be active and responsible citizens, voters, taxpayers -- stewards of the American experience.

ADVANCED PLACEMENT UNITED STATES HISTORY *

Prerequisite: “B” or better in Honors World History and Honors British Literature, or “A” in World History and British Literature; plus departmental approval. Students will be required to complete a significant summer assignment assessed immediately at the beginning of the school year.

Grade 11 1 Year

Advanced Placement United States History provides an intellectual journey through America’s past, examining pathways to the present. Students analyze the history and development of the nation, paying particular attention to the American experience in terms of democracy and free enterprise. AP U.S. History students explore America’s identity, diversity and culture while balancing factual knowledge with critical analysis. Equivalent to a college introductory course, AP U.S. History requires rigorous effort. Assessment of historical materials -- including self-guided research -- underscores fundamental elements of the course:  the ability to weigh evidence, interpret logically and argue persuasively. Coursework stresses persuasive essay writing and prepares students to take the AP U.S. History examination offered by the College Board. Passing grades on the exam afford students college credit, the amount of credit varying with each university. All students enrolled in AP U.S. History are required to take the AP U.S. History examination. 

ECONOMICS *

Prerequisite: None

Grade 12 1 Semester

This course is an introduction to fundamental economic concepts, such as scarcity and choice and supply and demand. Students will compare and contracts economic systems throughout the industrialized and developing world, explore of the functions of money, and the workings of financial markets. The course will also emphasize economic cycles as well as reading economic data and indicators, paying particular attention to the recent financial events.



AMERICAN GOVERNMENT *

Prerequisite: None

Grade 12 1 Semester

Students will explore the structure and workings of American Government, exploring the key features of democracy in the United States that set it apart from other nations and government systems. Students will compare the government as designed by the Founding Fathers and expressed through the original Constitution with the functions of different institutions in the United States today, such as financing campaigns, interest groups, and elections. Students will also analyze the relationship between the federal government and state governments and among the different branches of federal government. Finally, students will consider the changing demographics of the electorate and its effect on public policy in the 21st century.



ADVANCED PLACEMENT AMERICAN GOVERNMENT/ECONOMICS *

Prerequisite: “B” or better in Advanced Placement United States History or “A” in U.S. History and department approval. Because of curriculum time restraints, students enrolling in this class will be asked to complete a summer assignment including reading and written work which is due at the beginning of the school year.

Grade 12 1 Semester

This course is designed to give students a critical perspective on government and politics in the United States, and involves the study of general concepts used to interpret United States politics and the analysis of specific case studies. It also requires familiarity with the various institutions, groups, beliefs and ideas that make up American political reality. All students enrolled in the course are required to take the Advanced Placement American Government examination. The Economics component of this course is an introduction to fundamental concepts including scarcity and choice, supply and demand. Economic systems are compared and contrasted. Microeconomics, macroeconomic, international economic concepts, the stock market and trade are examined as well as U.S. monetary and fiscal policies.

PSYCHOLOGY *

Prerequisite: None

Grade 11, 12 1 Semester

This course is designed as an introduction to psychology, its themes, definitions, leading figures, and theories. Students will study human development from infancy to adulthood, analyzing learning and thinking processes, and human behavior. This course will cover the topic of social as well as personal growth and development.

SOCIOLOGY *

Prerequisite: None

Grade 11, 12 1 Semester

This is a course in the sociological field of the social sciences that provides students with an opportunity to study the development, structure, and function of human collective behavior. The course will cover society and culture, social organization and structure, social institutions, social change, collective behavior, and social problems. Emphasis will be placed on the application of sociological concepts to current problems in our modern world.

ACADEMIC DECATHLON

Prerequisite: Willingness to do significant individual preparation.

Grade 9-12 First semester (zero period)

Academic Decathlon is a 10-event competition held in January/February each year. Students compete, both individually and as a team, against students from other schools who have similar grade point averages. The school team has nine members: three at 3.75-4.0, three at 3.0-3.74 and three at 0.0-2.99. Students with any GPA are eligible. Themes and readings are announced in the spring of the year preceding the following year’s competition. Students are expected to do significant individual preparation over the summer months. Freshmen and new students to Mary Star are encouraged to enroll, even though preliminary preparation is incomplete. The Academic Decathlon’s 10 events are: Essay, Speech, Interview, Music, Art, Language and Literature, Science, Math, Social Science, and Economics.  There will be a materials fee of $100 that needs to be paid by June in order to purchase the proper number of packets.