United States Government

This course is a semester-long introduction to the structure and workings of the United States Government. The class begins with a brief examination of basic political science concepts and other governments around the globe. There is a strong emphasis on how the Constitution and Federal, State, and local governments impact daily life. Most classes include daily reading assignments from the New York Times which relate to the topics being covered.

Units of Study:

  • The Four purposes of Government
  • Governments around the Globe
  • The Origins of the Constitution
  • The Constitution
  • Political Parties and Ideology
  • Federalism
  • Home-State Congressional Representation
  • U.S. Foreign Policy

Art Projects:

  • Supreme Court Radio Show - After researching the origins, issues, and impacts of the major Supreme Court decisions, the class will choose one and write and record a radio dramatization including music and sound effects.
  • Create-a-Party - Students create their own hypothetical political party. Each party's platform must include economic, education, energy, environmental, national security, and health care "planks" as well as a simple, iconic bumper sticker. 
  • Foreign Policy Cartoons - Students create political cartoons about the major doctrines and developments in American foreign policy. 
  • The United States Government Children's Book - Students create a children's book about what they have learned from the class.

United States History

This course is year-long introduction to the history of the United States of America. The course naturally examines the major events, movements, and key players who have shaped the country we live in today. There is also a strong emphasis that, for any society, the future is never certain. Each event has a number of causes as well as consequences.

Units of Study:

  • Maps!
  • Where history comes from: Sources, Tools, and Techniques.
  • The Colonial Era
  • Revolution! 
  • The Creation of a Nation
  • The Civil War
  • The Industrialization of America
  • The American Empire
  • The First World War
  • The Great Depression
  • The Second World War
  • The Cold War
  • The Space Age
  • Korea and Vietnam
  • The 1960's

Art Projects:

  • Art of The American Revolution - Students create an original work of art commemorating some aspect of the War for Independence. Projects can include paintings of battles, statues of significant figures, poems, etc. 
  • Antebellum Radio Show - Students research a topic from the antebellum period of American history, and write and record a radio show including sound effects, music, and contemporary slang. 
  • Civil War Museum -Students are commissioned to design an American Civil War museum. They must include at least 30 significant artifacts with descriptions and a colorful floor plan. World War One Photo Hunt - Students choose 5 images (photographs, portraits, paintings, etc) and write an analysis of what they are and why they are significant. 
  • 1920's S.P.R.I.T.E. Presentation - Students research and present on the social, political, religious, international, technological, and economic aspects of America during the 1920's. 
  • Interwar Encyclopedia Page - Students were to create a page for an Illustrated Children's Encyclopedia about the global political climate between World Wars One and Two. 
  • Battlefield Dispatch a'la Ernie Pyle - After reading some of Ernie Pyle's wartime columns, students are to research a battle from the Second World War
  • Cold War Museum -Students are commissioned to design a Cold War museum. They must include at least 30 significant artifacts with descriptions and a colorful floor plan. 
  • 1960's Radio Show - Students create a radio show about the turbulent 1960's. 
  • Vietnam Board Game - After studying America's involvement in Vietnam, students create an original board game about how to win (if possible)

Geography

This course is will familiarize students to "Earth as a home to humanity". The course uses the National Geographic Society's "Five Themes of Geography" to illuminate how our physical world affects the lives of humans, and how our human lifestyles affect the planet. 

Units of Study:

  • What is Geography
  • Mental Maps
  • Continental Landforms
  • Topography and Geomorphology
  • The Living Planet
  • Climate
  • Regional Geography
  • Location/Place
  • Language

Art Projects:

  • The World As I See It -  Students create a mental map including physical landforms, countries, peoples, and anything else they can think of. 
  • Minor Landforms -  After learning about 40 different types of landforms, students create a plausible  treasure-map including 20 of them.
  • Climate Collage - After learning about the The Köppen Climate Classification System students choose two climates and create collages which include examples of plant and animal life as well as human activities
  • The Geography of Colonization - Students play the computer game "Colonization" and write a paper which explains how the game demonstrates the Five Themes of Geography
  • Language Family Tree - After learning about the major languages spoken across the globe, students create a family tree explaining their location, relationships, and history.