Social Studies Course Descriptions
United States History to 1865
Students will use skills for historical and geographical analysis to explore the early history of the United States and understand ideas and events that strengthened the union. The standards for this course relate to the history of the United States from pre-Columbian times until 1865. Students will continue to learn fundamental concepts in civics, economics, and geography as they study United States history in chronological sequence and learn about change and continuity in our history. They also will study documents and speeches that laid the foundation for American ideals and institutions and will examine the everyday life of people at different times in the country's history through the use of primary and secondary sources.
United States History: 1865 to the Present
Students will continue to use skills for historical and geographical analysis as they examine American history since 1865. The standards for this course relate to the history of the United States from the Reconstruction era to the present. Students should continue to develop and build upon the fundamental concepts and skills in civics, economics, and geography within the context of United States history. Students will use investigation as a foundation to delve into the political, economic, and social challenges facing the nation once reunited after the Civil War. This foundation provides a pathway to develop an understanding of how the American experience shaped the world's political and economic landscapes.
Civics and Economics
Standards for Civics and Economics examine the roles citizens play in the political, governmental, and economic systems in the United States. Students will examine the foundational documents and principles with which the constitutions of Virginia and the United States were established, identify the rights, duties, and responsibilities of citizens, and describe the structure and operation of government at the local, state, and national levels. Through the economics standards, students will compare the United States economy to other types of economies and consider the government's role in the United States economy. Students will investigate the process by which decisions are made in the American market economy and explain the government's role in the United States economy. The standards identify personal character traits, such as patriotism, respect for the law, willingness to perform public service, and a sense of civic duty, that facilitate thoughtful and effective active participation in the civic life of an increasingly diverse democratic society.
World Geography (½ credit per semester)
World Geography is the study of the world's peoples, places, and environments, with a focus on world regions. Particular emphasis is placed on students' understanding and applying geographic concepts and skills to their daily lives. All students take the SOL test for World Geography. In the Honors level of the course, students will use geographic resources, inquiry, research, and technology skills to ask and answer geographic questions for a more in-depth study of geography. (+0.5 weighted credit for Honors)
AP Human Geography (½ credit per semester)
AP Human Geography is a rigorous Advanced Placement course that focuses on theoretical and practical applications in the field of geographic inquiry. It provides students with the opportunity for hands-on, in-depth study of human geography through classroom discussion, cooperative activities, technology activities, cartography, readings, lab work, and outside research and fieldwork. All students take the College Board Advanced Placement Examination and the SOL test for World Geography. (+1.0 weighted credit)
World History I (½ credit per semester)
The focus of this course is the study of the historical development of people, places, and patterns of life from ancient times until 1500 AD. Students will use skills of historical and geographical analysis to explore the early history of the world.
Honors World History (½ credit per semester)
Students who take Honors level World History (+0.5 weighted) will take World History I during first semester and World History II during the second semester of a single year. The focus of this course is the study of the historical development of people, places, and patterns of life from ancient times until the present. Students will use skills of historical and geographical analysis to explore the early history of the world.
AP World History (½ credit per semester)
At the Advanced Placement level, world history students go beyond a general understanding of world history. They use analytic skills and write extensively on the major themes of history from the foundations of civilization to the present day. Students are given the opportunity to "do history" by using the steps a historian would in analyzing historical events and evidence worldwide. The study of Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe offers a balanced coverage of world history. All students take the College Board Advanced Placement Examination. (+1.0 weighted credit)
United States and Virginia History (½ credit per semester)
The focus of this course is the study of the historical development of American ideas and institutions from the Age of Exploration to the present. Students will learn fundamental concepts in civics, economics, and geography. They will obtain a basic knowledge of American culture through a chronological survey of major issues, movements, people, and events in United States and Virginia history. In the Honors level course, students go beyond a general understanding of history and use historical and geographical analysis skills to explore events, people, and ideas in American history. (0.5 weighed credit for Honors)
AP United States History (½ credit per semester)
As an Advanced Placement course, this course is designed to provide students with the analytic skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal critically with problems in U. S. History. Students will learn how to assess historical materials and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship. Students will write extensively to perfect their essay writing and critical thinking skills. All students take the College Board Advanced Placement Examination. (+1.0 weighted credit)
United States and Virginia Government (½ credit per semester)
This course will provide students with knowledge of Virginia and United States Government that will enable them to participate effectively in civic life in America. Students will examine fundamental constitutional principles; the organization of government at the federal, state, and local level; the rights and responsibilities of citizenship; the policy-making process; political parties and elections; comparative government and foreign policy; and the American economic system. In the Honors level course, students go beyond a general understanding of government and economics. (+0.5 weighed credit)
AP United States Government (½ credit per semester)
As an Advanced Placement course, this course will focus on the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute United States politics. Students will gain an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States both by studying the general concepts used to interpret U. S. politics and by analyzing specific examples. Students will learn how to analyze and interpret basic data relevant to U. S. government and politics and will write extensively to perfect their essay writing and critical thinking skills. All students take the College Board Advanced Placement Examination for U.S. Government and Politics. This course will satisfy the US Government credit requirement for the diploma. (+1.0 weighted credit)
African American History (½ credit per semester)
This course introduces students to key concepts in African American history, from early beginnings in Africa through the trade of enslaved Africans; the agency and resilience of African Americans during the Civil War, Emancipation, and Reconstruction to the modern civil rights era; and the joy, celebrations, and collaborations in the art, history and culture of the past and Modern Black America. Students will learn about African American voices, including many not traditionally highlighted, and their contributions to the story of Virginia and America. The course will challenge students to explore primary and secondary sources documenting the African American experience. The content includes opportunities for students to develop the skills and attributes known as Virginia's Five C's (critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, and citizenship) as they connect what they have learned to local history and issues. This is an elective course.
Sociology (½ credit per semester)
Sociology is the study of human relationships. Topics include the family, social groups, minorities, propaganda, education, and rural and urban problems. The student who has a reading problem and/or is unable to do abstract reasoning will have difficulty with many of the class assignments. This is an elective course.
Introductory Psychology (½ credit per semester)
Introductory Psychology is a beginning study of the subject of psychology. Some of the topics studied are principles of learning, types of personality, understanding human behavior, patterns of behavior, emotional and behavioral adjustments, group influences, and psychology and society. This is an elective course.
Psychology in Film Pilot at Warwick HS (½ credit, semester course)
This one semester course presents a study of the major topics of psychology using the medium of film. Students will study concepts and then see a demonstration of these concepts in modern film. Students will do research, write critiques, and do project presentations. This is an elective course.
AP Psychology (½ credit per semester)
This course is designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and animals. Students are exposed to psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each of the major sub fields of psychology. They also learn about the ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice. All students take the College Board Advanced Placement Examination. This is an elective course. (+1.0 weighted credit)
International Relations (½ credit, semester course)
International Relations is a one-semester course that includes the study of the nation, state, and international law. Areas included in the study are Europe, China, The Far East, The Middle East, Africa, Latin America, and a study of the United Nations through its history and development, structure, and problems. This is an elective course.
Practical Law (½ credit, semester course; may be repeated)
Practical Law is designed to provide students with a basic knowledge of the law as it applies to them as citizens of the United States and the commonwealth of Virginia. Utilization of case studies and community resources is emphasized. This is an elective course.