Course Name: Honors Social Studies

Course #: SS10

Grade Level: Year 2 (7th)

# of Credits: One (1)

I.  Course Description

The Humanities curriculum is a historic review of the United States from the colonial era up to the contemporary world event with the integration of key economic, geographic, and cultural factors as outlined in the Mesa Public Schools Arizona Academic Content Standards for the Social Studies grade 7. 

Throughout the course, the IB student will be encouraged to reflect on his or her progress along the Learner Profile continuum, which includes becoming motivated, principled learners through methods and activities that challenge the expansion of his or her global outlook with research, problem-solving, and communication.

The five Areas of Interaction will be integrated within each unit of study to reinforce the connections between the historical content as it relates to other disciplines.  As outlined in the Areas of Interaction, each unit of study will incorporate the Approaches to Learning (ATL) with one of the four other ATL: Community and Service, Human Ingenuity, Environments, and Health and Social Education. 

II.  IB Aims and Objectives

The aims of the teaching and study of humanities are to encourage and enable the student to develop an inquiring mind and the skills necessary for the effective study of humanities. Students will focus on process or study skills such as: note-taking, inquiry based activities, research projects and essays, student created presentations using a variety of modalities, formative and summative performance-based assessments, and traditional tests. 

They will also gain the necessary content skills and confidence to interpret historical data in order to analyze causes and consequences of change through physical and human actions and processes leading to subsequent events along the historical continuum. The primary objective of this course is ultimately to inculcate within our students an appreciation for humankind, an awareness of the connections with other subjects, and a lifelong interest in and enjoyment of humanities.

III.  Topics

Topics for this course include Colonization to Civil War and Arizona history.

IV.  Areas of Interaction

The Areas of Interaction (AOI) provide a framework on which to build each unit of study. Of the five AOI, the Approaches to Learning (ATL) is always present and helps to provide students with the tools to enable them to become life-long, independent learners.  ATL skills include: knowledge acquisition, research strategies, communication skills, collaboration techniques, and technical skills.  In addition to ATL, each unit of study focuses on at least one of the other four AOI, allowing for a framework of learning within and across the subject groups as well as between subjects and real-life issues.

V.  Internationalism

Internationalism would include ways in which the United States has been influenced by cultures or beliefs from other places, such as expansionism vs. imperialism, immigration, and the effects of economic decisions on political systems.

VI.  Teaching Methods

Teaching methods for this class incorporate study skills with lectures, inquiry-based research, Socratic dialogue, hands-on cooperative learning experiences, research projects and essays, and formative and summative presentations using a variety of modalities. Students are expected to maintain an Interactive Notebook that becomes a record of their work and an important study guide for semester summative assessments.

VII.  Assessment

Students are given an opportunity to demonstrate mastery of knowledge and the Criterion A-B-C-D skills using a variety of assessments such as class assignments that emphasize student analysis of key historical content in relation to the guiding question.  Performance-based assessments are often evaluated first by the student using the assessment criteria outlined in the assessment guide sheet or on a rubric.  This way, students are given an opportunity to self-reflect and refine their product prior to teacher evaluation.


VIII.  Texts and Resources
Textbook: American History; McDougal Littell (class set)
One take-home textbook issued per student
Also available on-line @


Ancillary materials from publisher

Civics in Action: Holt (class set)

Great Books supplemental collection

Classroom laptops with internet access