Social Sciences Department

Ms. Jennifer DiFrancesca, Director

Phone: 508-841-8823 Email: jdifrancesca@shrewsbury.k12.ma.us

The Social Sciences are rooted in a diverse but common heritage, and together they offer insights into the nature and causes of political affairs, social and economic patterns, and human behavior. Critical inquiry about man, society, and history generates a broad awareness and deeper understanding of the human experience. The social sciences encourage students to develop an interdisciplinary perspective of the world around them through the study of history, literature, economics, society, philosophy, and psychology.

In all of the courses offered by the SHS Social Sciences Department, students are provided with challenging and diverse learning opportunities, which encourage them to explore their role in and relationship to their local community, country and the world. Students also examine issues of individualism, socio-economic class, race, nationalism and globalization. In addition, students will develop their ability to research effectively, think critically and to express their ideas in written, visual and oral formats. Our goal as Social Science teachers is to empower students to be active, capable and caring contributors to the world in which they live.

World Civilizations, United States History I and United States History II are aligned with the content, Standards of Practice and Guiding Principles outlined in the Massachusetts History and Social Science Frameworks. The elective courses offered by the Social Sciences Department are also aligned with the Standards of Practice and Guiding Principles of the Massachusetts History and Social Science Frameworks.

World Civilizations (4019)

Meets Expectations for Student-Learning: 1,2,3,4,6,7

Required               Full Year                Grade: 9                                 A Level

In the first semester, students will investigate European history from 1500 until 1900. Units of study will include the Enlightenment, Absolute Monarchs, the French Revolution, the Rise of Nation States and the Industrial Revolution. The second semester will include an examination of world events from the 1800s through the late 20th century. Units of  study will include Imperialism, World War I and its aftermath, World War II, the Cold War and the World Today. Politics and diplomacy will be studied as well as the social, economic, religious, scientific and technological factors that have shaped world history. Students will develop skills in working with primary sources, research, discussion, reading, and writing. Throughout  the year, students will connect their learning to current events. Assessment strategies will include written and oral presentations, objective questions, open-response questions, and research projects.

U.S. History I (A-4036, Honors-4018)

Meets Expectations for Student-Learning: 1,2,3,4,6,7

Required               Full Year                Grade: 10                              A Level or Honors

Prerequisite: Course placement is based on the teacher’s recommendation and past academic performance.

This is the first year of a two-year course in American history. Following a chronological approach, the course will begin with the colonial era and conclude with the post-Civil War American West. Students will study the causes and consequences of the American Revolution, as well as the development of the Constitution. Other topics of study will include the early national period, the reform movements of the 1800s, Jacksonian democracy, westward expansion, the Civil War and Reconstruction. The core content is the same for both the Honors and A-level courses, however, the pace and focus on skills will be different. Honors level students will read more in-depth primary and secondary source documents, as well as participate in more independent learning. All students will continue to develop their skills working with primary sources, research, discussion, reading, and writing. Throughout the year, all students will connect their learning to current events. Assessment strategies for all students will include written and oral presentations, objective questions, open-response questions, and research projects.

U.S. History II (A-4021T, H-4017T)

Meets Expectations for Student-Learning: 1,2,3,4,6,7

Required               Full Year                Grade: 11                              A Level or Honors

Prerequisite: Course placement is based on the teacher’s recommendation and past academic performance.

This is the second year of a two-year course in American history. Following a chronological approach, the course will begin with the Gilded Age and conclude with America in the 21st century. Students will study the causes and consequences of the 2nd Industrial Revolution, as well as the development of the modern civil rights movement. Other topics of study will include US foreign policy in the 20th century, the Jazz Age, the Great Depression, the Cold War, and the 1950s. The core content is the same for both the Honors and A-level courses, however, the pace and focus on skills will be different. Honors level students will read more in-depth primary and secondary source documents, as well as participate in more independent learning. All students will continue to develop their skills working with primary sources, research, discussion, reading, and writing. Throughout the year, all students will connect their learning to current events. Assessment strategies for all students will include written and oral reports, objective questions, open-response questions, and research projects questions.

U.S. History II: American Studies (A-4034, H-4035)

Meets Expectations for Student-Learning: 1,2,3,4,6,7

Required               Full Year                Grade: 11                              A Level or Honors Prerequisite: Course placement is based on the teacher’s recommendation.

American Studies includes the core content of eleventh grade English and U. S. History II, but focuses on the relationship between the two by studying them together in an environment that emphasizes collaborative and independent learning. Classes are scheduled during consecutive periods, providing flexibility in grouping and allowing for some common assessments. Students  will examine themes such as gender roles, racial identity, and war as well as technological and social developments. Throughout the year, students will be expected to demonstrate growth as critical thinkers, readers, and writers as well as their ability to take personal responsibility for their learning when engaged in aspects of Project Based Learning. Honors students will be expected to do extensive and sustained independent research and analysis outside of class and present their findings in written, visual and oral formats. Students who register for this course must also register for English 11: American Studies at the same level.

Advanced Placement United States History (4013)

Meets Expectations for Student-Learning: 1,2,3,4,6,7

Elective                                    Full Year                Grade: 11                             

Advanced Placement Prerequisite: Course placement is based on the teacher's recommendation and past academic performance. Standardized test scores & placement test scores may also be used.

AP US History is designed to provide students with the analytical skills and factual knowledge necessary to deal with issues in United States history from the age of discovery to the present. It is also designed to prepare students for college by making demands upon them equivalent to those made by full-year introductory college courses. Solid reasoning and writing skills, along with a willingness to devote considerable time to studying, are necessary to succeed. A variety of approaches will be used to analyze American politics, society, economics, and history. Students will use a college-level textbook, read extensive primary and secondary sources, and demonstrate their ability to learn independently. This course meets the College Board’s expectations for an AP US History course. This course fulfills the US History II requirement for eleventh graders. Students are expected to successfully complete the summer work and take the Advanced Placement Exam in May.

Sociology (A-4010, H-4069)

Meets Expectations for Student-Learning: 1,2,3,4,6,7

Elective                                   Semester               Grades: 11-12                                       A Level or Honors

Students will explore human society in a variety of ways. This will involve the investigation of  social institutions as well as social group dynamics and organization. Sociological research will be used throughout the course to conduct surveys, interviews, and studies. Throughout the semester, students will be expected to demonstrate growth as critical thinkers, readers and writers as well as their ability to take personal responsibility for their learning when engaged in aspects of Project Based Learning. Honors students will be expected to do extensive and sustained independent research and analysis outside of class and present their findings in written, visual and oral formats.

Psychology (A-4011, H-4023)

Meets Expectations for Student-Learning: 1,2,3,4,6,7

Elective                                    Semester               Grades: 11-12                                      A Level or Honors Students who have taken a semester of Psychology are not eligible to take AP Psychology.

Psychology students will explore human behavior and the mind including social psychology, adolescence, methods of research, consciousness, learning, neuroscience, personality, abnormal behavior and therapy. Classes will include a combination of discussions, lectures, films, and presentations. Throughout the semester, students will be expected to demonstrate growth as critical thinkers, readers and writers as well as their ability to take personal responsibility for their learning when engaged in aspects of Project Based Learning. Honors students will be expected to  do extensive and sustained independent research and analysis outside of class and present their findings in written, visual and oral formats.

Economics (A-4026, Honors-4071)

Meets Expectations for Student-Learning: 1,2,3,4,6,7

Elective                                    Semester               Grades: 10-12                    A Level or Honors

This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to economics. Students will examine topics such as scarcity, supply and demand, market structures, the role of government, personal finance, and the role of financial institutions. Throughout the semester, students will be expected to demonstrate growth as critical thinkers, readers and writers as well as their ability to take personal responsibility for their learning when engaged in aspects of Project Based Learning including student choice. Honors students will be expected to do extensive and sustained independent research and analysis outside of class and present their findings in written, visual and oral formats.

Global Studies (A-4031, H-4073)

Meets Expectations for Student-Learning: 1,2,3,4,6,7

Elective                  Full Year or Semester                      Grades: 10-12                     A Level or Honors

This course will introduce students to and provide them with opportunities to explore their role in a global community through the lens of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Students will research and evaluate challenges faced by different regions of the world and propose solutions. Throughout the semester, students will be expected to demonstrate growth as critical thinkers, readers and writers as well as their ability to take personal responsibility for their learning when engaged in aspects of Project Based Learning especially student choice and a public product. Honors students will be expected to do extensive and sustained independent research and analysis outside of class and present their findings in written, visual and oral formats.

World Religions (A-4060, H-4061)

Meets Expectations for Student-Learning: 1,2,3,4,6,7

Elective                                    Semester               Grades: 10-12                                      A Level or Honors

Students will explore the history, structure, beliefs, and traditions of a variety of religions including but not limited to Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, and Shintoism. Throughout the semester, students will be expected to demonstrate growth as critical thinkers, readers and writers as well as their ability to take personal responsibility for their learning when engaged in aspects of Project Based Learning including student choice. Honors students will be expected to do extensive and sustained independent research and analysis outside of class and present their findings in written, visual and oral formats.

American Government (A-4035, H-4041)

Meets Expectations for Student-Learning: 1,2,3,4,6,7

Elective                                    Semester               Grades: 10-12                                      A Level or Honors

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the structure, purpose, principles, and practices of American government at the local, state and national levels. Students will investigate their rights and responsibilities as American citizens and how they can exercise these rights and responsibilities at different levels through current issues, class discussions, and guest speakers. Throughout the semester, students will be expected to demonstrate growth as critical thinkers, readers and writers as well as their ability to take personal responsibility for their learning when engaged in aspects of Project Based Learning including student choice. Honors students will be expected to do extensive and sustained independent research and analysis outside of class and present their findings in written, visual and oral formats.

The World at War (A-4087, H-4091)

Meets Expectations for Student-Learning: 1,2,3,4,6,7

Elective                                    Semester               Grades: 10-12                                      A Level or Honors

This course will provide students an opportunity to investigate the causes, courses, and consequences of military conflicts from World War I to the present. Class discussions, guest speakers and research will provide students the opportunity to explore and analyze not only the events of the wars but also on the governments, economies, and societies that created and were created by these conflicts. Throughout the semester, students will be expected to demonstrate growth as critical thinkers, readers and writers as well as their ability to take personal responsibility for their learning when engaged in aspects of Project Based Learning including student choice. Honors students will be expected to do extensive and sustained independent research and analysis outside of class and present their findings in written, visual and oral formats.

Law (4094AT, 4094HT)

Meets Expectations for Student-Learning: 1,2,3,4,6,7

Elective                                    Semester               Grades: 10-12                                      A Level or Honors

This course will introduce students to the United States justice system through an examination of Constitutional, civil and criminal law. Students will gain a deeper understanding of the law through an examination of case studies, current issues, participation in mock trials as well as discussions with guest speakers. Throughout the semester, students will be expected to demonstrate growth as critical thinkers, readers, and writers as well as their ability to take personal responsibility for their learning when engaged in aspects of Project Based Learning. Honors students will be expected to do extensive and sustained independent research and analysis outside of class and present their findings in written, visual and oral formats.

Pop Culture (4093A, 4093H)

Meets Expectations for Student-Learning: 1,2,3,4,6,7

Elective                                    Semester               Grades: 10-12                                      A Level or Honors

This course will provide students an opportunity to examine how popular culture has both shaped and been shaped by American politics, economics, society and technology in the 20th and 21st centuries. Students will also examine the role of individuals, including themselves, as creators and consumers of pop culture, including TV, movies, fashion, comics, art, and music. Throughout the semester, students will be expected to demonstrate growth as critical thinkers, readers, and writers as well as their ability to take personal responsibility for their learning when engaged in aspects of Project Based Learning. Honors students will be expected to do extensive and sustained independent research and analysis outside of class and present their findings in written, visual and oral formats.

Sports in America (4042A, 4042H)

Meets Expectations for Student-Learning: 1,2,3,4,6,7

Elective                                    Semester               Grades: 10-12                                      A Level or Honors

This course will provide students an opportunity to do an in-depth analysis of the role of sports in America including the evolution of sports and how they have both reflected and responded to developments in United States history. Students will also investigate the psychology of sports including leadership, team dynamics, and individual competition. Throughout the semester, students will be expected to demonstrate growth as critical thinkers, readers and writers as well as their ability to take personal responsibility for their learning when engaged in aspects of Project Based Learning including a public product. Honors students will be expected to do extensive and sustained independent research and analysis outside of class and present their findings in written, visual and oral formats.

Advanced Placement Psychology (4012)

Meets Expectations for Student-Learning: 1,2,3,4,6,7

Elective                                    Full Year                Grade: 12                              Advanced Placement Prerequisite: Course placement is based on the teacher’s recommendation and past academic performance. 

AP Psychology is the equivalent of a college introductory psychology course. It will explore human behavior and the mind by addressing such questions as: "What makes us who we are? What are the biological bases of behavior? How do we learn? What are sensation and perception? What is adolescence? What is mental illness and how is it treated? What motivates people?" Classes will include a combination of discussions, lectures, films, and presentations. A variety of theories will be examined including Freud, Skinner, Piaget, and Kagan. Students will develop a better  understanding of themselves and the forces acting upon them, as well as improve their critical thinking and writing skills. This course meets the College Board’s expectations for an AP Psychology course. The reading, writing, and discussions are aligned with those of a college Psychology course. Students will read extensively in a college level textbook and take responsibility for their own learning. Students are expected to successfully complete the summer work and take the Advanced Placement Exam in May.

Advanced Placement Human Geography (4072)

Meets Expectations for Student-Learning: 1,2,3,4,6,7

Elective                                    Full Year                Grade: 12                                Advanced Placement Prerequisite: Course placement is based on the teacher’s recommendation and past academic performance.

AP Human Geography will introduce students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use and alteration of the Earth’s surface. Students will employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human social organization and its environmental consequences. Students will investigate geographic concepts, population trends, cultural patterns and processes, political organization of spaces, agricultural and rural land use, industrialization and economic development, cities, and urban land use. Throughout the course, students will develop and refine their ability to understand how cultural landscapes and regions emerge; use maps and other spatial data to pose and solve problems; identify and analyze the local, regional, national and global factors that influence a phenomena; and understand the ways in which events and processes operating in one place influence those operating at other places. The reading, writing, and discussions are aligned with those of a college Social Science course. Students will read extensively and take responsibility for their own learning. Students are expected to successfully complete the summer work and take the AP exam in May.

Social Science Internship (4030)

Meets Expectations for Student-Learning: 3,4,6,7,8

Elective                  Semester                                 Grades: 11-12                                       A Level Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation and director approval

Students will be assigned by the department director to work in a World Civilizations or US History I class as an assistant to the teacher in that class. Interns will help students with class work, including projects, in-class activities and other assignments. Interns will be expected to facilitate work with small groups of students or create study guides and review materials with or for students. Interns will also assist students with the organization of their notebooks, test  preparation, projects and long-term planning. Students who participate in this program will meet with their cooperating teacher and/or the director on a weekly basis. Interns will also complete a written reflection at the end of each quarter. The grade for this class will be a pass/fail grade and determined by attendance, written reflections, weekly meetings and contributions to the class.

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