Academics
Curriculum

Social Studies

DEPARTMENT PHILOSOPHY:

We help each student discover how understanding human history, society and behavior enriches her ability to understand and contribute to the world around her. Social Studies courses model an inquisitive awareness and informed respect for people past and present, both as individuals and as members of increasingly diverse and interconnected communities.

Goals include:
  • To encourage appreciation for the contributions of outstanding women and men in creating our society, past and present.
  • To provide a thorough analysis of the U.S. Constitution with special emphasis on the principles of popular sovereignty, federalism, separation of powers, and checks and balances.
  • To investigate and analyze human relationships to better understand individual roles in our society.
  • To analyze and interpret the political, social and economic implications of the historical events that have shaped the modern world.
  • To develop the Qualities of the DSHA Graduate.
  • To encourage interest in:
    • Advanced Placement and dual-credit courses to acquire college credit
    • Model U.N.
    • Badger Girls State
    • Public Policy Scholarship 

MEET THE SOCIAL STUDIES DEPARTMENT FACULTY:

SOCIAL STUDIES DEPARTMENT COURSE OFFERINGS:

List of 14 items.

  • CULTURES & CIVILIZATIONS – 8001 and 8002

    Cultures & Civilizations is an introductory survey course examining the geography, history, culture, religions, and the socio-economic and political systems of selected countries of North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. This course is intended to help the student become aware of the increasing interdependence of the global community while discovering the relationship that past events have on the present. Activities include lecture, discussion, written assignments, and collaborative projects. A paper and/or project is assigned each semester.

    9th grade, 2 semesters, required
  • U.S. HISTORY – 8051 and 8052

    This course provides an overview of the development of the United States initially introduced in Cultures & Civilizations. This year covers a more concentrated examination of the history, geography, culture, and the socioeconomic and political systems of our nation. These aspects of our nation's evolution are explored from the Constitutional Era to the Modern Era. Activities include lecture, small group activities, projects/papers, discussion, geography, and written assignments. The written assignments, given at the discretion of the teacher, include four or more papers or projects during the course of the year, at least one per quarter.

    10th-11th grade, 2 semesters
    Prerequisite: Cultures & Civilizations
  • INTERCULTURAL HISTORY: LATIN AMERICA – 8250**

    A study of the histories and culture of Latin America, this course starts with the ancient roots of many of the early civilizations such as the Inca, Maya and Aztecs, traces the impact of European conquest, the fights for independence and the growth of the new nations. Focusing on peacemaking, the course examines the opportunities lost and won as well as this continent’s attempt to come to terms with its turbulent past. This course provides a study of Latin America from a multidisciplinary perspective, with a deeper concentration of issues covered than in Cultures & Civilizations. IH Latin America focuses on the histories, peoples, cultures, and geographies that unify the region, as well as differences that distinguish countries in Latin America. This course will explore and analyze the following topics: indigenous cultures, key figures, European colonization and its effects, independence movements and nation-building, neocolonialism, revolutions, authoritarianism, the impact of the Cold War, recent challenges (including migration and globalization issues), achievements, issues of race, class and gender, and future outlook. In this semester long course, certain nations have been selected as case studies to exemplify broader regional trends in different time periods. One common theme in the later units will be the interest and involvement of the United States in the affairs of its geopolitical neighbors to the south. Students will be expected to further develop critical thinking and communication skills, as well as to form a reflective attitude through writing, research, analytical reading of primary sources, and discussing with regards to issues faced by the peoples of Latin America.

    11th-12th grade, 1 semester
    Prerequisite Cultures & Civilizations AND U.S. History or AP U.S. History or AP Gov
    Students will be eligible to receive 3 transferable college credits from Cardinal Stritch University by enrolling in the Concurrent Enrollment dual-credit program.
    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit Offerings Here

  • BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE – 8225

    This is an interdisciplinary approach designed to further investigate areas of American social life introduced in U.S. History, with a comparative perspective to other cultures as well. This course is a "workshop" for the behavioral sciences. The focus of the class will include the concepts and descriptive materials of sociology, anthropology and psychology. This course will address current issues, events and cultural phenomena which form the focal topics for the basis of discussion within the course. Students will assess methods and knowledge of the behavioral sciences and synthesize them using case studies and global issues. The students are expected to participate in class discussions and problem-solving sessions. Activities include lectures, discussions, reflection, projects and synthesis of skills and knowledge.

    11th-12th grade, 1 semester
    Prerequisite Cultures & Civilizations AND U.S. History or AP U.S. History or AP Gov
  • ACCELERATED ECONOMICS – 8150

    This course offers a lively, interesting and important investigation into one aspect of American life studied in U.S. History—the American market system. The course is an introduction to the foundation of economics and the economic way of thinking. The focus will be on the concepts, principles and models of micro-economics and the application to real world events. Microeconomics is concerned with the analysis of economic phenomena from the perspective of the individual. This course covers the concepts and tools needed to undertake the analysis of such problems that are created by the law of scarcity. Emphasis will be placed on the characteristics of free market system, supply and demand, competition and markets. The students will be expected to apply these concepts, principles and models in problem-solving activities. Activities include lecture, discussion, and problem-solving real world events and challenges.

    11th-12th grade, 1 semester
    Prerequisite Cultures & Civilizations AND U.S. History or AP U.S. History or AP Gov
  • AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY – 8216**

    Building on what students have learned in Cultures & Civilizations and U.S. History, US Foreign Policy is a challenging college-level course that provides an overview and analytic framework that focuses on the process and politics by which U.S. foreign policy is made. In addition, this course will explore in detail the core principles, complexities, and possibilities in applying those principles concerning US policies in the 21st Century. During the semester, you will be provided with the opportunity to examine primary and secondary sources which provide you with the opportunity to develop your analytical and interpretive writing skills, collaborative skills, and communication skills.

    The semester of study includes, but is not limited to:  
    • US Foreign Policy framework
    • US-North Korean relations
    • Middle East – issues such as possible Iranian nuclear power, Arab-Israeli peace, Syrian conflict and migration crisis, civil war in other Southwest Asian conflicts.
    • Relations with Western Europe, the EU, and Russia.
    • Terrorism, counter-terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction.
    • Global health, border disputes, sustainable development and environmental concerns.
    • Transregional Issues: Pandemics, Human Trafficking, Immigration, Global
      • Environmental Issues, sustainability, and international collaboration concerning nuclear
      • proliferation

    11th-12th grade, 1 semester
    Prerequisite Cultures & Civilizations AND U.S. History or AP U.S. History or AP Gov
    Students will be eligible to receive 3 transferable college credits from Cardinal Stritch University by enrolling in the Concurrent Enrollment dual-credit program.
    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit Offerings Here
  • INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: FOCUS AFRICA , Colonial to Present – 8210

    This course provides a study of the African continent (Sub-Saharan) with a deeper concentration of issues covered in Cultures & Civilizations. Through research, interpretation, and dissemination of knowledge, the objective of this course is to increase the student’s awareness and understanding of the major challenges and achievements Sub-Saharan nations faced / face during colonization and after winning independence. FOCUS AFRICA will explore and analyze the following topics: colonization, contemporary history, political and economic issues, culture, key figures, challenges and achievements and significant contributions. The Sub-Saharan region is highly competitive both geo-politically and economically which makes it a dominant force in the global marketplace. Therefore, understanding role of the region is critical in shaping global decision-making and economic competition. This course will develop the student’s critical thinking ability by emphasizing the necessity to understand developments on the continent in their proper human, historical, and international contexts. Case studies will include South Africa and Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    The student will “adopt-a-country” and research a variety of topics, culminating with the completion of her Portfolio addressing a variety of Objectives focusing on the contributing role her country plays in the development of the African continent and the global community.
     
    As a class, students will partake in a field trip to Chicago. Students will hear first-hand the experience of a refugee who fled Angola with his family during Angola’s civil war. He is an artist and a collector of African artifacts. Through him, students will learn about the cultural significance of the artifacts. Students will then visit the African exhibit at the Art Institute. Lunch at an Ethiopian restaurant is included in the course fee.

    This course will be offered alternating school years with Focus Asia. This course will not be offered for the 2018-2019 school year, but will be offered in 2019-2020.
    11th-12th grade, 1 semester
    Prerequisite Cultures & Civilizations AND U.S. History or AP U.S. History or AP Gov
    Fee: $55
  • INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: FOCUS ASIA, 20th Century to Present – 8220

    India, China, and North Korea - democratic, communist, and militarist states.
    Focus Asia will meaningfully integrate and thoughtfully analyze, from a geopolitical and socio-economic perspective, the events of the 20th century that played a role in the development of these three case-study countries. This approach will give students the tools to compare similarities and differences in the ways these countries define individual rights and responsibilities, compete for economic hegemony and develop national policies (both political and economic).Where Cultures & Civilizations has a broad focus and covers many regions of the world, FOCUS ASIA concentrates on three major states in south and east Asia. China is especially important for students to understand the political and economic dynamics since it has recently become an important and challenging global economic power.
     
    The student will “adopt-a-country” and research a variety of topics, culminating with the completion of her Portfolio addressing a variety of Objectives focusing on the contributing role her country plays in the development of the Asian continent and the global community. As a class, students will partake in a field trip to Chinatown to experiene the culture and traditions of the Chinese. Students will then visit the Art Institute of Chicago to gain a better understanding of Asian cultures through the artwork from southeast and south Asia. Lunch at a Chinese restaraunt is included in the course fee.

    This course will be offered alternating school years with Focus Africa. It will be offered for the 2018-2019 school year, but will not be offered in 2019-2020.
    11th-12th grade, 1 semester
    Prerequisite Cultures & Civilizations AND U.S. History or AP U.S. History or AP Gov
    Fee: $55
  • THE TUMULTUOUS 1960s – 8065**

    This course focuses on the years 1946 to 1980, with emphasis on the 1960s decade. The class delves into the events and issues that led up to and dominated the 1960s, such as the Cold War and protest movements, as well as the ramifications of these and other events and issues. This class chronicles both America’s and the world’s roller-coaster journey through the decades since World War II, building on topics introduced in the U.S. History and Cultures & Civilizations survey courses. The Cold War, which kept the world on edge for over 50 years and remains an influence, will be highlighted. In addition significant cultural and political themes that have colored our recent past and present will be explored, including issues of foreign policy, economic and social reform, race, class and gender. Students will be expected to further develop critical thinking and communication skills, as well as to form a reflective attitude through writing, research, analytical reading, and discussing in regards to issues of our postwar world.

    11th-12th grade, 1 semester
    Prerequisite Cultures & Civilizations AND U.S. History or AP U.S. History or AP Gov
    Students will be eligible to receive 3 transferable college credits from Cardinal Stritch University by enrolling in the Concurrent Enrollment dual-credit program. 
    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit Offerings Here

  • GENDER STUDIES – 8110

    This course will focus on both historical and contemporary events and issues that affect women, men and families. The primary goal of the class is to provide an educational foundation from which each student can examine and ultimately create her own opinion on women's roles and rights within our society. Moreover, students will examine the effect of that role within the context of gender stereotypes for both men and women. Thus, the course offers students the opportunity to examine the role that gender has on a personal, professional, psychological, and familial level. Exploration of major historical documents in the move toward women's social, political, and economic rights will be read and analyzed, as well as a broad study of contemporary examples of gender's impact socially, politically and economically. Students will be expected to further develop research skills, tools, and resources, as well as to form a reflective attitude through discussing, writing, and reading in regards to issues facing and concerning gender.

    11th-12th grade, 1 semester
    Prerequisite Cultures & Civilizations AND U.S. History or AP U.S. History or AP Gov
  • AP U.S. GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS – 8301 and 8302

    This college-level course is designed to give the student a critical perspective of government and politics in the U.S. The course involves an in-depth study of the general concepts introduced in U.S. History. It also presents an analysis of the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that make up American political reality:
    1. The Constitutional Framework of American Government.
    2. Political Beliefs and Behaviors.
    3. Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Mass Media.
    4. Institutions and Policy Processes of National Government.
    5. Civil Liberties and Civil Rights. 
    Most colleges offer three semester credits for successful completion of the Advanced Placement Exam taken by students in May. It is expected that students will take the AP Exam.

    2 semesters
    Prerequisite for rising juniors and seniors: Cultures and Civilizations
    Prerequisite for rising sophomores: A in 1st semester of Cultures and Civilizations AND A- in 1st semester of College Prep English I

    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit offerings here
  • AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY – 8421 and 8422

    The curriculum for this course consists of topics drawn from seven interrelated units of study outlined in the AP Human Geography Course Description booklet published by the College Board. The purpose of the course is to utilize geographic processes to systematically study and understand the following concepts:
    1. Geography: Its Nature and Perspectives
    2. Population
    3. Cultural Patterns and Processes
    4. Political Organization of Space
    5. Agriculture and Rural Land Use
    6. Industrialization and Economic Development
    7. Cities and Urban Land Use
    The purpose of the AP Human Geography course is to introduce students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth’s surface. Many of these concepts, ideas and models were introduced in Cultures and Civilizations.  Students learn to employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human socioeconomic organization and its environmental consequences. They also learn about the methods and tools geographers use in their research and applications. This class is designed to meet AP standards and requirements (these can be found on the AP College Board website). The class will prepare students to take the AP Human Geography test in the spring, and all students are encouraged to take the AP Exam.

    11th-12th grade, 2 semesters
    Prerequisite Cultures & Civilizations AND U.S. History or AP U.S. History or AP Gov
    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit offerings here
  • AP U.S. HISTORY – 8451 and 8452

    Advanced Placement United States History is a challenging course that is designed to be the equivalent of a freshman level college course. Upon successful completion of the Advanced Placement United States History Examination students may earn college credits. AP US History is a two-semester survey of American history from pre-Columbian societies to the present. Students will need to devote a considerable amount of time to out of class reading, writing, homework and study. Course emphasis is placed on critical thinking skills, essay writing, interpretation of primary documents and historiography. Multiple assessments will be used to measure student comprehension that will mirror the AP US History Exam.

    Students will be expected to spend a considerable amount of time preparing for class. A significant amount of reading will be required for each unit of study and for special projects and assignments. There will also be a large amount of time devoted to assignments, projects and test preparation. For each unit students will complete a series of objective questions, and in most cases will also complete either a Free Response Question or Document Based Question. It is expected that at the end of the second semester every student will take the Advanced Placement United States History Examination. 

    11th-12th grade, 2 semesters
    Prerequisite: Cultures & Civilizations
    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit offerings here
  • AP EUROPEAN HISTORY – 8401 and 8402

    AP European History is a challenging college-level course that is structured around the investigation of five course themes and 19 key concepts in four different chronological periods from the Renaissance to the present.  Besides covering the relevant historical facts from these eras and linking these facts to the analysis of the themes, the course requires you to master nine historical thinking skills. During the year, you will be provided with the opportunity to examine primary sources, such as documentary material, pictorial and graphic materials, maps, political cartoons, statistical tables, and works of art.  In addition, you will be provided with exposure to both factual narrative and to the interpretations of European history from the perspectives of a variety of different writers and historians. Historiography is the history of history. You will be examining how people have thought about and written about historical events over the course of time.  You will also be provided with the opportunity to develop your analytical and interpretive writing skills, practicing short answer questions as well as document-based and long essay question essays.  This class is designed to meet AP standards and requirements (these can be found on the AP College Board website).  The class will prepare students to take the AP European exam in the spring, and all students are encouraged to take the AP Exam.

    12th grade, 2 semesters
    Prerequisite Cultures & Civilizations AND U.S. History, AP U.S. History or AP Gov
    Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit offerings here
**Students will be eligible to receive 3 transferable college credits by enrolling in the Concurrent Enrollment dual-credit program.
Learn more about AP & Dual-Credit Offerings Here
The Social Studies faculty team implemented Civil Discourse discussions in the classroom in the 2016-2017 school year, which gave students the opportunity to research issues, communicate their views, and vote on debates in a respectful manner.
DSHA promotes co-curricular experiences that take social studies further than the classroom. Discover some of the Social Studies-related opportunities below:

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