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Social Studies

Social Studies
In a democratic society individuals must be prepared to accept the lifelong obligation of being informed citizens so that they can assume functioning roles in the total society.  Only by doing so can they share responsibility in determining the direction of society.

Social studies instruction must begin with emphasis on respect for self, others and our planet.  It is also important that social studies instruction promote attitudes that will ensure effective and responsible use of the world resources.  The program should encourage the building of positive relationships among all the world’s inhabitants.  Curricula must incorporate not only community and national concerns, but also, those of the entire world and its history so that the reality of interdependence can be fully comprehended.  Only then can students begin to understand that people elsewhere in the world, though different in appearance, customs, cultures, and institutions, have similar needs and expectations.  This understanding should expand into a tolerance for other ways of thinking and behaving.

While recognizing the importance of learning about those with whom we share our planet, certain values and beliefs are basic to Western culture and fundamental to American democracy.  Students need to learn about those values and beliefs to appreciate their democratic heritage.  Important among such values and beliefs are those of individual worth, the equality of opportunity, and an appreciation for the past.

Because students are living in a world that is continually changing, knowledge is necessary to understand concepts and to acquire methods of solving problems.  Emphasis needs to be on a how-to-learn approach, recognizing students’ differing needs, abilities, and interests.  Furthermore, instead of teaching social studies disciplines in isolation, an effort should be made to relate and integrate them to one another, and to the world beyond the classroom.

Course Descriptions

World History
This year-long course will cover the events in World History from the Prehistoric Era through the Age of Exploration. In addition to cultures in ancient civilizations, European influences, and world religions, students will also explore topics in government, geography and politics. Major emphasis will be on the history and geography of regions around the world. This is a required class.

Modern American History
This required course is an overview of the last century. Grading is based on daily work, group activities, quizzes and tests and participation in class and unit projects. The first semester begins with an examination of the events, causes and impact of World War I. Other topics include: the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, the events, causes, and impact of World War II, and the beginning of the Cold War. Multiple assessments will be used, including a research project and daily assignments. The second semester continues with a look at the Fifties, the turbulent Sixties and Seventies, the challenges of the Eighties and Nineties, and the dawn of a new Millennium. Multiple assessments will be used, including a unit project and class assignments and activities. This is a required class.

American Government
This course is designed to help students understand our current system of government in the United States. Students will examine the history of our country and the formation of democracy in the U.S. Students will explore the different branches and sections of our government; Legislative, Executive, and Judicial. The class will examine how each individual fits into this system and the many opportunities there are to participate in government and influence American society. This is a required class.

Students will learn the economic interdependence of global, national and local economic systems, how government decisions impact those systems, and how individuals, households, businesses, and governments use scarce resources to satisfy unlimited wants and needs. Microeconomics and macroeconomics principles will be covered. Economic social studies standards will be embedded in the course. This is a required course.

Minnesota: Past, Present & Future
This course is open to juniors and seniors. It uses an area study approach and incorporates aspects of geography, anthropology, history, government and futuristics. The major objective is to provide students with a basic understanding of the area known as Minnesota, including an awareness of the quality of life we have in this state, our strengths and weaknesses, as well as the key people involved. The local area of Faribault and Rice County is highlighted. This class is an elective in Social Studies.

World Geography
World/Human Geography is designed to help students reach three important goals. The first goal is to provide students with knowledge about the physical and human geography of our world. The second is to enable students to enhance their understanding of the world’s regions and cultures. The third goal is to provide beneficial instruction and practice to students in developing their basic map skills, critical thinking skills, writing skills, and other general social sciences skills. This class will make students aware of the importance of geography in their lives and help them understand and deal with the complex, fast-changing world in which they live. Demonstrating an understanding and application of all these concepts will provide credit for the Human Geography high standard. This class is an elective in Social Studies.

Current Events: 
This semester-long course covers current events as reported in recognized media and shows similarities between modern events and those previously recorded in history. Students are given materials, including Internet resources with which they are required to read about, discover and report on world events. Readings are supplemented by in-class discussions and presentations, and student progress is monitored through a combination of weekly quizzes, a quarterly final exam and preparation of a guided research paper concerning a trend or group of related stories in the news.