Social Studies

  • Students must earn 3.0 Social Studies credits (including US Government and US History) to graduate from WGHS. Most four-year colleges require 3-4 credits for admission purposes.

    9th GRADE REQUIRED COURSES

    8040 US GOVERNMENT
    Credit: 1/2 unit
    Open to Grade: 9
    US Government is a required semester course designed for students to examine the dynamics of federal, state, and local government. Special emphasis will be placed on skills involving processing information from maps, graphs, and tables. Students will learn how they can become involved in the political system and influence the decision-making process. Students must pass the course to graduate.

    OR

    8020 US GOVERNMENT A
    Credit: 1/2 unit
    Recommendation of 8th grade teacher is encouraged.
    Open to Grade: 9
    Students taking this course will be introduced to many of the same concepts as students in U. S. Government but at an accelerated pace. Students will investigate political parties, interest groups, elections, individual freedoms and the institutions of our government even further. Students will not only study the history, structure, and roles of our governmental institutions, but they will also apply their knowledge in several performance based activities and projects. Students must pass the course to graduate.

    OR

    8025 GIFTED U.S. GOVERNMENT
    Credit: 1/2 unit
    Prerequisite: In Gifted and Talented Program
    Open to Grade: 9
    This course is designed to introduce students to the study of our national and state governments. Students will investigate political parties, interest groups, elections, individual freedoms and the institutions of our government even further. Students will not only study the history, structure, and roles of our governmental institutions, but they will also apply their knowledge in several performance based activities and projects. Students must pass the course to graduate.

    AND

    8030 WORLD GEOGRAPHY
    Credit: 1/2 unit
    Open to Grade: 9
    World Geography is a required semester course designed for students to gain a better understanding of geography, culture, economics, and social systems worldwide. The overall objective is for students to gain a better understanding of four concepts: 1) Locating countries, bodies of water, mountains and cities by using map skills that they will learn during the course; 2) Recognizing and analyzing economic, political, and social systems by recognizing basic elements found in each; 3) Recognizing significant characteristics of various cultural regions; and 4) Gaining a better understanding of how geography can influence and affect our daily lives.

    OR

    8010 WORLD GEOGRAPHY A
    Credit: 1/2 unit
    Recommendation of 8th grade teacher is encouraged.
    Open to Grade: 9
    This course is an accelerated section of World Geography.

    OR

    8950 GIFTED PROBLEM SOLVING AND ADVANCED RESEARCH TOPICS IN SOCIAL STUDIES
    Credit: 1/2 unit
    Prerequisite: In Gifted and Talented Program
    Open to Grades: 9-12
    Students will study self-selected topics from a variety of perspectives – philosophical, historical, anthropological, sociological, economic and scientific--in this semester-long course. A variety of real-world assets will be used by students to solve real-world problems. Advanced research techniques will be taught and opportunities for self-actualization will be provided. Some possible topics include: logic and language, architecture and urban planning, games and game theory. Note: This course is a weighted grade course.


    10th GRADE
    8150 WORLD CIVILIZAT­IONS
    Credit: 1 unit
    Open to Grade: 10
    This course introduces students to history as a global study by looking at the challenges people faced in the past as they worked for survival and a better tomorrow. The course includes an overview of western and non-western civilizations. The material will be presented as a global study from early river valley civilizations to the modern world. Students will study and compare political, economic, religious, social, and philosophical systems. This course will require daily reading assignments, note taking, discussion, problem-solving, analysis of primary sources documents, and change over time concepts. It will also include written assignments and a research project. A variety of material will be used throughout the course. This may include the textbook, primary sources, supplemental materials, and audio-visual programs when appropriate. This course will enhance the student’s ability to think critically and improve verbal and written analysis and communication skills. This course fulfills the requirement for sophomore social studies credit. Note: Enrollment in World Civilization or World Civilization A is a social studies requirement for sophomores. An application for an Honors Grade may be requested for this course.

    8160 WORLD CIVILIZATIONS A
    Credit: 1 unit
    Recommendation: Students who have earned a “B” in the previous Social Studies course experience an appropriate yet challenging placement in this course.
    Open to Grade: 10
    This course is an accelerated section of World Civilization. Note: An application for an Honors Grade may be requested for this course.

    8170 AP WORLD HISTORY
    Credit: 1 unit
    Recommendation: Students who have earned an “A” in freshmen Social Studies courses experience an appropriate yet challenging placement in this course.
    Open to Grade: 10-12
    AP World History is a rigorous course that focuses on developing students’ abilities to think conceptually about world history and apply historical thinking skills. The course explores five major themes: (1) the interaction between humans and the environment, (2) the development and interaction of cultures, (3) state-building, expansion, and conflict, (4) the creation and expansion of economic systems, and (5) the development and transformation of social structures. The course will require students to craft plausible arguments from historical evidence, demonstrate chronological thinking skills, and synthesize and interpret historical evidence. Students will be required to construct various forms of essays (document-based, point of view, and continuity and change over time), analyze various forms of documents, and participate in Socratic discussions. Students who enroll in this course must receive a recommendation from their freshmen Social Studies teacher. To receive a recommendation, students must have demonstrated a strong work ethic, independent study skills, strong writing skills, and the ability to analyze content with a high level of critical thinking. Students should expect a substantial amount of out-of-class work. They are encouraged to take the AP exam, though it is not required. This course will count as a weighted grade.

    11th GRADE

    8060 U.S. HISTORY SINCE 1900
    Credit: 1 unit
    Open to Grade: 11
    This basic course covers American History from c.1900 to the 1990's and stresses the following units: The Industrial Revolution, the Spanish American War, World War I, the progressive movement, the Great Depression and the New Deal, World War II, the Cold War, the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam conflict, and the Watergate scandal. The year will conclude with a look at the presidencies of Reagan, Bush, and Clinton. The history of minorities, women, and social movements will be highlighted. In addition to the basic text, various pamphlets, paperbacks, news magazines, audio-visual materials, and projects will be used in the course. A passing grade in this course is required for graduation.

    8090 HONORS U.S. HISTORY AP/ACC
    Credit: 1 unit
    Recommendation: Students who have earned a “B” in sophomore Social Studies course experience an appropriate yet challenging placement in this course.
    Open to Grade: 11
    This US History program, which covers the period from the discovery of America to the present, will require extensive reading, discussion, and research. Students will find the coursework difficult and should remind themselves of this as they enroll in this course which requires high academic achievement potential and high interest in US. History. Honors U.S. History will include a U S. History college credit option through either UMSL or Saint Louis University. Both transcripts are transferable to most major colleges and universities throughout the country. This class also helps students prepare to take the Advanced Placement test in U. S. History, given in mid-May each year. Students do not have to exercise either the AP or college credit option, but they may simply take this class for in-depth knowledge and enrichment while meeting the US History requirement for graduation. Note: This course will count as a weighted grade and students may receive dual credit from UMSL or St. Louis University. Enrollment for college credit requires an unweighted GPA of at least 3.0.

    8120/3770 HONORS US STUDIES AP/ACC
    Credit: 2 Units (1 unit English and 1 unit Social Studies)
    Recommendation: Students who earned a “B” in Sophomore English and Social Studies experience an appropriate yet challenging placement in this course.
    Open to Grade: 11
    Honors US Studies, a rigorous, wide-ranging investigation into U.S. history and culture, stresses those skills requisite for the college-bound student. A two-period block of time has been provided for the course (though students receive separate grades in each half of the course). This course’s cross-disciplinary approach offers the students an opportunity to take a philosophical look into U.S. history, literature, and culture in unison. An English teacher and a social studies instructor teach full-time in the program. The English component of the course includes a chronological survey of American literature. The social studies curriculum will include coverage of the colonial experience, the era of Revolution, early American government, American territorial expansion, sectionalism, and the Civil War during the first semester. Second semester topics will include reconstruction, industrialization and labor movements, immigration, the two world wars, the Great Depression, the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the era of “Globalization”. The year will conclude with student presentations on modern American history. Students should expect to write several papers per semester in a variety of modes. Vocabulary study, critical thinking and reading skills, and grammar/editing techniques will be stressed throughout the year. The course will satisfy the U.S. History requirement for graduation. Additionally, this class will help students prepare to take the Advanced Placement Test in American History, and it also includes a U. S. History college credit option through St. Louis University or UMSL. Both university transcripts are transferable to most major colleges and universities throughout the country. Note1: This course will count as a weighted grade and students may receive dual credit from UMSL or St. Louis University. Enrollment for college credit requires an unweighted GPA of at least 3.0. Note2: Students enrolled in Social Studies 8120 must be enrolled concurrently in English 3772. Please see the Communication Arts course descriptions for further information on the English portion of the course.

    ELECTIVE COURSES

    8495 THE AFRICAN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
    Credit: ½ Unit
    Open to Grades: 11-12
    The African American Experience is a survey course that will examine the history of African Americans from its beginnings in the slave trade to the present. It will also take the time to investigate and analyze cultural aspects of African Americans throughout history. This course will familiarize students with events that have shaped the experiences of African Americans and allow for further understanding of a culture that is integral to America as a whole. Topics will include: The Slave Trade, African American involvement in all U.S. Wars, Jim Crow Laws, African American Poetry and Fiction, The Civil Rights Movement, Jazz and Blues Culture, etc. The broad scope of topics will necessitate outside reading and research by students. This course will encompass topics from U.S. and World History, Geography, Government, Literature, Music and Drama.

    8450 AMERICAN MILITARY HISTORY (Modern-WWII)
    Credit: 1/2 unit
    Open to Grades: 10-12
    This course focuses on the military history of the United States, beginning with the modern-era war on terrorism and ending with WWII. Students will gain a unique perspective of history by going backwards in time and looking at how the modern era was affected by the earlier eras. Each unit will revolve around a certain time period in American History in which a major conflict (either domestic or international) took place. Along the way, students will study the causes, leaders, strategies, weapons, policies, and effects of that time period. The units will consist of assigned readings, lectures, audio, and video/visual presentations, field trips, guest speakers, and class discussions. Note: An application for an Honors Grade may be requested for this course.

    8500 AMERICAN MILITARY HISTORY (WWI-AMERICAN REVOLUTION)
    Credit: 1/2 unit
    Open to Grades: 10-12
    Students will begin with a look at American Military History from WWI all the way to the American Revolution. Students will gain a unique perspective of history by going backwards in time and looking at how the modern era affected and was affected by the earlier eras. Each unit will revolve around a certain time period in American History in which a major conflict (either domestic or international) took place. Along the way, students will study the causes, leaders, strategies, weapons, policies, and effects of that time period. The units will consist of assigned readings, lecture, audio and video/visual presentation, field trips, guest speakers, and class discussions.Note: An application for an Honors Grade may be requested for this course.

    8220 COMPARATIVE GOVERNMENT & POLITICS ACC
    Credit: 1 unit
    Recommendation: current Social Studies teacher approval
    Open to Grades: 11-12
    Comparative Politics is a year-long course. This course, a sound intellectual investigation into particularly significant political regions, will provide a global view to those students who desire to be enlightened members of the world community as well as to develop those critical skills which will spell success at college. This course will provide students with the conceptual tools necessary to develop an understanding of some of the world’s diverse political structures and practices. It will encompass the study of specific countries and their governments as well as the general concepts used to interpret the political relationships and institutions found in virtually all national political systems. The class will study the United States, England, Russia, the People’s Republic of China, Mexico, Nigeria and Iran. Note: This course will count as a weighted grade and students may receive advanced college credit from UMSL or St. Louis University. Enrollment for college credit requires an unweighted GPA of at least 3.0.

    8300 INTRODUCTION TO LAW
    Credit: 1/2 unit
    Open to Grades: 10-12
    This course is designed to help students become more aware of the law today and its importance to each individual's life. The following aspects of law will be considered: purposes and sources of law, the problem of crime, the criminal justice process, and citizens' rights and responsibilities. In addition to the basic textbook, students will be provided with handouts and readings to provide updated information and to relate current events to the topics being considered. Films and occasional guest speakers will be used. Students will have the opportunity to enhance their critical thinking, decision-making, and communication skills through frequent discussions of case studies and controversial issues and through an in-class mock trial.

    8310 INTRODUCTION TO MACROECONOMICS
    Credit: 1/2 unit
    Open to Grades: 11-12
    Macroeconomics is a semester-long course, which will give students a thorough understanding of the principles of economics that apply to an economic system as a whole. This course will place particular emphasis on the study of national income and price-level determination and develop students’ familiarity with economic performance measures, the financial sector, stabilization policies, economic growth and international economics/trade. (There is a significant mathematics element to this class.) Students are strongly encouraged to take both Micro and Macro Economics.

    8315 INTRODUCTION TO MICROECONOMICS
    Credit: 1/2 unit
    Open to Grades: 11-12
    This semester-long class is designed to give students a thorough understanding of the principles of economics that apply to the functions of individual decision makers, both consumers and producers, within the economic system. It places primary emphasis on the nature and functions of product markets, and includes the study of factor markets and of the role of government in promoting greater efficiency and equity in the economy. Students will gain a strong understanding of supply and demand, opportunity cost, and government function in creating and maintaining an efficient economy. (There is a significant mathematics element to this class.) Students are strongly encouraged to take both Micro and Macro Economics.


    8420 PSYCHOLOGY
    Credit: 1/2 unit
    Open to Grades: 11-12
    Psychology is an elective designed to introduce students to psychology as a systematic study of behavior and its broad scope as a field of study. Each student will learn the meaning of many technical terms which will help remove many of the current common misconceptions. It is hoped that students will be able to relate certain aspects of the course to their own personal needs, and, therefore, gain a better understanding of themselves. The class will touch briefly on many areas: biology of behavior, memory, personality, intelligence and creativity, motivation, frustration, conflict, stress, drugs, behavior disorders, social influences and relationships.

    8425 AP PSYCHOLOGY
    Credits: 1 unit
    Open to Grades: 11-12
    AP Psychology is a college level course that is designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of behavior and mental processes. Students will develop an understanding of the basic schools of psychological thought and methodology. Psychological theories of learning, thinking, and development will be covered, as well as the biological bases for behavior. Social and abnormal psychology, as well as the treatment of mental illness, will also be touched upon. Students will demonstrate knowledge of these areas through class discussions, traditional assessments, and a number of projects and writing assignments. Note: This course will count as a weighted grade and students may receive advanced college credit from UMSL. Enrollment for college credit requires an unweighted GPA of at least 3.0.

    8330 SOCIOLOGY
    Credit: 1/2 unit
    Open to Grades: 11-12
    This is a performance-based assessment class that will rely heavily on research, group work, written responses, and presentations. This course is designed to develop an understanding of the role and impact of our society on our lives. Students should also leave the course with a greater understanding of current social issues. The course will cover such topics as culture, the family, the media, the educational system, the role of religion, prejudice and discrimination, as well as other pressing social issues.

    8480 PHILOSOPHY
    Credit: 1/2 unit
    Open to Grades: 11-12
    What is philosophy, and how can it be relevant to life in the twenty-first century? Working towards an answer to this question is the overall objective of this class. This course will cover the philosophical spectrum, from its foundations (Pre-Socrates) to the current state of philosophy with such authors as Baudrillard and Rawls. The major issues of discussion will include ethics, the philosophy of science and mathematics, and the meaning of life . All of these issues will be addressed through ethical discussions, debates, research, and literature.

    8600 SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING
    Credit: ½ unit
    Open to Grades: 11 and 12
    Prerequisite: Approved application required prior to acceptance.
    Can be taken for Social Studies or elective credit, depending on field of study chosen. Learn about topics of YOUR choice! Explore your passions! Self-directed learning will allow students to select, manage, and assess their own learning activities. To be successful in this class, students must take initiative and responsibility for their learning. Self-motivation is critical as students independently set goals and determine what is worthwhile to learn. The teacher provides mentoring and advising, while peers in the class provide feedback and collaboration opportunities. Learners will choose several topics to learn about each semester and will be required to spark excitement about their learning with others in the class.

    8940 WORLD RELIGIONS
    Credit: 1/2 unit
    Open to Grades: 11-12
    This is an orientation course examining the nature and function of religion in human experience. This course provides description, comparison, and evaluation of basic doctrines, history, and culture of selected world religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

    8945 REAL WORLD PROBLEM SOLVING
    Credit: ½ unit in fall semester only
    Open to Grades: 11-12
    This collaborative experiential learning social studies class will study a different real world problem each year. For Fall 2019, we will be studying the contributing factors and ethical implications of Global Poverty. To do this we will use the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as a framework to explore the issues of hunger, universal education, gender equality, child and maternal health, sustainability, and development assistance. In addition to classroom study and research, and working with experts in the field, students will participate in an experiential learning project to be determined. The class will culminate in a capstone project dealing with a solution to the problem that will be presented via a short reflection film and a presentation to the public.