Grades 9-12 Social Studies

Social Studies

The high school Social Studies curriculum utilizes an inquiry-based instructional methodology adapted from the Understanding by Design model. The 3-year mandatory sequence includes Ancient World History, Civics, Modern World History, and United States History. Electives range from Law and Justice, Economics, and Psychology to European History, African-American Studies, and Latin Studies.


Grade 9

Unit 1 – Ancient Greece

  • How did the geography of Greece affect the growth of its civilizations?
  • How did cooperation and conflict define the course of Ancient Greek history?
  • How did beliefs shape Greek individuals, institutions, and city-states?

Unit 2 – Ancient Rome

  • How did Roman individuals and institutions demonstrate effective and ineffective leadership?
  • What was the role of technology in Roman history and its effect on World History?
  • How did various forces (e.g. PERSIA) contribute to the rise and fall of the Roman Empire?

Unit 3 – China and Feudal Japan

  • What were the P.E.R.S.I.A aspects of the Empire of China and Feudal Japan?
  • What factors contributed to the rise and fall of great empires? (Han Dynasty)
  • What were the origins, central ideas, and factors that led to the emergence and spread of belief systems? (Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese Philosophies)

Unit 4 – Early Modern Ages and the Rise of Islam

  • How did the needs, wants and the availability of resources shape the development of regional civilization? (Medieval Europe & the Muslim World)
  • How did beliefs shape individuals and institutions in the various regions of the world?
  • What were the causes and results of the encounters between regional civilizations?

Unit 5 – European Renaissance, Reformation, and Scientific Revolution

  • How did various forces (e.g. PERSIA) contribute to the rise of Early Modern Europe?
  • How did technology shape the history of Early Modern Europe?
  • How did changes in beliefs shape the individuals, institutions and nations of Early Modern Europe?

Unit 6 – Global Encounters – Asia

  • How did interactions between needs, wants and resources influence exploration, expansion and colonization?
  • What were the various reactions of non-Europeans civilizations to European exploration, expansion and colonization?
  • How is technology part of the global exchange?

Unit 7 – Global Encounters: Africa and Latin America

  • How does the interaction between needs, wants and resources influence global exploration?
  • How did forces (PERSIA) impact the development of the New World?
  • How did the beliefs of the Europeans impact the people of Latin America and Africa?

Unit 8 – Absolutism and Enlightenment

  • How did absolutism shape nations in Europe?
  • How does the view of effective leadership change from the Age of Absolutism to the Age of Enlightenment?
  • What factors led to the Enlightenment and how did it influence the beliefs of individuals, institutions and the growth of nations?

Unit 9 – Age of Revolution and Reaction

  • How did cooperation and conflict influence various revolutions?
  • How is effective leadership defined during the Age of Revolution?
  • What were the causes and results of the Age of Revolution?

Grade 10 CIVICS

UNIT 1 – Your Role as a Citizen

  • What is citizenship?
  • What are the rights of citizens?
  • What are the responsibilities of citizens?

UNIT 2 – Foundations of American Government

  • What are the historical and political origins of the government of the United States?
  • How does the structure and function of government in the United States reflect the balance between local/state and federal governments?
  • What values and principles are basic to the government of the United States?

UNIT 3 – American Political System

  • How does the American political system provide for choice and opportunities for participation?
  • What is the role of public opinion and media in the American political system?
  • What is the role of interest groups in American politics?

UNIT 4 – The United States and It’s Role in World Affairs

  • What is the role of the United States in international affairs?
  • How do domestic politics influence world affairs?
  • How have other nations influenced American politics?

Grade 11 US History

UNIT 1 – Colonial America: Impacts on Patterns of Development, 1607-1754

  • What motivated people to immigrate to America?
  • What were the major reasons for the regional differences among the colonists?

UNIT 2 – American Revolution and A New Nation, 1754-1781

  • How did Americans switch from seeing themselves as British colonists to Americans”?
  • What were the major causes of the American Revolution?
  • How did the turning points of the American Revolution impact America and its relationship with other countries during and after the war?

UNIT 3 – Constitution and the Early Republic, 1781-1824

  • How did the Americans view the proper role and responsibility of government in the post-revolutionary era?
  • How did the policies of the Federalist presidents shape American domestic and foreign policy?
  • How did the nation cope and deal with the transition of political power from one party to another?

UNIT 4 – Age of Jackson and Expansion, 1801-1860

  • What were the major reasons for U.S. expansion west?
  • What impact did U.S. expansion have on the American continent and its people?
  • How did American democracy change during the Age of Jackson?

UNIT 5 – Sectionalism and Reform, 1830-1860

  • How did political issues and economic differences influence sectionalism?
  • How did the issues of slavery, immigration and reform influence domestic development?

UNIT 6 – Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

  • What were the causes and effects of the Civil War on American society?
  • What were the difficulties associated with Reconstruction and its long-term impact on American society, focusing specifically on African Americans?
  • What were the roots of segregation, and how did it affect American society?

UNIT 7 – Emergence of Modern America: Domestic Issues, 1870-1917

  • How did immigration contribute to the urbanization and modernization of America?
  • How did industrialization impact American society?
  • How did the problems associated with modernization shape the Progressive reform movement?

UNIT 8 – Emergence of America as a World Power, 1890-1920

  • Why did the United States expand overseas and what impact did it have on U.S. foreign policy?
  • What impact did World War I have on U.S. domestic policy during and after the war?

UNIT 9 – The Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression, 1920-1941

  • Why is the decade of the 1920s seen as a period of contrast between traditional and modern American culture?
  • What were the causes and impacts of the Great Depression?
  • How did the role of government change due to the Great Depression?

UNIT 10 – World War II, 1932-1945

  • How did world economic and political situation lead to WW II?
  • What impact did WW II have on American society?
  • How did military strategy and technology influence the outcome of WWII?

UNIT 11 – The Cold War, 1945–1989

  • How did political and economic differences between the East and West create conflicts in the post WW II era?
  • How did the social and political movements of the post-war years shape American society?
  • How did America’s role in the world change after WW II?

UNIT 12 – Contemporary America, 1950-Present

  • How did America’s struggle for social reform change social, political and economic beliefs?
  • What role has the Supreme Court played in designing the American society?
  • How did the movements of social change impact American society?
  • How has September 11th 2001, redefined American domestic and foreign policy?