Social Studies

The Mountain Lakes High School Social Studies Department realizes that in the 21st century, our students need to be prepared to live as global citizens. Therefore our classes are geared to help students acquire knowledge of the diverse people with whom they share this world. Moreover, as the world is experiencing a virtual revolution in information and communication technologies, MLHS students need to be trained to acquire and critically evaluate the abundance of information. Our teachers use resources and primary sources that foster the skills students need to communicate their knowledge about the social sciences.

Honors courses in history often use the same basal texts that are used in the regular academic programs, but the teacher supplements heavily with outside-of-class readings and with additional paperback volumes not required in the regular program. For Advanced Placement Courses, students are given college-level textbooks and readings. The honors and AP student should anticipate fifteen to twenty pages of reading per night, and often this material is analytical and complex. Research assignments frequently add to this reading obligation.

Honors courses place a considerable emphasis on narrative and analytical writing. In-class essays and research papers are assigned frequently. High standards of written composition are maintained, and many students find the writing obligation of the honors history program to be the most challenging dimension of the course. Advanced Placement courses assign writing tasks, such as DBQ essays and Free-Response assignments that are modeled after the AP exams.

In addition to the honors courses, the Mountain Lakes High School Social Studies Department also offers Advanced Placement courses in United States Politics, Comparative Government, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Art History, United States History, World History and European History.

World Cultures
Grade 9
5 Credits - Full Year

World Cultures examines the geography, history, culture and literature of the non-western, contemporary world. This course emphasizes global awareness and the development of critical thinking skills. The interdependence of nations and human communities will be examined. Students will interpret literature, analyze data, research solutions to global problems and present their ideas in writing, as well as in formal speech and debate. The course includes both current issues and historical content to provide a comprehensive understanding of the present state of the developing, post-colonial world and how it became what it is today.‚Äč Students wishing to pursue honors level study in 10th grade must complete the optional 9th grade portfolio.

United States History I Honors
Teacher Recommendation Required; Completion of Honors Portfolio Required
Grade Level 10
5 Credits - Full Year

This is a survey course in American history from colonial times to the closing of the American frontier after the Civil War. Skill development emphasis is placed on reading, composition and discussion. Extensive use is made of primary sources and digital materials. Project and presentation opportunities are numerous and varied. A wide selection of evaluative techniques is employed. Only students who complete the World Cultures Portfolio will be matriculated in this course.

United States History I
Grade Level 10
5 Credits - Full Year

This is a survey course in American history from colonial times to the closing of the American frontier after the Civil War. Extensive use is made of primary sources and digital materials. Although the emphasis is primarily historical, some attention is given to the cultural trends in American society. A wide range of evaluative techniques are used.

United States History II
Grade Level 11
5 Credits - Full Year

A sequel to United States History I, this course surveys American history from the turn of the 20th century to the present. The major theme of the course is the economic and global reach of the United States from the late Gilded Age to our current Information Age. Students will be encouraged to do in-depth work in one of the major study areas. Periodicals and audiovisual aids will be used extensively.

United States History II Honors
Teacher Recommendation Required
Grade Level 11
5 Credits - Full Year

A sequel to United States History I, this course surveys American history from the turn of the 20th century to the present. The major theme of the course is the economic and global reach of the United States from the late Gilded Age to our current Information Age. Students will be encouraged to do in-depth work in one of the major study areas. Periodicals and audiovisual aids will be used extensively. As an honors course, students will be challenged with greater reading assignments and frequent writing tasks that further develop critical thinking skills.

Advanced Placement United States History II
Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation OR successful completion of Honors US History
Any student not in receipt of a Teacher Recommendation or who does not meet the prerequisite detailed above may complete and submit a Course Placement Application by the required deadline. Submission of a completed form does not guarantee enrollment in the course.
Grade Level 11
5 Credits - Full Year

This rigorous survey of American history leads to both the fulfillment of the state’s American history requirement and success in the American History A.P. Test. There is a heavy emphasis on both reading and writing about American history. Original source materials and scholarly interpretations are read and discussed on a daily basis. Oral participation in classroom discussion is expected of all students, and considerable effort must be devoted to the development of research and analytical papers outside of class. This program is intended for students who possess very good communication and thinking skills, and who are well motivated toward the study of American history. Students are expected to register for and to take the College Board AP U.S. History II Exam at the end of the year.

Economics Seminar
Grade Level 10-12
2.5 Credits - Semester

This one-semester, online course also meets the Financial Literacy requirement. Focusing on mostly financial literacy topics, the course will help teens master the foundational elements of personal finance and to prepare for life on their own. Topics include; savings accounts, checking accounts, credit cards, taxes, loans and interest, home loans, auto loans, insurance, bonds, stocks, mutual funds, risk and diversification and inflation. Although students will take the course online, the Social Studies Supervisor, Mr. Sánchez, will manage it.

Advanced Placement Economics (Micro/Macro)
Prerequisite: Teacher Recommendation OR successful completion of AP US History 2
Pre/Co-requisite: Calculus, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics or Honors Multivariable Calculus
Any student not in receipt of a Teacher Recommendation or who does not meet the prerequisite detailed above may complete and submit a Course Placement Application by the required deadline. Submission of a completed form does not guarantee enrollment in the course.
Grade Level 12
5 Credits - Full Year

This full-year course offers two separate programs of study in economics: one in AP Microeconomics and AP Macroeconomics The purpose of the AP course in microeconomics is 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. The purpose of the AP course in macroeconomics is to give students a thorough understanding of the principles of economics that apply to an economic system as a whole. The course places particular emphasis on the study of national income and price-level determination, and also develops students’ familiarity with economic performance measures, the financial sector, stabilization policies, economic growth, and international economics. Upon completion of this full-year course, students are recommended to take one or both AP exams in May. A separate score is reported for each. Students are expected to register for and to take the College Board AP Macro and Microeconomics Exams at the end of the year.

Economics 101
Grade Level 12
2.5 Credits - Semester

This is a one-semester introduction to the field of Economics. Such basics as economic vocabulary, consumer economics, personal budgets and savings, factors of production, supply and demand, money and monetary policy, and an introduction to the stock market will be studied.
Key concepts will be taught through videos, current articles, readings from the text, and individual and group projects.
This course must be recommended by the Child Study Team.

Advanced Placement World History
Prerequisites for Grade 10: Teacher Recommendation OR successful completion of World Cultures and successful completion of the World Cultures portfolio
Prerequisites for Grades 11 and 12: Teacher Recommendation OR successful completion of an Honors Social Studies course
Any student not in receipt of a Teacher Recommendation or who does not meet the prerequisite detailed above may complete and submit a Course Placement Application by the required deadline. Submission of a completed form does not guarantee enrollment in the course.
Grade Level 10-12
5 Credits - Full Year

This college freshman level course offers motivated students the opportunity to immerse themselves in global history with a balanced curriculum that covers Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania. Building on content and skills from Freshmen World Cultures, students will develop an even greater understanding of the evolution of global processes and contacts in different types of human societies. Depending on the college or university, students may earn college credits by passing the Advanced Placement Examination prepared by the College Board. Rising sophomores who matriculate for this course must complete the World Cultures portfolio. Students are expected to register for and to take the College Board AP World History Exam at the end of the year.

Advanced Placement Government
Prerequisites: Teacher Recommendation OR successful completion of an Honors Social Studies course
Any student not in receipt of a Teacher Recommendation or who does not meet the prerequisite detailed above may complete and submit a Course Placement Application by the required deadline. Submission of a completed form does not guarantee enrollment in the course.
Grade Level 11-12
5 Credits - Full Year

This full-year course offers two separate programs of study in government: one in American politics and one in a comparative study of global governments. The U.S. Government& Politics portion of the course gives students an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States. This course includes both the study of general concepts used to interpret U.S. government and politics and the analysis of specific examples. It also requires familiarity with the various institutions, groups, beliefs, and ideas that constitute U.S. government and politics. The Comparative Government and Politics portion introduces students to fundamental concepts used by political scientists to study the processes and outcomes of politics in a variety of country settings. The course aims to illustrate the rich diversity of political life, to show available institutional alternatives, to explain differences in processes and policy outcomes, and to communicate to students the importance of global political and economic changes. In addition to covering the major concepts that are used to organize and interpret what we know about political phenomena and relationships, the course covers six countries and their governments: China, Great Britain, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia. Upon completion of this full-year course, students are recommended to take one or both AP exams in May. A separate score is reported for each. Students are expected to register for and to take the College Board AP Government Exam at the end of the year.

Advanced Placement European History
Prerequisite: Teacher Recommendation OR successful completion of an Honors Social Studies course
Any student not in receipt of a Teacher Recommendation or who does not meet the prerequisite detailed above may complete and submit a Course Placement Application by the required deadline. Submission of a completed form does not guarantee enrollment in the course.
Grade Level 11-12
5 Credits - Full Year

This college freshman level course surveys and interprets the evolution of Western Civilization from the Renaissance to the present, examining political, socio-economic and cultural trends. Special attention is given to the emergence of strong nation-states, revolutions and contemporary problems resulting from global wars. Non-western civilizations are examined in terms of their interaction with the west. Students should be highly motivated and possess superior writing skills. Depending on the college or university, students may earn college credits by passing the Advanced Placement Examination prepared by the College Board. Students are expected to register for and to take the College Board AP Euro History Exam at the end of the year.

Advanced Placement Art History
Prerequisites for Grade 10: Teacher Recommendation OR successful completion of World Cultures and successful completion of the World Cultures portfolio
Prerequisites for Grades 11 and 12: Teacher Recommendation OR successful completion of an Honors Social Studies course
Any student not in receipt of a Teacher Recommendation or who does not meet the prerequisite detailed above may complete and submit a Course Placement Application by the required deadline. Submission of a completed form does not guarantee enrollment in the course.
Grade Level 10-12
5 Credits - Full Year

This course is designed to be similar to an introduction college-level course in art history. The major focus of the course shall include both Western and non-Western art. Emphasis shall be placed in the fields of architecture, sculpture, painting, and other art forms within their historical and cultural contexts. Students will earn to look at works of art critically, with intelligence and sensitivity, and to articulate what they see and experience. No prior exposure to art history is required. However, students who have done well in other courses in the humanities, such as history and literature, or in any of the studio arts are especially encouraged to enroll. The course also prepares students for the national Advanced Placement examination that affords students to earn college credits with a passing score. Students are expected to register for and to take the College Board AP Art History Exam at the end of the year. ‚ÄčThis course does not meet the graduation requirement for Fine Arts.

Psychology
Grade Level 10-12
2.5 Credits - Semester

This course will examine selected topics dealing with human behavior in order to provide students with an understanding of how such social science disciplines as Sociology, Anthropology and Psychology investigate behavior. The areas to be covered will include the following: perception, thought, language, learning, the factors affecting intelligence, the cycle of life from childhood to old age, the brain, personality and behavior.

Honors Psychology Seminar
Grade Level 11-12
2.5 Credits - Semester

Honors Psychology Seminar is a rigorous online course that moves at an accelerated pace. It is a 2.5 credit, semester class that will run in the Spring. It is an Honors level course, bringing with it Honors weighting. The course is designed for students who have demonstrated an interest in psychology; although some students independently register for the AP exam, the scope and sequence of the curriculum will not be completed by the test in May.

Students will be successful in this course if they (1) have proven they can work well independently, (2) know how to pace themselves and remain motivated without a teacher directly guiding them day-in, day-out, (3) are adept at navigating material delivered online, and (4) have demonstrated strong writing and communication skills.

Honors Seminar: Holocaust & Genocide Studies
Teacher Recommendation Required
Grade Level 10-12
2.5 Credits - Semester

Holocaust & Genocide Studies is a  honors-level semester course exploring the psychological, sociological and political circumstances that have led to genocide.  While the course’s primary case study is the Nazi genocide of Jews and certain other minority groups during World War II, we will briefly examine other 20th-century genocides such as those targeting Turkish Armenians, Bosnian Muslims, and Rwandan Tutsis. Throughout the course, we will consider explanations of why these events happened, and explore how individuals can apply these understandings to their interactions with other people and their participation in civic/political life, with a view toward reducing the likelihood of future genocide.

Western Civilization & Philosophy
Grade Level 11-12
2.5 Credits - Semester

Western Civilization& Philosophy, inspired by the"Great Books" model of instruction in classic texts, complements the four year MLHS English Literature/Language Arts and Social Studies curriculum by giving students a foundation in the main threads of Western thought from the Ancient through Modern periods. The first half of the course focuses on Ethics, Values, and Epistemology/Theory of Knowledge while the second half of the course focuses on Politics and Economics. Students also get exposure to liberal arts fields in anticipation of exploring future college majors such as Philosophy, Economics, Classical Studies, Anthropology, and Political Science. Finally, it almost goes without saying that the course, above all, provides students the opportunity to think deeply about the core values and perspectives undergirding the major contemporary political, ethical, and social discussions facing modern democracies and prepares them to participate in those discussions as informed citizens.