Social Studies Electives

Year Long Electives


This introductory psychology course could be called "The Brain: A User’s Guide or "How to Use Your Brain to Run Your Life." This course will provide you with new and innovative techniques of common sense psychology to enhance your performance in school, athletics, and life. The core curriculum for the course will center on developmental psychology, sensory perception, altered states of consciousness, and examining mental illness. Numerous activities including role-play, reading, self-tests, projects, experiments, original research, and others are used to transfer theory to practical application. Guest speakers and area field trips are also part of the course.


This course is a basic introduction to the field of sociology. The course explores the norms, values, and inter-relationships among the many and varied groups and subcultures within a society. Specifically, the course will cover such topics as marriage, divorce, rape, rape prevention, parenting, and child abuse. It will also examine issues such as crime, law enforcement, and prisons. Students will focus on watching, talking with, and learning about people in order to better understand why people act and behave as they do. Since we all live and work with others, this course is helpful to all students and open to any interested junior or senior.


This course is an examination of human beings and their culture, both past and present. Anthropology looks at the characteristics and origins of the cultural, social and physical development of humans. The course will present students with a broad introduction to the study of anthropology, but will focus on the fields of cultural anthropology and archaeology. Students will be introduced to a variety of activities to gain an understanding of what this field of study can offer and learn to apply their observational skills to real-life studies, both in the classroom setting and “in the field.”

Semester Electives

Critical Issues in Contemporary America (Semester 1)

This course is designed to provide students with the critical thinking skills and knowledge-base that will help them better understand some of the critical issues facing contemporary America. Issues will include civil rights (racism, affirmative action, women's rights, gay rights, etc.), First Amendment rights (free speech, press, religion, etc.), privacy issues (drug testing, genetic privacy, reproductive rights, child rearing, marriage, search & seizure issues, physician assisted suicide, etc.), the environment (global warming, pollution, etc.) and government taxation and spending. The course will examine the issues themselves and it will explore the differing viewpoints surrounding those issues. Students must also select Law for the second semester.

Law (Semester 2)

This course provides students with an overview of civil and criminal law. Some of the topics include the values underlying the law, lawmaking, legal protections within the Bill of Rights, the judicial process from arrest to sentencing, prisons and correction, the death penalty, types of tort law and individual responsibilities, and tort reform. Students will examine specific court cases to help them better understand how the terms and concepts of the legal system are applied to the real world. The goal of this course is to help students gain an understanding of and appreciation for the judicial process and its struggle to balance the rights of the individual with the preservation of social order. Students must also select Critical Issues in Contemporary America for the first semester.

World Geography (Semester 1)

The purpose of this course is to provide a physical and cultural geographic background for events that have shaped the boundaries and territories of the world since 1945. The course will begin with a reintroduction to key geographical concepts and terms. The main focus of the course will be on how physical and cultural geography have shaped and impacted the ever-changing political landscapes of the world around us. The course will conclude with an examination of how cultural/ethnic groups and international organizations may further shape the political landscapes of the 21st century. Students must also select United States History Since 1945 for the second semester.

United States History Since 1945 (semester 2)
The purpose for this course is to provide an historical context to the current issues of the day. The course progresses both thematically and chronologically through the recent past with the goal being to provide cause-and-effect links between past and current events. Some of the history topics include the Cold War, Vietnam War, Civil Rights Movement, Watergate, the youth culture, and the Reagan Revolution. These topics will provide the context for an examination of such current issues as nuclear proliferation, the changing role of the U.S. in world affairs, communist nations in a post-communist world, affirmative action, judicial activism, and political entitlement. Students must also select World Geography for the first semester.