SOCIAL STUDIES DEPARTMENTTo access individual teachers webpages, please click on their links to the left. Below are general course descriptions for the Social Studies courses at HSPVA.World GeographyWorld Geography is designed to acquaint students with both the physical and cultural worlds in which they live. Students will explore the physical surface of the earth, often producing their own topographic and political maps. Students will also discover and analyze historical and cultural information from various regions of the world. Synthesizing both cultural and environmental data, the students will discuss ideas such as geographic determinism, colonialism, diversity, and multiculturalism. In addition, students will learn about areas of current and potential conflict and will debate methods of solving such conflict.Using both artistic and scientific methodologies, this multi-disciplined survey course studies past and present cultures from a global perspective and provides students with a spatial timeframe to comprehend the divergent and universal qualities of humankind. The goals of this course are to foster creative and critical thinking, communicate effectively, promote interdisciplinary, individual, and cooperative learning, acquire factual knowledge, recognize one's biased and opinionated knowledge, and affirm value and meaning in life.AP World HistoryThe World History AP curriculum is a cross-cultural, chronological, and historical examination of the connections and encounters between the world’s diverse peoples and the development of individual cultures within diverse regions. The curriculum considers the complexity of human relationships between and within communities. Students of World History AP are encouraged to interact with information on many levels. From the gathering of facts concerning when and how events happened to the greater complexities of how circumstances impacted different groups within societies and between societies, students examine world history from a multiplicity of perspectives. As such, the world history student is full of questions and in search of a multiplicity of answersPre AP World GeographyIn addition to the concepts studied in regular World Geography classes, research is an integral component of the Pre AP World Geography course. Particular emphasis is placed on projects to explore the customs and environment of countries. A significant portion of the course also involves the development of the writing skills necessary for AP courses and exams.U. S. HistoryThe United States History curriculum is designed to prepare students to think creatively and critically and to participate in a democratic society. The course covers the Reconstruction Era, immigration, World War I, the Twenties and Thirties, global interdependence, environmental issues, and domestic affairs from 1945 to the present.AP U. S. HistoryIn AP United States History, the first semester covers the European Experience in the New World through prosperity and poverty in the 1920's and 1930's. The second semester covers the New Deal through Contemporary America. After completion of the course, students will be able to demonstrate those critical and analytical skills and writing skills necessary to pass successfully the Advanced Placement examination.AP European History
AP European History is designed to be the equivalent of a two-semester introductory college or university European history course. In AP European History students investigate significant events, individuals, developments, and processes in four historical periods from approximately 1450 to the present. Students develop and use the same skills, practices, and methods employed by historians: analyzing historical evidence; contextualization; comparison; causation; change and continuity over time; and argument development. The course also provides six themes that students explore throughout the course in order to make connections among historical developments in different times and places: interaction of Europe and the world; poverty and prosperity; objective knowledge and subjective visions; states and other institutions of power; individual and society; and national and European identity.U.S. GovernmentU.S. Government is a survey course with an emphasis on constitutional law, civil rights, and presidential power and authority. State and local government are covered in a general sense (with a Texas supplement) focusing on general trends in local and state governing power.AP U.S. GovernmentAP U. S. Government implements portions of the AP testing program with more specific constitutional and Supreme Court study (example: The Federalist Papers) and focuses more on early political philosophy and constitutional interpretation, with emphasis on civil rights, constitutional amendments, presidential power and foreign policy.EconomicsThe course of study for economics stresses basic supply and demand theory (with emphasis on graphing supply, demand, and production possibilities) along with the study of the economic philosophy (supply side vs. demand side economics and the proponents of these theories) of industrialized nations. Also covered is the history of taxation (and the implementation of current budgetary policy) as well as the functions and characteristics of money and currency. A significant part of the second phase of the course focuses on fiscal and monetary policy (the Workings of the Federal Reserve Board) along with the implementation of aggregate demand, and to some degree, international currencies and currency exchange. The workings of the stock market (as well as the functions and differing types of stocks and bonds) are also emphasized during the second portion of the course.AP EconomicsAdvanced Placement Economics covers these basics, but places more emphasis on monetary and fiscal policies, with graphing problems and statistical analysis of economic problems as significant aspects of the course. AP Economics also focuses on a more thorough study of economic philosophy and current monetary policy. The function of the "Fed" is more detailed, with more emphasis on current budgetary problem solving (i.e. "balancing the budget"). The analysis of the stock market is more detailed, with greater emphasis on differing financial instruments of investment and savings. The Junior Achievement (mock Student Company) program is also implemented on a once-a-week basis with students working with a volunteer from the business community to bring a realistic perspective to AP and non-AP economics classes.AP PsychologyThe AP Psychology course introduces students to the systematic and scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. While considering the psychologists and studies that have shaped the field, students explore and apply psychological theories, key concepts, and phenomena associated with such topics as the biological bases of behavior, sensation and perception, learning and cognition, motivation, developmental psychology, testing and individual differences, treatment of abnormal behavior, and social psychology. Throughout the course, students employ psychological research methods, including ethical considerations, as they use the scientific method, analyze bias, evaluate claims and evidence, and effectively communicate ideas. Note: Reproduced by permission from the College Entrance Examination Board.