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Social Sciences

Chairperson: Fr. George Teodoro, SJ

The Social Science department helps students develop the skills and attitudes they need to be a thoughtful member of their community and an active participant in democracy and civil society. Through the lenses of history, politics, economics, philosophy, religion, and culture, every social science class strives to help students make connections between the events of the past and the world they live in today. Verbum Dei social science students are able to ask important questions, have the skills they need to research answers, can apply key concepts and vocabulary to analyze situations, and can propose informed actions to change their community, nation, and world.

There are four required courses: World History, US History, Economics, and Government.

Each required course also offers either an honors or advanced placement (AP) option. 

World History and Honors World History (10th Grade)

In this year-long course, we will survey the emergence of human civilizations and study the encounters and interactions of various cultures throughout history. We will thematically explore history, drawing on examples from all six continents, emphasizing depth rather than breadth. This class will focus on cultures and civilizations outside of the United States, and in particular on Latin America and Africa, since therein lay the cultural roots of our students.

As the foundational course for Social Studies at Verbum Dei, this course will emphasize skill building – geography, chronology, reading comprehension, research, writing, and oral presentations will all be used to help students engage thoughtfully in the world they have inherited from their predecessors.

Honors World History will explore the same topics, but with greater depth and increased requirements. Honors World History students will be prepared to take AP US History as juniors. 

US History, Honors US History, and AP US History (11th Grade)

U.S. History examines pre-Colombian times through today. This year-long course examines both the triumphs and the tragedies of American history, and explores the idea of what it means to be an American today. The course places emphasis on the narrative of oppressed and marginalized groups by examining how institutions and societal norms contribute to the struggle of minority groups.

The course has three main emphases: learning essential historical content, fostering the ability to think historically including identifying themes, patterns, and trends of historical change, and finally, developing and refining essential reading, writing, speaking, and research abilities to convey this knowledge competently.

Honors US History will explore the same topics, but with greater depth and increased requirements.

Advanced Placement US History is a rigorous and fast-paced course which prepares students to take the national AP exam at the end of the year. Students who score highly on this test will receive college credit for this course. 

Economics and Honors Economics (12th Grade)

The goal of Economics in the 21st Century is to enable students to become economically literate and effective financial decision-makers. This one-semester course begins by building the foundations of economic understanding by introducing students to the fundamental micro-economic concepts necessary to analyze macroeconomic and global concepts. Students will analyze the role of the consumer in micro, macro and global economic systems and explore how changes in the economy affect individuals, households, businesses, the government, and the environment. Students will also explore the realm of personal finance, and understand how credit cards, college loans, and other instruments impact their financial well-being. The final component of Economics in the 21st Century requires students to practically apply their knowledge by investigating and articulating economic solutions through practical application of real world problems.

As with the other social studies courses this course will include learning essential content, fostering the ability to think analytically, and finally, developing and refining essential reading, writing, speaking, and research abilities to competently convey this knowledge.

Honors Economics will explore the same topics, but with greater depth and increased requirements. 

Government and AP Government (12th Grade)

Government for the 21st Century is a one-semester social studies course that focuses on the foundations of government and responsible participatory citizenship. A deeper understanding of government will be achieved through analyzing the political process, political ideologies, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the three branches of government, as well as the rights and responsibilities of individuals in our government system. Throughout this course, students will analyze the various roles of individual citizens and groups in the political process as well as how America's founding ideals (Democracy, Opportunity, Liberty, Equality and Rights) have shaped and continue to shape American government, in preparation for full participation in democracy as a citizen and voter.

As with the other social studies courses this course will include learning essential content, fostering the ability to think analytically, and finally, developing and refining essential reading, writing, speaking, and research abilities to competently convey this knowledge.

Advanced Placement Government is a rigorous and fast-paced course which prepares students to take the national AP exam at the end of the year. Students who score highly on this test will receive college credit for this course.

Electives (availability changes year to year) 

Ethnic Studies

In this two-semester elective, students will analyze the intersection between ethnicity, culture, nationality, gender and sexuality as it pertains to images of otherness, generational differences, civil rights, and economics. By studying the history, literature, art and contributions of multicultural America, students will cultivate the empathy and understanding necessary for social, political and educational engagement. This course will explore the origins of various stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination, as well as how to combat such social ills. The study of social justice movements and political and economic multicultural coalitions will serve as a basis for student participation in service learning at the middle school, high school and community levels. 

Art History

In this two-semester elective, students will learn the history of and gain an appreciation for the major visual and performing arts, including painting, sculpture, architecture, photography, theater, cinema, and music. Through a study of art history, as well as a series of exploratory projects, students will gain a greater understanding how the arts influence their daily lives through commercial advertising, political speech, social media, personal expression, ethical values, and religious devotion.

 Anthropology

In this two semester elective, students acquire an understanding of the differences and similarities, both biological and cultural, in human populations. Students recognize the characteristics that define culture and will gain an appreciation for both their own and the culture of others. The content includes, but not be limited to, the following: human biological and cultural origins; human adaptation to the physical environment; diversity of human behavior; the evolution of social and cultural institutions; patterns of language development; family and kinship relationships; effects of change on such cultural institutions as the arts, education, religion and law. Understanding anthropology will help student analyze and change any human institution they participate in, including schools, corporations, sports teams, and church communities.