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Skyridge High School

2019-2020 Course Syllabus

World Civilizations


Teacher: Mr. Matthew Larson                                  Schedule:                     1A & 8B-Plan Periods 

Phone: 801-610-8820 Ext. 2331                                2A-World Civ.                            3A-World Civ.

Email:                 4A-World Civ.              5B-Sociology                  

Room: C233                                                               6B-Sociology                7B-Sociology             

I am available before and after school as well as by appointment, however, Skytime is the best time to receive additional help.



History of Our World. Boston, Massachusetts: Prentice Hall, 2008


Your text provides an excellent summary of the periods to be studied, but it is still only supplementary to the material presented in class.


Course Description/Objectives:


World Civilizations provides an introduction to the history of the people, places, events, and issues bearing on humanity since the cradles of civilization first emerged.  As with any broadly-conceived survey, it will be impossible for us to cover the world’s history with any degree of inclusivity. Instead of cramming the ocean into one bottle, we will paint with broad strokes in hopes of creating a panoramic view of a period chronicling mankind’s conception to modern times.  Additionally, we will seek to understand our vantage point within that panorama.  To study the past we must listen to a multiplicity of voices and narratives.  We create our own narratives in that process and thus become part of the continuum.  You, as students of history, are writers of history and must recognize the significance of that very important responsibility.


Upon completion of this course, you will have come to appreciate the complex political, economic, cultural, social, and religious history of the world’s earliest civilizations to the modern era and how those earlier periods have helped mold the world in which we function presently.  As history’s timeline nears the present, the amount of historical sources, and thus history itself, increases exponentially.  Subsequently, an emphasis is placed on history after 1AD.  But the modern world cannot be separated from its past.  Despite the variety of changes in human history, elements of the past remain integrated in the present.  This course is uniquely designed to introduce the student to those elements of human history that establish the foundations of the modern world we understand today.


Tentative Course Outline:


Unit One-“Ancient Civilizations” (August-September)

Unit Two-“Greece and Rome” (September-November)

Unit Three-“The Middle Ages” (November-December)

Unit Four-“The Renaissance, Reformation, and Scientific Revolution” (January-February)

Unit Five-“Exploration and Absolutism” (February-March)

Unit Six-“The Enlightenment” (March-May)

*Note: This course outline is tentative and subject to change at the teacher’s discretion. The time frames are intentionally vague and may be shortened or extended as the teacher deems fit.


Class Expectations:


v Show respect to yourself and others-We will have constructive class discussions, which are only possible if each student respects others and their opinions. It takes friction to start a fire. You might not agree with another’s opinion, but there will be no name-calling or making fun of each other during class. The use of profanity, abusive language, or racial slurs will NOT be tolerated. Any behavior that could interfere with another student’s ability to learn will not be allowed.  


v Be prepared by bringing your materials to class everyday-You will be required to bring a pen or pencil, notebook or loose paper, and your class folder each day unless otherwise communicated by me.


v Beverages in lidded containers will be allowed in class-You may not leave class to fill up your water bottle. This must be done before class begins that day. Generally, you should use the restroom before entering class. With permission, however, you may leave briefly for restroom use. Only one student may leave to use the restroom at a time and you must not ask for permission while I am directly teaching the class. This distracts and detracts from the substance of the class and any other time is more appropriate. Beyond this, only emergencies warrant you leaving the classroom. Small snacks and gum are the only edible items allowed. All must clean up after themselves.


v Electronic devices in the classroom-When you enter the classroom, your electronic devices must be put away and entirely out of sight. In order to limit interference with learning, you are restricted from using cellular phones, iPods, MP3 players, and all other electronic devices in the classroom while I am directly teaching. Consequences include immediate confiscation and a call to a parent/guardian. Admittedly, there may exist some, fitting instances for the use of electronic devices, but I will explicitly convey when that time is appropriate.


v Make-Up Work-For every day that you are absent, you have the number of days you were absent plus one additional day to make up that work. For instance, if you were gone two days, you would have three days to make up the work. It is the student’s sole responsibility to ascertain what he or she missed and make-up that work.    Exceptions to the aforementioned might be made due only to extreme circumstances.


v Late Work-Assignments are required to be turned in on the day they are due. Failure to submit an assignment on time will result in a zero. If you are absent on the day that a project or longer assignment such as a paper is due, you will be required to turn that assignment or project in on the day of your return. However, you must write “Absent” at the top or it will be considered late and will result in a zero.


v Attendance and Tardiness-I strictly adhere to the Student Handbook regarding attendance and tardy policy. Accordingly, punctual attendance is a requirement for success and will be recorded at the beginning of every class meeting. Students are expected to be in the classroom when the bell rings. Thereafter, all must immediately find their seats and begin work on the anticipatory prompt that begins each class. Failure to do so will result in a tardy and you will be sent to the Attendance Office.




Your grade will be determined based on the points you earn out of the total possible points. This may include notes, in-class assignments, homework, projects, presentations, quizzes, and tests. I reserve the right to be nonmathematical.




Exams will be given over material we cover in class, including notes, readings, assignments, projects, and textbook content. To assess your understanding of the material in a variety of ways, exams will feature different formats. They may, for instance, include any combination of the following: multiple choice, true/false, fill in the blank, short answer, matching, map identification, and essay questions. The dates of exams will be announced approximately one week prior to the date administered, affording you adequate time to prepare. It is essential to stay up to date in the class by completing all assignments and notes for I typically, with the exception of a possible review day, teach new material right up until exams are administered. Generally, there is one exam per unit.


If you are absent and excused on the day of an exam, you have one week to make-up that exam. If you do not make-up the exam within one week, you will receive a zero. If you are absent and unexcused on the day of an exam, you will not be allowed to make-up the exam and will receive a zero. It remains the student’s responsibility to ascertain what he or she missed and, in cooperation with the teacher, schedule a time, within the allotted week time frame, for a make-up test. Only circumstances short of personal disaster might supersede the aforementioned.


A Note on Note-Taking:


v Handwritten Paper Notes Only: Note-taking is highly encouraged and crucial to understanding the course content. Research on the benefits of note-taking on paper versus on an electronic device overwhelmingly supports the former. Thus, all notes must be completed by hand on paper and no electronic devices are permitted during lectures. 


v Notes Are Digitized: All unit notes, with the exception of Unit 1, are digitized. They are accessible at the bottom of that unit’s respective webpage on the class website. Simply scroll to the bottom of the webpage, click on the notes you would like to view (they are alphabetized), and click “Open With Google Slides.” The points I project in class will be visible on the slide while the important content that elaborates on those points (what I discuss in class) will be visible under the bottom notes tab. Click and drag that bottom tab up to see the content. It is your responsibility to take any notes you missed while absent.


v Notes Are Allowed On Exams: Note-taking is not required. There will be no note-taking specific grade. But to further encourage it, you are allowed to use your hand-written, in-class notes to assist you on the exams. The more thorough one’s notes, the better one’s exam score will likely be. And since notes are accessible online, there is little excuse for taking poor notes. Expect the difficulty of exams to be adjusted accordingly.



The world is rich with history. Its richness requires individual exploration. While everyday will involve work, expect the occasional student workday. There will be little hand holding on workdays. After instructions are given, it is expected that you complete the assigned tasks either by period’s end or, if different, whenever it is due. A typical workday will end with a submission and/or class discussion of the work completed.

Opening Questions:


To launch each class we will begin with an opening question, which we will discuss together. Using the opening question sheet, write down the date, the opening question, and your answer. This is worth one point. After twenty opening questions you will submit the then completed opening question sheet for forty points total (2 points per question). When you account for the fact that opening questions are a daily norm throughout the year, they combine to equal about 1/5th to 1/6th of your overall grade each semester. So keep up on them and do not lose your sheet. If you miss an opening question due to an absence it is your responsibility to get it from a classmate. If you misplace it, spare opening question sheets can be found on the window sill next to the assignment submission trays. Once again, however, it is your responsibility to ascertain what the opening question/s were that you missed from a classmate and write them down. The opening question sheet reflects your daily participation and engagement in the class. As such, your opening question sheet grade may be adjusted based on your general participation in class.