Social Studies

9th and 10th Grade - Connections Civics That Matter

This course aims to develop students into global citizens by exploring, analyzing, and discussing contemporary issues with one another. In an age where civil discourse seems impossible with various polarizing issues, this class provides a safe space where students can express their opinions and understand that their perspectives and words matter. Through empathy building, we encourage our students to be agents of change in the world. We also want to make sure they understand their power by showcasing real-world examples of civic engagement related to our class topics.

Students will cover a variety of units, such as the Foundations of Government, Human Rights (Civil Rights, Suffrage, and Labor Movements), Climate Justice, Global Pandemics, and Political Revolutions. As we explore these topics, students will develop both academic (English literacy, Socratic discussion, critical analysis, argumentative/persuasive writing) and historical thinking skills, like critical media literacy, cultural awareness and sensitivity, civic participation and empowerment, and causal relationships of historical events.

These topics will all be integrated into our team’s Interdisciplinary Project: the History of Immigration in New York City. The end goal is to have students apply what they’ve learned to find ways to build up their communities. Connections will be part of the school’s first cohort that participates in Mouse Create Design League, a program that tasks students with creating a prototype for a web app that addresses the needs of their community.

9th and 10th Grade - Metamorphosis Civics That Matter

This course will build a strong foundation and understanding of civics, in a way that empowers the students to see the relationship between the government and the people, and the civic actions that people can take to shape policy and improve their societal well being. Overall, this course seeks to cultivate the notion of engaged citizenship as a responsibility and civic duty that we should all strive to embrace, as an informed citizenship is the best guard of democracy.

This course will provide common core aligned instruction in Social Studies. Students will critically examine both primary and secondary sources to determine the central idea and how key events or ideas develop over the course of the text. Students will analyze a series of events in detail to determine sequence and cause/effect relationships. Students will be asked to read, write, and discuss global issues, as part of enriching their intellect and their critical historical thinking skills.

11th Grade - Evolution - Current Humanity & U.S. History

In this course students will engage in interdisciplinary learning experiences that address social justice issues. Some of these experiences include analyzing social Inequities of the lived experience: Hurricane Sandy rebuilding languishes in Coney Island public housing vs. the New Jersey Shore houses. In addition, students will also investigate government response to climate change in general: earth/wind/fire (fracking and “clean coal”; shutting down alternative energy wind farms and other types; inadequate planning for wildfires in drying climate). It is essential for them to engage in this discussion because students are living in today’s world, paying attention to the fires, glacial sheet melting, super storms threatening NYC as well as their home countries. Using resources like Google classroom, Newsela, NY Times, Washington Post, Daily JSTOR, Padlet, videos students will study the government’s response to the climate crisis with regards to the concept of environmental justice within the larger unit of social justice in American government with the focus - What is the “Green New Deal”?: opponents to the present US government and solutions they have for the climate crisis; NYC plastic bag ban as a start; and rain gardens.

12th Grade - Synergy Reading with Passion in Government and Economics

Seniors in the Reading with Passion in Government and Economics course will develop literacy skills as they read non-fiction texts on the basic principles of American politics and economics, as well as media literacy. The year will begin with an emphasis on understanding the American presidential election and the platforms of the two major political parties. In the process, students will explore their own beliefs on different social and economic issues to figure out where they land on the political spectrum.

In order to prepare students to independently evaluate the quality of information they encounter in their day-to-day lives, students will learn the skills needed to be media literate. We are all inundated with so much information on our phones, computers, and TV that it is critical to know who to trust so we can decide for ourselves what is fact and what is “fake news.” With those media literacy skills, students will conduct independent research and find evidence to write argumentative papers on a social or economic issue of their choosing. Possible topics include the government’s handling of COVID-19, raising the minimum wage, free public college, and universal healthcare.