Syllabus

U.S. Government Syllabus

Spring 2019

Course Description

This course will extend the twelfth grade student’s understanding of the world through an exploration of the government of the United States. United States government introduces students to the structure, organization and function of the American political system. Topics studied include: foundations of United States government at the international, state and local levels, the three major branches of government and the Constitution. This course is one quarter in length and presented in ninety minute sessions per day. Only 3 absences are permitted. There are no prerequisites for this course. United States government is required for graduation. The final exam for course will be on March 15, 2019.

Instructional Philosophy

This course will extend the twelfth grade student’s understanding of the world around them through an exploration of the United States government. Students will explore the role of government in the own lives. Students should be able to apply intelligently, both in writing and verbally, the political concepts they learn. Students will be exposed to this information through projects, lectures, and outside reading. Student assessment will be based on group work, individual completion of newspaper journals and portfolios, project presentations, written reports, letters and tests of student’s knowledge of important political concepts. In carrying out projects, students will explain how they thought through the assignment and considered various alternatives to complete the project.

Course Goals

This course is divided into five units: 1) Foundations, 2) Constitution and Federalism 3) Legislative, 4) Executive, 5) Judicial. Each unit correlates to the state standards for United States Government. See the South Carolina Social Studies Curriculum Standards at http://www.ed.sc.gov/agency/se/Teacher-Effectiveness/Standards-and-Curriculum/Social_Studies.cfm.

We will stress literacy, mathematics and technology in this course.

1. Foundations- (USG-1) demonstrate an understanding of foundational political theory, concepts, and application. (USG-2) The student will demonstrate an understanding of foundational American political principles and the historical events and philosophical ideas that shaped the development and application of these principles. (USG-4) The students will demonstrate an understanding of civil rights and civil liberties, the role of American citizens in the American political system, and distinctive expressions of American political culture.

2. Constitution and Federalism: (USG-3) demonstrate an understanding of the basic organization and function of United States government on national, state, and local levels and the role of federalism in addressing the distribution of power. (USG-4) The student will demonstrate an understanding of civil rights and civil liberties, the role of American citizens in the American political system, and distinctive expressions of American political culture.

3. Legislative: (USG-3) demonstrate an understanding of the basic organization and function of United States government on national, state, and local levels and the role of federalism in addressing the distribution of power. (USG-4) The student will demonstrate an understanding of the civil rights and civil liberties, the role of American citizens in the American political system, and distinctive expressions of American political culture.

4. Executive: (USG-3) demonstrate an understanding of the basic organization and function of United States government on national, state, and local levels and the role of federalism in addressing the distribution of power. (USG-4) student will demonstrate an understanding of civil rights and civil liberties, the role of American citizens in the American political system, and distinctive expressions of American political culture.

5. Judicial: (USG-3) demonstrate an understanding of the basic organization and function of United States government on national, state, and local levels and the role of federalism in addressing the distribution of power. (USG-4) The student will demonstrate an understanding of civil rights and civil liberties, the role of American citizens in the American political system, and distinctive expressions of American political culture.

6. Use mathematical skills and tools to analyze, make generalizations, analyze theories, and interpret data and present historical or geographic information.

7. Use reading skills to cite specific textual evidence, determine the central idea, and provide an accurate summary of primary and secondary sources; as well as evaluate author’s differing points of view.

8. Write informative or explanatory texts including narratives of historical events, argumentative persuasive essays, and comparative essays.

9. Use a variety of sources to research and communicate about historical events, their impact, and their relevance for historical perspective of current world events.

Major Course Assignments and Projects:

Project #1 Letter - Argumentative/Persuasive Writing

Students will take a stance on a current political situation. They will research that topic and write a letter to any elected government official that has a stake in the matter. This letter can be about a local, state or national issue and the letter will be sent accordingly.

Project #2 Executive Branch Project - Informative/Expository Writing

Each student will select one of the following: US Cabinet offices, international organizations or nongovernmental organizations. They will prepare a 1-2 page paper explaining one event, duty, or objective that the group is currently facing. Students will cite at least 2 sources. Students will share their findings with the class. The paper will emphasize the American values such as justice, rule of law, popular sovereignty, and basic human rights. Students should also recognize the prominent roles of ideology, trade (economics), and security issues in driving foreign/domestic policy.

Project #3 Current Events - Research Writing

Students will find a current event that relates to each of the five units covered in the course (origins of government, the Constitution and federalism, executive branch, legislative branch, and judicial branch). The student will summarize the article and draw a connection to the United States Constitution (one of the seven articles of the U.S. Constitution and the twenty-seven amendments to the U.S. Constitution.) Each of the five entries will be two paragraphs in length. One paragraph should summarize the article and the other paragraph should cite and explain the duty/power/right supported in the constitution.

Assessment Plan:

Q3 40% Classwork

60% Tests / Projects

Final Grade Calculation

Q3 80%

Final Exam 20%

Grading Scale

A 90-100

B 80-89

C 70-79

D 60-69

F 0-59

Recommended/Required Reading

Students must read the required textbook, United States Government: Our Democracy, by McGraw-Hill, online newspapers and magazines, any additional selected readings required by the teacher.

Pacing Guide: (unit/titles/chapters covered)

  1. Unit 1 Origins of Government (cp. 1, 2, and 3)
  2. Unit 2 Federalism (chapters 4, 8 and 12)
  3. Unit 3 Legislative Branch (chapters 5. 6, and 7)
  4. Unit 4 Executive Branch (chapters 9, 10, 11, 17, and 19)
  5. Unit 5 Judicial Branch (chapters 13, 14, 15, and 16)

*Final exam: March 15, 2019