The Social Sciences Department seeks to promote an understanding of, and appreciation for, the achievements, conflicts, and cultural diversity of the global society in which we live. Students objectively study and analyze historical trends in order to develop a critical understanding of the political, economic, cultural, and intellectual movements that have defined the world stage. Courses examine trends in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Students are instructed in the usage of primary and secondary sources for inclusion in their research projects, and they incorporate materials from a variety of sources such as library and other databases. While students are encouraged to develop intellectual objectivity, they also consider world events and historical trends in the light of the Catholic viewpoint and faith-based values.
Social Studies Courses
Three credits of Social Sciences are required for graduation. Courses include World History, US History, Government, and Economics.
This weighted course explores the function of the United States economic system with reference to employment theory, national income, accounting, money and banking, the role of government, international trade, and the effects of inflation and taxation on the economic system. Students use a college-level textbook and are expected to read much more in-depth over a broader range of topics. Outside reading is essential, and the ability to grasp and apply complex economic theory is critical to success on the Advanced Placement Exam. A student can expect a minimum of 30-minute class preparation if he/she manages time efficiently.
Prerequisites: US History, Instructor Approval, and Grade Requirement
This course surveys the U.S. national political system. An examination of the philosophical underpinnings of our constitutional system is combined with the historical development and current trends of the system. Primary focus is placed on the national level, with a brief examination of the states and how they function within the federal system, as well as how state governments differ from the national government. This course uses a college level text and requires extensive outside reading. Success on the AP US Government and Politics exam, if taken, requires that students have a command of governmental systems, processes and institutions both at national, state and local level and be able to address in writing problems relating to them.
Prerequisite: US History, Instructor Approval & Grade Requirement
This college level course is designed to introduce students to the social science of psychology. The class will acquaint students with the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Students are introduced to the facts, theories, and principles of the various specializations and approaches within the field of psychology. This is an Advanced Placement course, and students will be expected to manage a heavier reading and writing workload as well as a more rigorous testing schedule. The additional workload will require effective out-of-class preparation skills for the class work and the AP exam.
Prerequisites: Juniors and Seniors Only, Instructor Approval
Based on the Big History Project, students explore history from the Big Bang to present in this semester long course. The goal is to discover common themes and patterns that enable students to better understand people, civilizations, and our place in the universe. By making cross-curricular connections, particularly between the historical record and scientific developments, the Big History course will help students understand how the various disciplines fit together. Students will also be introduced to critical thinking and reading strategies, essay writing, and analytical reasoning skills that provide the foundation for success in future social sciences courses.
Students will serve as teacher’s aides at St. Gabriel’s in the younger elementary classrooms. This course will develop student leadership skills through involvement in small group activities with elementary students and allow them to see the impact they have as a positive role models within the St. Gabriel’s community. Students will serve as mentors to younger students and will be required to work with a teacher on campus to submit assignments and a final project.
Prerequisites: Juniors and Seniors only, Counselor Approval
This course is designed to address the growth and development of the United States from the colonial period to the present and includes major themes and concepts associated with each historical period. Students study facts supporting these concepts in terms of individuals, ideas, relationships, group conditions, and major societal forces. U.S. History uses a high school textbook with questions and exercises at the end of each section of each chapter and a level of reading geared to high school students. Students cover an average of one chapter every 10 days. Students continue to hone their writing skills through research, essays, and document-based questions.