Category Archives: Social Studies

Current Events (Sam)

Note: This class is open to middle school students only.

Information and how it is shared is so important. The need to be informed of news in your local community, county, city, state, and country as a whole is (in its basic terms) the main way people can stay connected. In this class, we will learn what makes the news, how information is distributed, and who makes the tough decision on what is covered on the local news, printed newspapers, and national and international websites.

We will also take the opportunity to learn about stories from new places and stories that the mainstream media thinks is not important to cover. Also, we will find time to uncover news from lesser-known places and understand the things they encounter on a daily basis.

This course will involve reading and answering questions about the content of each story. Students will have the opportunity to locate and present articles that interests them and relate the information to the class. There will be time to discuss things we discover and find interesting.

Constitutional Law (Nic)

Note: This class is open to high school students only.

Is it against the law to pray in a public school? Can Congress regulate the Internet? Are police allowed to stop you on the street and ask you to empty your pockets? Can a college consider your ethnicity when deciding whether or not to admit you? Is Trump really allowed to do that thing he just did? These are all questions of constitutional law.

This year, I will be teaching a year-long class in basic constitutional law. We will focus on landmark cases that have defined the modern legal understanding of civil liberties and government power in America. Students in the course will argue cases, read actual Supreme Court decisions, and sharpen their critical reasoning skills. We will also follow cases that are being argued in the current Court, and learn more about the justices and the politics behind decisions.

I love this stuff.

Fall term will focus largely on the First Amendment to the US Constitution: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

World History (Sam)

Note: This class is open to high school students only.

World History is a subject that explores the key events and global historical developments since the 1500s that have shaped the world we live in today. The scope of Modern World History provides the latitude to range widely across all aspects of human experience: economics, science, religion, philosophy, politics & law, military conflict, literature & the arts. The class will illuminate connections between our lives and those of our ancestors around the world. We will also analyze people groups and important people that have not been mentioned in history.

We will uncover patterns of behavior, identify historical trends and themes, explore historical movements and concepts, and test theories. Students will refine their ability to read for comprehension and critical analysis; summarize, categorize, compare, and evaluate information; write clearly and convincingly; express facts and opinions orally, and use technology appropriately to present information.

Required texts/materials: I will provide the text. You will need a pdf reader/editor to be able to access the textbook. Adobe Acrobat Reader DC  (free)    - The instructor will procure the texts/materials.

Election 2020 (Nic)

On the ballot this November (it’s a big one), Washington state voters will be asked to decide on:

  • President of the United States
  • Governor
  • All 10 members of the US House of Representatives from the state
  • Whether public schools should be required to teach comprehensive sex ed
  • Half of the seats in the State Senate
  • All of the seats in the State House
  • Eight other statewide executive offices
  • and much much more

In this course we will both study the background issues in many of these races and follow the news as election day nears.

Student work will include research, creating presentations, and general current-events-newsfollowing. In addition, each student in the class will be encouraged to choose an active campaign and do a small amount of volunteer work with the campaign prior to election day.

No prior knowledge/experience necessary.