Social Studies

Department Staff
Mrs. Pam Schnabel (Middle School Social Studies, Department Chair)
pschnabel@westville.k12.in.us

Mr. Kevin McMahon (High School Social Studies)
kmcmahon@westville.k12.in.us

Mr. Todd DeVries (High School Social Studies)
tdevries@westville.k12.in.us

Course Descriptions
• Geography (Seventh Grade)
Course Description: This class will provide the student with fundamental and basic knowledge of Geography of the Eastern Hemisphere. These guidelines are set forth by the State of Indiana's Department of Education. In the first semester, emphasis will be placed on building basic geography skills and knowledge. The students will be exposed to major countries within the Eastern Hemisphere. In the second semester, students will continue to learn about the countries of the Eastern Hemisphere and the how these countries interact with not only each other but also with countries of the Western Hemisphere. Various styles and methodologies will be use to relate this course to the lives of the students.

• U.S. History (Eighth Grade)
Course Description: This class will provide the student with fundamental and basic knowledge of American History. These guidelines are set forth by the State of Indiana's Department of Education. In this course emphasis will be placed on early American History from the age of exploration through the Civil War. The course will expose the students to connections of events and their impact on future generations. Students are encouraged to look at events and the impact that those events had on all Americans and their individual cultures. Various styles and methodologies will be use to relate this course to the lives of the students.

• World Geography
World Geography allows students to study the interaction of humans and their environments in a world setting. Students study global patterns of physical and cultural characteristics, including the Earth/sun relationship, atmospheric and oceanic circulation, landforms, climate, vegetation, population, economic and political structures, culture, cultural diffusion, and international and interregional connections. Using maps, geographic representations and technology such as geographic information systems (GIS) students will examine spatial relationships, the interaction of physical and cultural characteristics of designated places, areas, or regions. Students are expected to apply knowledge of geographic concepts and uses of geography to inquiry, research, and participatory processes. Guiding course content are the themes of location, characteristic of place, human/environmental interaction, movement between places, and regions. Emphasized are elements of the National Geography Standards: The World in Spatial Terms, Places and Regions, Physical Systems, Human Systems and Environment and Society.

• Economics
Economics examines the allocation of resources and their uses for satisfying human needs and wants. The course analyzes economic reasoning used by consumers, producers, savers, investors, workers, voters, and government in making decisions. Key elements of the course include study of scarcity and economic reasoning, supply and demand, market structures, role of government, national income determination, the role of financial institutions, economic stabilization, and trade. Students will explain that because resources are limited, people must make choices and understand the role that supply, demand, prices, and profits play in a market economy. The functions of government in a market economy and market structures will be examined. Students will understand economic performance, money, stabilization policies, and trade of the United States. The behavior of people, societies and institutions and economic thinking is integral to this course.

• Microeconomics
Microeconomics gives students a thorough understanding of the principles of economics that apply to the functions of individual decision makers, both consumers and producers, within the economics system. Topics include: (1) basic economic concepts, (2) the nature and functions of product markets, (3) factor markets, and (4) market failure and the role of government.

• Psychology
Psychology is the scientific study of mental processes and behavior. The course is divided into six content areas and uses the scientific methods to explore research methods and ethical consideration. Developmental psychology takes a life span approach to physical, cognitive, language, emotional, social, and moral development. Cognitive aspects of the course focus on learning, memory, information processing, and language. Personality, Assessment, and Mental Health topics include psychological disorders, treatment, personality, and assessment. Socio-cultural dimensions of behavior deal with topics such as conformity, obedience, perceptions, attitudes, and influence of the group on the individual. The Biological Basis focuses on the way the brain and nervous system function, including sensation, perception, motivation, and emotion.

• Sociology
Sociology allows students to study human social behavior from a group perspective. The sociological perspective is a method of studying recurring patterns in people's attitudes and actions and how these patterns vary across time, cultures, and in social settings and groups. Students will describe the development of sociology as a social science and identify methods of research. Through research methods such as scientific inquiry students will examine society, group behavior, and social structures. The influence of culture on group behavior is addressed through institutions such as the family, religion, education, economics, community organizations, government, and political and social groups. The impact of social groups and institutions on group and individual behavior and the changing nature of society will be examined. Influences on group behavior and social problems are included in the course. Students will also analyze the role of individuals in the community and social problems in today's world.

• U.S. Government
United States Government provides a framework for understanding the purposes, principles, and practices of constitutional representative democracy in the United States. Responsible and effective participation of citizens is stressed. Students will understand the nature of citizenship, politics, and governments and understand the rights and responsibilities of citizens and how these are part of local, state, and national government. Students will examine how the United States Constitution protects rights and provides the structure and functions of various levels of government. How the United States interacts with other nations and the government's role in world affairs will be examined. Using primary and secondary resources, students will articulate, evaluate, and defend positions on political issues. As a result, they will be able to explain the role of individuals and groups in government, politic, and civic activities and the need for civic and political engagement of citizens in the United States.

• U.S. History
United States History builds upon concepts developed in previous studies of U.S. History. Students are expected to identify and review significant events, persons, and movements in the early development of the nation. The course then gives major emphasis to the interaction of key events, people, and political, economic, social, and cultural influences in national developments from the late nineteenth century through the present. Students are expected to trace and analyze chronological periods and examine the significant themes and concepts in U,S. History. They will develop historical thinking and research skills and use primary and secondary sources to explore topical issues and to understand the cause for changes in the nation over time.

• World History
World History emphasizes events and developments in the past that greatly affected large numbers of people across broad areas and that significantly influenced peoples and places in subsequent eras. Key events related to people and places as well as transcultural interaction and exchanges are examined in this course. Students are expected to compare and contrast events and developments involving diverse peoples and civilizations in different regions of the world. They will examine examples of continuity and change, universality and particularity, and unity and diversity among various peoples and cultures from the past to the present. Students are also expected to practice skills and process of historical thinking and research and apply content knowledge to the practice of thinking and inquiry skills and processes. There will be continuous and pervasive interactions of processes and content, skills and substance, in the teaching and learning of history.