Graduation Requirement: Four Credits
The Social Studies Department bases its goals and organization on three major assumptions: 1) there is a great need for responsible, well-informed American and global citizens in the world today; 2) our student body needs and expects to be well prepared for college or university level work; 3) an enjoyment of—and an interest in—geography, history, political science, and the other social sciences contributes to the quality and richness of life. Within this context, factual information is presented as an essential tool to successful participation in, and understanding of, the world today-—not simply an end in itself. Thought and critical analysis are encouraged. Further, material is presented in a manner to foster sensitivity to various forms of injustice such as prejudice, ethnocentrism and greed. Basic skills such as reading, writing, speaking, and organizing are stressed in order to foster academic success as well as the ability and interest to participate in community, state, national, and international affairs. The Social Studies program also encourages both diversity of presentation and evaluation in hopes of stimulating and maintaining student interest.
Courses OfferedCourse offerings are contingent on MPA policies regarding student enrollment numbers for each class.
In a time of rapid and transformative change, our world struggles with issues related to power, wealth, the environment, public health, war, technology, and much more. Students read about, research, discuss, and debate many of these global issues. Globalization and its ongoing effects on the world form one major thread of the course, relying on the work of Thomas Friedman and others. Students have input on some other topics considered in the course, and they also make use of topics selected for the “Great Decisions” program of the Foreign Policy Association. By course’s end, our students should feel better informed about their world and more able to enact positive change in their futures.
Credits: One Credit (one for US History and one for English)
Striving for the American Dream: The Country’s Story of Triumph and Tragedy, Oppression and Resistance, Individualism and the Common Good
Our current world practically begs for definitive answers. On a daily basis, we are bombarded with either/or, you’re-with-us-or-against-us, choose-a-side scenarios and situations. Even a cursory glance at United States history, however, reveals a much richer picture than these contemporary choices suggest. This interdisciplinary American Studies course aims to inspire students to explore through reading, writing, and research the tensions and complexities of U.S. history and literature, recognizing that a country and its people can be many things all at once. Taking a chronological approach beginning with indigenous cultures and continuing to the present day, the course will provide students with a core understanding of the nuanced history of the United States through literature-based units that enrich the information with human truths.
The course will meet all year with English and history meeting every other day. Students will earn credits in both English and social studies with portions of the work counting in both classes.
Prerequisites: Honors World History 9 or teacher approval
Beginning after the voyages of Columbus brought together different worlds in a complex system of interactions whose legacies are still felt today, students concentrate upon the last five hundred years in the history of the world. The rise of the nation-state, the age of revolutions, colonialism and imperialism, and the global wars of the last century are major topics as students consider how issues of power, gender, ethnicity, and morality have played out in the modern age. Once again reading a college-level textbook, students further hone their analytical writing skills while making extensive use of primary sources in doing the work of historians and testing those interpretations through debate and discussion. This course culminates a two-year study of world history as students take the Advanced Placement World History Exam in May.
Grades: Grade 12
Credit: One-half Credit
Free speech, racial equality, freedom of religion, and the rights of criminal defendants are only a few of the many controversial and interesting chapters in the debate over the U.S. Constitution. Students examine that history, complete with discussions of numerous court cases, conversations over ongoing issues, and interaction with guest experts. Extensive reading, discussion, writing, and researching are all required from students as they examine the past, present, and future of our constitutional rights and liberties. The course culminates with students researching and briefing a case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. Students then present oral argumentation on that case before a panel of judges, lawyers, and staffers of the Minnesota Court of Appeals at the Minnesota Judicial Center.
Government and economics are like peanut butter and jelly; they just go together, and that is the foundational assumption of Government and Economics. By studying the system that distributes and executes political power in the United States and the systems that can determine how we use resources, we can get a better understanding of the major forces that impact our lives. To complete this study, we will utilize conversation, readings, writing, and research so that we can also work to broaden and deepen our academic skills.
Prerequisites: Teacher approval
Our collective human story spans thousands of years and reaches all parts of the globe. Beginning with a consideration of pre-history and ending with the joining of Old and New Worlds, students use many different methods and perspectives to explore events ranging from the Neolithic Revolution to the classical civilizations of the Han and Romans to the rise of Islam and the conquests of the nomadic peoples of the steppes. In addition to reading a college-level textbook, students make extensive use of primary sources as they consider points of view, historical bias, and questions of historical interpretation in a course with extensive opportunities for discussion, debate, and analytical writing. In this course, students begin a two-year sequence of studying the history of our world that culminates with them taking the Advanced Placement World History Exam in May of their sophomore year.
Prerequisites: Completion of World History 9, Honors World History 9, or instructor permission. Seniors are given top priority for enrollment in the class. When space is available, juniors and then sophomores are eligible.
Credit: One-half Credit (.5)
Why do I learn differently than others? How much sleep do I need to do well in school? We will answer these questions and more in Introduction to Psychology. In this introductory course, you will learn about the major concepts and history of psychology and explore different methods used by current and past psychologists. You will create your own hypotheses on the connections between our brains and bodies and their responses to sleep, stress, new memories and interactions with other people. Assessment will occur through a variety of projects, interpretation of data, discussion, research, case analysis and readings. The class is intended to be an interactive experience which will include conducting social experiments and applying our knowledge of psychology. A combination of different resources will be used, including lesson plans and activities from the American Psychological Association, the College Board and the textbook.
This is not an AP course, but taking the AP Psychology exam would be optional for those students that want to take the test.
Grades: Grade 11
Credit: One Credit
The history of the United States is triumphant and tragic, uplifting and disappointing, reassuring and disconcerting. Through debate, discussion, and writing, students explore these and many other dichotomies in this course. Practically, students begin with a short examination of early U.S. history in order to understand the “foundation” of the country and then move through the progression of U.S. history, ending with an examination of 9/11. During these units, students utilize primary and secondary sources to develop persuasive arguments about a wide range of historical events and trends.
Social entrepreneurship is the process of identifying social problems and developing innovative and transformative solutions to address those problems. Several alumni of Mounds Park Academy have undertaken impressive social entrepreneurship initiatives, and students learn from both them and from other local experts in the field. Students examine various models of social entrepreneurship, as well as delving into ongoing debates and discussions concerning issues in the field. The learning becomes increasingly dynamic and authentic as students propose, research, and undertake their own programs of social entrepreneurship on issues of school, local, regional, or global importance.
World History 10 is the yearlong continuation of the high school World History sequence from freshman year. We continue our regional approach to the course by studying the history of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Students work to develop and practice historical skills such as the interpretation of primary sources, critical reading, expository writing, discussion, and research while being exposed to a variety of primary and secondary sources including art and literature.
Credits: One Credit
With what development should the study of world history begin? With the evolution of humans? The advent of civilization? The establishment of empires? Or does it begin with our present-day selves? It’s this last answer that will frame our study of World History. Before crisscrossing the globe and time, we will ground ourselves in an understanding of the American political system. This will give us a foundation from which we can study other societies and institutions. Additionally, we will take a bird’s eye view of world history, beginning with the advent of civilization and considering which themes we should study as we travel through time. With this foundation set, the remaining year-and-a-half of this two-year sequence will take a regional approach to world history. The second semester we focus on Asia and India.
Grades: Grade 12
Credit: One-half Credit
Religion has motivated people for thousands of years, and even a casual look at the headlines in today’s world reminds us that religion’s pervasive influence remains. Students work to both understand the ways in which religion affects people and societies and to investigate the world’s major religious traditions. After introducing the academic study of religion through an examination of topics ranging from symbols, sacred time, and ritual to sacred literature and stereotyping, students explore Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, along with other religions emerging from these traditions. Readings, discussions, guest speakers, sacred texts, visuals, and other methods are all used in exploring this fascinating topic.