Students making the transition to life after high school face a larger world filled with bewildering changes, challenges, and opportunities. This new, two-semester course gives students a forum to discuss and analyze major issues of concern in the world today. At the end of the course, students will be able to...
identify and analyze important economic, political, cultural, and environmental issues
take a position on major issues, justify their position, and take informed action (for example, by voting, writing letters, and doing volunteer work)
The course has two strands:
Strand 1. Themes. The course is organized into units based on several themes, including:
Globalization — Its characteristics, history, and impact, together with the local and nationalist resistance to globalization. Among the characteristics of globalization are international trade, multinational business, and the rapid spread of ideas and information through digital technology
Climate change — Its causes, effects, and projected impacts; proposed methods of mitigating; the debate within and between countries about climate change.
Conflict — Including great-power rivalry (e.g., tensions between China and the US) and regional conflicts (e.g., Iran vs. Saudi Arabia in the Middle East), together with the role of great powers in regional conflicts. Specific local conflicts, including civil wars in Yemen, Venezuela, and Syria, will be analyzed in the context of larger conflicts. For all conflicts, forms of government will be described and compared, together with the ideologies that underlie governments. The rise of authoritarian government in many countries is an important part of this theme, together with the larger conflict between democratic and authoritarian government.
Migration - Its causes, structure, and human reality, together with the cultural and political opposition to migration. Students will learn how migration relates to other themes, such as climate change and local/regional conflicts.
Human rights — This theme addresses several key questions, including: What are human rights? How are they changing? How are they being threatened? What organizations protect them? Students will address this theme through case studies such as the treatment of Uighurs in western China, the Rohingya in Burma, and central American immigrants on the US-Mexican border.
Natural resources — This theme will be approached through a series of case studies focused on air quality, water scarcity, and diminishing oil supplies. Students will consider the role of technology in easing resource constraints and creating alternatives.
Students will learn about these themes from a variety of online and print media. Project work will help students master the concepts, vocabulary, and facts underlying the themes.
Strand 2. Events. Closely integrated with the Themes strand is the analysis of daily news. At least weekly, students will use print and online media to learn about current events, exploring the news as reported by a variety of sources, including newspapers, television, radio, and social media. They will acquire the skills required to situate current events in a matrix of larger themes such as climate change and conflict in order to deepen their understanding of global issues. Skill development. This course is designed to impart and refine a range of skills, beginning with the skills that students learn in history, government, and other required social studies courses at KTS. The course also seeks to develop a mindset and habits of thinking that can make them active and informed citizens. Students will work on the following important skills:
Map skills. Students will acquire and apply the skills required to analyze maps and other visual representations of a variety of global issues and events including wars, climate change, and the distribution of population, resources, and wealth.
Research skills. Students will have the opportunity to address research questions and refine research skills using primary and secondary materials. Important research skills include searching for specific information, taking usable notes, and synthesizing information from multiple sources and different media.
Close-reading skills. We will read and annotate a wide variety of online and print text materials. Important objectives in this area include the ability to recognize bias and distinguish reliable from "fake" news. Accommodations for reading and taking notes will be integrated into the reading process.
Communication skills. Students will use traditional and online media to communicate their opinions to a variety of audiences. Some of the new "creation tools" include Book Creator and FlipGrid. As part of this skill, students will work on the writing process: organizing ideas, structuring paragraphs, writing coherent sentences, and choosing the the most effective words for a specific topic audience.
Technology in this course You are expected to use
How your quarterly grade is calculated
10% of your grade will measure classroom participation: compliance with the school's positive behavioral program (PBIS); appropriate participation in class activities and discussions; and contribution to a positive classroom environment.
45% will measure performance on work that developslearning, including homework, classroom activities, warm-ups, and discussions
45% will measure performance on work that assessesunderstanding, including projects, posters, presentations, formative assessments (quizzes), and summative assessments (unit tests). There will be a midterm in mid-January worth 10% of the 2nd quarter grade, with Participation, Learning, and Assessment adjusted accordingly