The Social Studies Department is committed to the integration of history, government, and the social sciences. The comprehensive nature of each course, supported by critical thinking and writing skills, prepares our students for the demands of college- and graduate-level courses. In addition, students will gain new appreciation for the social, ethnic, and religious diversity in our ever-changing global community.
Points of Pride
- Varied methodology of instruction
- Project-based learning
- Primary source and document-based analysis
- Four Advanced Placement courses: American Government, United States History, Human Geography, and Comparative Government
- High percentage of students taking AP classes
- Scores consistently ranked above the national average
- AP teachers routinely mark the national AP exams during the summer
- Unique electives
- Participation in National History Day
- Extensive co-curricular activities
The middle school curriculum provides an exciting and varied approach to Social Studies. Preparation for global citizenship begins in sixth-grade World Geography. The students learn the fundamentals of geography while exploring the issue of water scarcity around the world. Students continue to gain an appreciation for our world in seventh-grade American History. Students study our nation’s history from Colonization through Reconstruction and participate in the National History Day competition. Building on their writing, critical thinking, and technology skills, students complete an independent research project on an area of history of their choice, using primary and secondary sources. Eighth-grade students are engaged in both the study of Modern American History and Civics through two major projects. The oral history project, in which students conduct interviews about a time period or event, enables the students not only to experience a personal primary historical source, but also to create one. The eighth grade also participates in National History Day.
The high curriculum continues to advance critical thinking and writing skills. Ninth-grade World History exposes the students to ancient cultures and the development of humanity and society. Students are introduced to primary-source documents through document-based questions. This requires students to analyze documents and develop thesis-driven essays. Students also have the opportunity to link ancient cultures with modern-day challenges in our global society through the use of CNN Student News and The New York Times Upfront magazine.
The department’s commitment to encouraging students to become knowledgeable and active citizens within our society is evidenced through a strong course of study in American government. The students also take a field trip to Washington, D.C., which includes visits to the Newseum, the Capitol, the House gallery, and national monuments. A highlight of the day is meeting with Congressman Patrick Meehan, the representative for many Notre Dame students. Congressman Meehan speaks with them about current legislation and their political interests.
In eleventh-grade United States History, students continue to advance the critical thinking skills developed in previous years. Through a variety of research, written, and creative projects, an appreciation of their own history and our country’s history and global position is reinforced. Current events are also incorporated into the course. In a cross-curricular effort with the Religion Department, the students visit the Holocaust Museum and the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
The electives available in tenth through twelfth grades provide students the opportunity to expand their skills and to delve deeper into their areas of interest. World History II, Macroeconomics, global Studies, AP Comparative Government, and AP Human Geography prepare students for post-graduation academic demands while continuing to instill in them an appreciation of the diversity within our society and world.
The co-curricular activities moderated by many of the Social Studies teachers reinforce and add dimension to classroom learning. Many students participate in the Good Government Seminar (sponsored by State Senator Daylin Leach), the Diversity Club, the Politics and Public Policy Club, the World Affairs Club, the Model United Nations, and the Mock Trial club.