American Government is a required course for all sophomores. It focuses on the importance of active citizenry through participation and understanding of the organization and process of American Government and its economic component. Particular attention is paid to the three branches of government at all levels including national, state, and local. The course also focuses on basic economic principles including a study of various types of systems, consumerism, and the decision making process. Current events are stressed making connections with the past and planning for a better future. Each child will have the opportunity to do community service, be politically active and conduct research in the field of government making connections to understanding diverse forms of government including their strengths and weaknesses. Class participation is extremely important in this course, in preparation in active citizenry.
Suggested Instructional Strategies:
Instructional strategies will include at least five sub-components: summary and note taking, questions, reflection, discussion, and cooperative learning. Strategies will focus on establishing a strong base of knowledge in order to foster a deeper understanding that calls for critical analysis and interpretation of the subject matter. Student produced work in many varied forms from position papers to project presentations will demonstrate evidence of student understandings. Instructional strategies will include multiple styles of formative assessment to monitor student progress.
Course Essential Understandings
By the end of American Government (10th Grade) students will understand that:
1. The United States Constitution is a framework for government where power and responsibility
are shared, distributed, and limited through this living document.
2. Separation of powers, checks and balances, and the division of powers among the branches
allow our government to function and often necessitates the art of compromise.
3. Government at the state and local levels, have responsibilities and provide services that are
both independent from and congruent with the federal government.
4. American citizenship includes responsibilities such as voting, jury duty, obeying the law,
service in the armed forces when required, and public service,
5. A nation's overall levels of income, employment, and prices are determined by the interaction
of spending and production decisions made by all households, firms, government, and trading
6. Because of interdependence, decisions made by consumers, producers, and government
impact a nation's standard of living.
7. Globalization of today necessitates that the United States interacts with other countries
diplomatically, economically, and militarily.