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Darlington School
Academics
    

History

Jonathan Wagshul
History Department Chairman

“History is an argument without end.” - Pieter Geyl

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of those acts will be written the history of this generation... It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.” - Bobby Kennedy

The study of history is not rocket science; in some ways, it’s tougher!  In rocket science, if we look at the most challenging questions long enough and hard enough, there is usually an objective answer to be found. Not so in history. As we look at the most controversial issues of the past and present, and assess why events played out as they did, what might have been a better way forward, and what is the best way forward with today’s challenges, there is often no “right answer.” Therein lies the challenge and the fun of studying history - assessing great issues and controversies, trying to make sense of them, and considering the options moving forward for society.  Some say many issues in the social sciences issues are completely intractable. Maybe so ... or maybe we’ll have groundbreaking discussions right here at Darlington that will change the world. Either way, it will be interesting!

All students enrolled in AP courses are required to take the AP Exam in the spring.


Human Geography

Get ready for a virtual trip around the world, beginning here in the United States, as we examine the cultures, customs, and prevailing issues of various societies. Why do some countries or societies succeed greatly where others fail just as greatly in dealing with similar issues? In evaluating these societies and their challenges, the issues we consider will include culture and culture clashes, customs, politics, population, business and agricultural development, religion, urban development, and environmental challenges. Students will grow their abilities to understand, evaluate and discuss the concerns and perspectives of other countries and cultures, a skillset of great importance as they prepare to assume their role as the next generation of leaders in an increasingly global community.  

Skills developed: 

  • Ability to understand and discuss/debate competing points of view
  • Multicultural understanding, including the concept of a 360-degree look at foreign cultures and their issues
  • Critical assessment of challenging and controversial topics, and the related ability to communicate that assessment both verbally and in writing
  • Ability to engage on controversial topics in a productive and respectful manner
  • Pertinent research and related writing.

Knowledge developed:

Students will assess domestic and international issues from a spatial perspective, including matters involving customs, culture, population/demographics, politics, urban development, agriculture, religion, economy/trade, and the environment. 

 

AP Human Geography

The AP version of Human Geography will have a similar curriculum focus to the college-preparatory version. However, it will have a heightened level of challenge, in that it will approach many of the topics in greater depth and have higher expectations in research, writing, discussion, and critical thinking. In addition, it will prepare the students to take The College Board’s AP Human Geography test near the end of the school year.

Skills developed: 

  • Ability to understand and discuss/debate competing points of view
  • Multicultural understanding, including the concept of a 360-degree look at foreign cultures and their issues
  • Critical assessment of challenging and controversial topics, and the related ability to communicate that assessment both verbally and in writing
  • Ability to engage on controversial topics in a productive and respectful manner
  • Pertinent research and related writing.

Knowledge developed:

  • Students will assess domestic and international issues from a spatial perspective, including matters involving customs, culture, population/demographics, politics, urban development, agriculture, religion, economy/trade, and the environment. 
  • The range and depth of knowledge will exceed that included in the college-preparatory version of the course as we prepare for the AP Exam at the end of the school year.

Required Prerequisites

 A 90 or higher grade in eighth-grade history and teacher recommendation will typically indicate readiness for the AP class. However, this being a freshman AP class, we will exercise discretion on a case-by-case basis with an eye toward ensuring that each student has the best possible learning experience.

 

Modern World History

What makes the modern world different? How did new technology and knowledge change traditional societies in Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas? Modern World History asks the student to explore what made our contemporary society different from the medieval world. 

Skills Developed  

Through argumentation and writing the student learns to:

  • Create arguments using historical facts
  • Know basic geography
  • Understand patterns of continuity and change over time
  • Analyze similarities and differences between different cultures and time periods
  • Understands how unique events fit into the contemporary world

Knowledge Developed

Students in this course will learn how the intellectual, political, economic, and cultural revolutions in the West challenged the world and how world societies responded and are continuing to evolve. 

Required Prerequisites

Completion of the Human Geography course

 

AP World History

AP World History is the second year in a two-year course sequence that prepares students for the AP World History Exam. The course begins with the early modern world and ends with the study of contemporary events.

Skills Developed

  • Crafting historical arguments from historical evidence
  • Understanding chronological reasoning and historical causation
  • Understanding historical comparison and contextualization
  • Understanding historical interpretation and synthesis
  • Analyzing historical documents
     

Knowledge Developed

Students will explore the five AP World History themes that connect the key concepts throughout the course and serve as the foundation for student reading, writing, and presentation requirements are as follows:  

Theme 1: Interaction Between Humans and the Environment

Theme 2: Development and Interaction of Cultures

Theme 3: State-building, Expansion, and Conflict

Theme 4: Creation, Expansion, and Interaction of Economic Systems

Theme 5: Development and Transformation of Social Structures and Socialism

Theme 5: Development and Transformation of Social Structures


Required Prerequisites

  • 85 in Honors Ancient World History Honors or a 90 in College-Preparatory Ancient World History with teacher recommendation
  • AP Application completion required
  • An entry submission of the students writing will be required of all students interested in enrolling for an AP history class for the first time. 

 

United States History

From our Founding Fathers through the Civil War and our emergence as a world power in the 20th Century, Americans have responded to challenges from within and abroad. The study of United States History leads students to understand how our political, economic, cultural and social achievements have defined who we are today. 

Skills Developed

  • Create arguments using historical facts
  • Understand patterns of continuity and change over time
  • Analyzes similarities and differences between different ethnic groups living in America and time periods
  • Understands how unique events fit into the big picture

Knowledge Developed

  • Impact of European exploration and colonization and the development of an independent nation
  • Westward expansion and industrialization
  • Events leading to and results of the American Civil War
  • Transition of America from being an isolationist nation to being involved in imperialism and worldwide conflicts
  • The Great Depression and American response to political, economic and social inequities

Required Prerequisites

None. This course is usually taken during the junior year.

 

AP United States History
 

From our Founding Fathers through the Civil War and our emergence as a world power in the 20th Century, Americans have responded to challenges from within and abroad. The study of United States History leads students to understand how our political, economic, cultural and social achievements have defined who we are today.

Skills Developed

  • Creates arguments using historical facts
  • Understands patterns of continuity and change over time
  • Analyzes similarities and differences between different ethnic groups living in America and time periods
  • Understands how unique events fit into the big picture
  • Analyzes documents looking for personal bias and determine historical relevance
  • Groups analyzed documents in order to synthesize the relevant information for purposes of historiography
  • Interprets political cartoons so that an understanding of media influences are recognized
  • Develops time management skills crucial in determining the level of success on the end of the course test.

Knowledge Developed

Impact of European exploration and colonization and the development of an independent nation

Westward expansion and industrialization

Events leading to and results of the American Civil War

  • Transition of America from being an isolationist nation to being involved in imperialism and worldwide conflicts
  • The Great Depression and American response to economic and social inequities.

Required Prerequisites

Teacher recommendation and

  • 90 in regular Modern World History
  • 85 in AP World History
  • AP Application completion required
  • An entry submission of the students writing will be required of all students interested in enrolling for an AP history class for the first time. 

 

AP Comparative Government
 

In AP Comparative Government, students will study, analyze, and compare the institutions of government in China, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, and the United Kingdom. We hope to leave students with an appreciation of the importance of economic and political changes throughout the world, and to prepare them for a world that continues to become smaller and smaller.

Skills Developed

  • Interpreting and analyzing data
  • Interpreting and analyzing supplemental reading including primary sources related to the six governments of focus
  • The ability to effectively and efficiently respond to free response questions
  • Comparing and contrasting different forms of government and analyzing their respective pros and cons

Knowledge Developed

Students successfully completing this course will:

  • understand major comparative political concepts, themes, and generalizations
  • have knowledge of important facts pertaining to the governments and politics of China, Great Britain, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, and Russia
  • understand typical patterns of political processes and behavior and their consequences

Required Prerequisites

Teacher recommendation and

  • 90 in United States History
  • 85 in AP United States History
  • AP Application completion required
  • An entry submission of the students writing will be required of all students interested in enrolling for an AP history class for the first time. 


Psychology

In Psychology the goal is not just to memorize names, dates, and facts, but to analyze and see how everything around us and in us (genetically speaking) plays an impact on who we are, what we do, and how we experience the world around us. Students who take this course will be exposed to everything from the anatomy of the brain, different types of intelligences, different learning methods, how memory works, motivation, social interactions, psychological disorders, and much more. 

Skills Developed

  • Students will learn how to analyze and create an experiment
  • Students will learn how to critically think about abstract concepts that they experience on a daily basis

Knowledge Developed:

Students will learn about the subfields of Psychology while also learning about the people whose ideas have made the study of Psychology not only a reality but an important area of study for anyone who wants to have a better understanding of the world around them and how they fit in it. 

Required Prerequisites

Students must be in either their junior or senior year.

 

AP Psychology

Have you ever wondered why people do the things they do, or think the things they think? In AP Psychology, that is exactly what we try to figure out. Students are introduced to the scientific study of behavior (what people do) and mental processes (what and how people think) in human beings. 

Skills Developed

  • Students will learn to think critically about scientific and statistical data.
  • Students will learn to design and conduct a psychological experiment.
  • Students will learn to identify symptoms of a wide range of psychological disorders.

Knowledge Developed

  • Students will learn names and functions for the various parts of the brain and nervous system.
  • Student will learn about the various subfields of psychology including: biological, evolutionary, psychodynamic, behavioral, cognitive, humanistic, developmental and social-cultural approaches.

Required Prerequisites

For admission into AP Psychology, students must have a 90 overall average on all coursework taken and have completed at least one AP or Honors course while at Darlington. AP Application completion required. This class is for seniors only.

 

AP United States Government and Politics

How do you organize and operate a government to make decisions for 300 million people effectively in the wake of economic crisis, wars abroad, and the threat of terrorism? AP U.S. Government and Politics is designed to teach the nuts and bolts of American constitutional government. We will explore original documents, seeking out the principles of American government, and we will discuss at length what American’s political beliefs and behaviors are and how this is reflected in political parties, interest groups, and voting.  

Skills Developed

  • Interpreting and analyzing data
  • Interpreting and analyzing supplemental reading including primary sources related to U.S. Government
  • The ability to effectively and efficiently respond to free response questions

Knowledge Developed

Understanding of constitutional underpinnings, political beliefs and behavior, parties, interest groups, media, federalism, public policy, civil rights and liberties

Required Prerequisites:

Teacher recommendation and

  • 90 in U.S. History
  • 85 AP U.S. History
  • AP Application completion required
  • An entry submission of the students writing will be required of all students interested in enrolling for an AP history class for the first time. 

 

Global Issues I/II (The Crisis Map) - Fall semester, juniors and seniors only
 

Get ready for a virtual trip around the world, evaluating the “global crisis map.”  This junior/senior elective will explore and discuss current and recent past challenges and controversies around the world, and ask questions such as why/how did those situations develop, how have the respective countries or governments handled them, and whether or not you believe there might have been a better approach. The class will be case-study driven, with the cases dealing with real-world events. Topics will range from the world of politics, armed conflict, environmental crises, culture clashes, economic crises, gender relations and moral dilemmas. Our “travel” will take us to locations on the crisis map including Quebec, Argentina, Russia, the Ukraine, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa, and Tibet. 

This course is part one of a two-course sequence, with the second part being International Law.  This course is not the same as the Global Issues course offered during the 2016-17 school year, and is open to students who have taken that class.

Skills Developed

  • Ability to understand and discuss/debate competing points of view
  • Multicultural understanding, including the concept of a 360-degree look at foreign cultures and their issues
  • Critical assessment of challenging and controversial topics, and the related ability to communicate that assessment both verbally and in writing
  • Ability to engage on controversial topics in a productive and respectful manner
  • Pertinent research and related writing.

Knowledge Developed

  • Students will gain knowledge and insights on a variety of crisis issues around the world.
  • Students will gain insights into the cultures of the countries at issue, and how their cultures impact the issues we are discussing.  This knowledge will be key to their growth as leaders in an increasingly global, interconnected world. 

 

International Law - Spring semester, juniors and seniors only

Great Issues in International Law is a junior/senior elective course, in which we will learn of some of the compelling issues in the world, primarily through case studies, using primary source materials, news articles, opinion articles and films for background and context. Why do we want to spend our time on these topics? The countries and peoples of the world are increasingly connected. As future leaders - and that is what you are! - you need to know about the laws that govern this increasingly interconnected environment. Questions relating to these legalities show up in the news every day as we hear about conflicts involving countries of the world as well as terrorist/radicalized organizations. Looking at real-world disputes and crises, our discussion will focus on questions relating to why the U.S. (or Russia, Ukraine, Serbia, China, Israel, the Palestinians, and the list goes on) chose a particular course of action, and assessing those decisions from both a legal and moral standpoint. 

This course is the second part of a two-course sequence, with the first part being Global Issues - The Crisis Map.

Skills Developed

  • Analytical assessment of complex topics
  • Ability to understand and articulate competing points of views on controversial issues
  • Ability to articulate arguments to support competing points of views on the issues we discuss
  • Verbal and written advocacy skills, and the ability to put together cogent presentations and written work

Knowledge Developed

International humanitarian law/law of armed conflict, legal basis for the use of force (i.e., when it is legal to enter a conflict), law of the sea relating to U.S.-China relations, laws relating to the war on terror (including the takedown of Osama Bin Laden), challenges of “lawfare” such as the use of human shields, legalities in current/recent conflicts such as Iraq, Israel/Palestine, the Ukraine, and the South China Sea, the International Criminal Court and the debate surrounding whether or not the U.S. should join it, the challenges relating to the UN Security Council, what to do when international law and morality appear to conflict, and laws on interrogation.

 

Sports and Performance Psychology - Fall semester, juniors and seniors only

This one-semester elective for juniors and seniors examines sport and performance psychology, dealing with the study and application of the psychological principles that enhance performance. This course will seek to improve actual performance by effectively applying psychological principles in a performance context. It will also seek to improve quality of life by effectively applying sport and performance psychology principles in all areas of life. 

This course is part one of a two-semester sequence with Sports and Society.

Skills and Knowledge Developed

Various life skills including mental toughness, stress management, confidence, focus, team building, motivation, goal setting, positive attitude, and the power of positive thought.

 

Sports in History - Spring semester, juniors and seniors only

Sports in Society is a junior/senior elective course on sport and how it relates to culture, looking at the United States as well as the world beyond the U.S. borders. It is based on the premise that sport is a reflection of society with all of its good points as well as its negative ones. We will be guided by the following overarching questions:  How is sport a reflection of a given society (and vice versa)? To what extent does location impact sports? What is the overlap of sports with race relations, gender relations, politics, religion, laws relating to violence, and socio-economic questions? What is the athlete’s role as a political and social activist? The course will be based primarily on case studies, starting out with a look at big-program high school football, and expanding to cases involving college athletics, professional leagues and the Olympics. Looking at scholarly writings as well as films for background and context, you will refine your ability to analyze, understand, and articulate a variety of issues in the social sciences. 

This course is part two of a two-semester sequence with Sports and Performance Psychology.

Skills Developed

  • Analytical assessment of debatable topics
  • Ability to understand and articulate competing points of views on controversial issues
  • Ability to articulate arguments to support competing points of views on the issues we discuss.
  • Verbal and written advocacy skills, and the ability to put together cogent presentations and written work

Knowledge Developed

Sports and its potential impact on a community, sports and race relations, sports and gender relations, sports and politics as a positive to overcome national challenges, sports and politics viewed in the context of the Olympics and Olympic boycotts, sports and terror in the context of the 1972 Olympics, sports and crime/violence, and sports and academics, to include the issues of whether scholarship athletes in revenue-raising college sports should be paid.

 

Introduction to Economics

This survey course for juniors and seniors in economics will teach students about the functioning of modern economies, with focus on the market economy. We will look at key principles in both micro- and macroeconomics. Topics will include consumers, firms, markets and income distribution, supply and demand, growth and fluctuation in national economies, inflation, and government regulation. This course will be of great value in giving a running start to students interested in the social sciences, and particularly economics, in future college studies.


    

    

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