Social Sciences

Social Sciences

Social sciences courses are designed to foster each student's developing understanding of the physical features, social systems, events, trends, individuals and movements that shape the history of this country and the world.  The course work facilitates a working knowledge of problem solving, communication skills, use of technology to retrieve information, build teamwork, and integrate information to form clear concepts and make meaningful connections. Furthermore, the course work promotes students to recognize and analyze cause and effect relationships, as well as relationships between people, time and space.  Successful completion of the social studies program at Josephinum Academy is preparatory toward success at the university level. The course work prepares students for their future roles as participating citizens, empowered women, and lifelong learners who make a positive difference in their community and beyond.  

World History                                                                                     
Grade 9 

World History will cover topics from across the world and throughout time. Students will explore geography, debate ethical philosophy and learn about the major events that have defined the past 500 years of human history.

This course will not focus on memorizing names, dates and facts. Instead, students will learn to critically study how geography affects human society, develop persuasive communication skills, and analyze how events of the past are connected to the present day. While this is a history class first and foremost, geography, psychology, and political science will play crucial roles in understanding the content. The overarching goal of students will be to answer the question: “Why is the world the way it is? And how can we use this knowledge to make a better future?” 

History of the Americas                                                                               
Grade 10 

This class focusses on building students’ reading comprehension, source analysis, writing, and critical thinking skills establish in the previous year. The content that this class will cover North America, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. This class is rich with interesting themes and stories to examine, including how such a variety of cultures and ethnic groups have connected and interwoven over centered. From indigenous cultures to the migration and colonization of African and European cultures, to 20th century nation building, this class will show how the Americas and the Caribbean have changed from the earliest indigenous peoples to the modern era.

Grade 11

This is a general study of the techniques of interscholastic debate. Students are involved in detailed and extensive analysis of debate theory and technique with application of skills in competition. Help in guiding and developing novice debaters is an inherent part of the class work.

Chicago Past & Present 
Grade 11

This course is a comprehensive celebration of everything that makes Chicago the city it is. Students will trace historical events from the 1700s to the present day. We will explore the vibrant contemporary cultures of the city, look for ways to advocate for the changes they wish to see in our neighborhoods and create a platform for student voices and experiences as Chicagoans. 

Field trips and independent exploration of the city are crucial parts of this course. Students must be willing and able to use some of their free time (outside of the school day) to engage in exploratory projects of neighborhoods and places in the city. 

AP Psychology                                                                             
Grade 11

The Advanced Placement (AP) Psychology course is designed to introduce students to the systematic and scientific study of the behavior and mental processes of human beings and other animals. Students will be exposed to the psychological facts, principles, and phenomena associated with each major subfield of psychology. They will also learn about the ethics and methods psychologists use in their science and practice.

The AP Psychology course will offer students the opportunities to learn about the explorations and discoveries made by psychologists over the past century. Students will get the chance to assess some of the differing approaches adopted by psychologists including: biological, behavioral, cognitive, humanistic, psychodynamic, and sociocultural perspectives. Additionally, students will learn the basic skills of psychology research and develop critical thinking skills.

The AP Psychology course aims to provide students with a learning experience equivalent to that of most college introductory psychology courses.

Testing Requirement: All students enrolled in AP courses are required to take the AP exam in May of the academic year. Students and families are responsible for the AP exam fees.

Philosophy of Happiness 
Grades 11 and 12

We will be reading the book The Happiness Hypothesis by Johnathan Haidt. The book’s goal to analyze ancient wisdom using modern psychology to gather a better understanding of what is happiness. This is a discussion based class where students will be required to read and discuss college level texts and ideas. It is perfect preparation for college and it will provide valuable insight into human happiness.

Current Events & Modern History
Grades 11 and 12

This course will look at major events that have unfolded in recent times. Students will observe what is happening in the world around us, backtrack through recent history to explain why the events are occurring and then look towards solutions for the future. This course will cover all corners of the world and rely heavily on student’s further developing the reading and writing skills established in previous social science courses.