Current Events in the World Around Us (21st Century Skills/American History 2)

Students taking the Current Events in the World Around Us class will study current issues from around the globe in the areas of a politics, society, and economics. Our course emphasizes research projects done by the student, because the topics are always changing. This means that topics of the class will fluctuate on any given day, week, or month depending on which topics are current. 

We want our students to show a greater comprehension of the political, social, and economic issues that are prominent in the news, and there relationship to the United States.  We also want them to be able to apply the concepts of cultural geography to their understanding of the world's cultural landscape.  We will have many                                                                                                        class discussions and debates on the issues.

  • MAJOR ISSUE MONDAYS (Teacher-led Instruction, student engaged seat work, teacher engaged)
    • Opinion Papers-On Mondays students will be presented with information regarding a specific contemporary issue impacting our society.  At the conclusion of the week (Friday) students will be asked to summarize their opinions on the issue by turning in a 1 page Opinion Paper.  A rubric of expectations for the paper will be given to students by the teacher.
  • HOT TOPIC TUESDAYS (Student learning conversations, teacher engaged, formative assessment)
    • Hot Topics-Students will be asked to bring 5 current events for discussion on Tuesdays.  At least one of the Hot Topics will be from the opinion paper topic of the week, and one from the featured geographic region of the week.  Students will then pick one of their current events to write a 1 page Hot Topic paper to be turned in on Wednesday.  A rubric of expectations for the paper will be given to students by the teacher.
  • PROJECT BASED THURSDAY (Project based learning)
    • Research/Project Day-Thursday's are a workday for weekly Opinion Papers, Cultural Geography Quiz preparation, and project completion.
  • DEADLINE FRIDAY (Teacher-led instruction, student learning conversations, summative assessments)
    • Cultural Geography Quizzes-Each unit of the semester will have a regional focus.  Every Friday students will take a quiz over the featured region's contemporary issues.  We will review with competitive trivia games as a class prior to the taking of the quiz.  Opinion papers are also due on Friday.
CLASS PROJECTS  (summative assessments)
  1. Recycle Paper/ProjectHistory is cyclical, and one of the reasons we study it is to understand the patterns that emerge.  Once per quarter students will write a 3 page Recycle Paper by taking one of their Hot Topic papers and comparing it to a similar event in world or American history.  Students must get instructor approval for their topic.  A rubric of expectations for the paper will be given to students by the teacher.  Students may substitute for the paper with an alternate project pending instructor approval. 
  2. Semester PaperStudents will write a 4 page paper over one of the major themes studied in class through units 1-8.  Students will have all of unit 9 as work time for the research and writing of the formal paper.  Students must get instructor approval for their topic. A rubric of expectations for the paper will be given to students by the teacher.       
  3. Semester Presentation/TestEach student will present the information of their semester paper to the class in the form of persuasive speech, powerpoint presentation, Imovie, etc.  This presentation will act as each student's semester test.  Students must get instructor approval for their topic.  A rubric of expectations for the project will be given to students by the teacher.  

Unit 1:  Into the 21st Century
  • The Clinton Years (1993-2001)
  • George W. Bush's Presidency (2001-2009)
  • How September 11, 2001 Changed America
    • The War on Terror
    • Terrorism, Terrorist Groups
    • Terrorism Prevention
  • The Obama Years (2009-2017)
  • Looking Ahead
  • Cultural Geography Focus:  The Midwestern United States
Unit 2:  Medical Ethics & Developing Cures to Diseases- Part 1
  • Smoking and Cancer
  • Aids
  • Abortion
  • Cultural Geography Focus:  The Northeastern United States
Unit 3:  Medical Ethics & Developing Cures to Diseases- Part 2
  • Sex Education in School
  • Euthanasia
  • Genetic Engineering
    • Steroids 
  • Cultural Geography Focus:  The Southeastern United States 
Unit 4:  Issues in Contemporary American Society-Part 1
  • Crime and Public Safety
    • Death Penalty
    • Gun Control
    • Domestic Violence
  • Women in the Military (Combat Roles)
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Cultural Geography Focus:  The Southwestern United States 
Unit 5:  Issues in Contemporary American Society-Part 2
  • Poverty in the United States
    • Outsourcing and Trade
    • The Disappearing Middle Class
  • Environmental Conservation
      • Endangered Species
      • Global Warming
  • Regulation and the Internet
  • Cultural Geography Focus:  The Northwestern United States
Unit 6:  Issues in Contemporary American Society-Part 3
    • Immigration Policy
    • Drugs in America
      • The War on Drugs
      • Marijuana Legalization
  • Cultural Geography Focus:  Latin America (Central & South America)
Unit 7:  Issues in Contemporary American Society-Part 4  
  • Crime and Public Safety
    • Police Brutality
    • American Prisons
    • Gang Violence
    • Hate Crimes
    • Gay Marriage
    • Cultural Geography Focus:  Europe & North America (Canada)
Unit 8:  Issues in Contemporary American Society-Part 5 
  • The Homeless
  • Foreign Policy
    • Third World Countries 
    • Nuclear Weapons
  • Overpopulation
  • Prayer in School, Prayer in Government
  • Cultural Geography Focus:  Asia, Africa, & Australia
Unit 9:  Semester Paper & Semester Project/Presentation