What do they call social studies in high school?

September 3, 2023 By cleverkidsedu

Social studies in high school, also known as civics or history, is a subject that teaches students about the world around them. It covers topics such as government, economics, geography, and culture. This subject is essential for developing a well-rounded education and helps students understand their place in the world. The name of this subject may vary depending on the school district or country, but it is generally referred to as social studies in the United States. Through social studies, students learn how to be responsible citizens and make informed decisions.

Quick Answer:
In high school, social studies is typically referred to as “civics” or “government.” This subject area covers topics such as the structure and function of government, the rights and responsibilities of citizens, and the history and evolution of political systems. Social studies may also include study of economics, geography, and history. The goal of social studies education is to prepare students to be informed and engaged members of their communities and to understand the role of government in society.

Understanding the Terminology for Social Studies in High School

The Importance of Social Studies Education

The Importance of Social Studies Education cannot be overstated. Social studies is an essential subject that plays a crucial role in shaping the future of young individuals. The knowledge and skills acquired through social studies education have the potential to impact a student’s academic, personal, and professional life.

Here are some reasons why social studies education is so important:

  • Develops Critical Thinking Skills: Social studies education fosters critical thinking skills in students. By examining historical events, analyzing social issues, and exploring different cultures, students learn to evaluate evidence, consider multiple perspectives, and make informed decisions.
  • Promotes Cultural Awareness: Social studies education helps students understand and appreciate different cultures. By studying the customs, beliefs, and practices of various societies, students develop empathy, tolerance, and respect for diversity.
  • Builds Civic Engagement: Social studies education encourages students to become active and engaged citizens. By learning about government structures, democratic processes, and human rights, students develop a sense of responsibility and a desire to make a positive impact in their communities.
  • Enhances Communication Skills: Social studies education improves communication skills in students. By reading, writing, and discussing different viewpoints, students learn to express their ideas clearly and persuasively, listen actively, and engage in constructive dialogue.
  • Prepares for College and Career: Social studies education provides a strong foundation for higher education and future careers. By developing research skills, problem-solving abilities, and critical thinking, students are better prepared to succeed in college and in the workforce.

In conclusion, social studies education is crucial for developing well-rounded individuals who are knowledgeable, empathetic, engaged, and prepared for success in all aspects of life.

Different Names for Social Studies in High School

  • History: This subject focuses on the study of past events, people, and cultures. It encompasses a wide range of topics, including political, social, economic, and cultural developments. Students learn about the historical context of various events, the evolution of societies, and the development of different cultures.
  • Geography: Geography is the study of the physical features of the Earth, including its lands, oceans, climates, and populations. It also encompasses the study of human geography, which examines how people interact with the environment and each other. Students learn about different cultures, languages, religions, and political systems, as well as the ways in which people use and modify the Earth’s resources.
  • Civics: Civics is the study of government and the political process. It encompasses a wide range of topics, including the history and development of different political systems, the role of government in society, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens. Students learn about the different branches of government, the legislative process, and the role of the judiciary.
  • Government: Government is a branch of social studies that focuses on the study of different types of governments and the political process. It encompasses a wide range of topics, including the history and development of different political systems, the role of government in society, and the rights and responsibilities of citizens. Students learn about the different branches of government, the legislative process, and the role of the judiciary.
  • Economics: Economics is the study of how societies produce, distribute, and consume goods and services. It encompasses a wide range of topics, including microeconomics, macroeconomics, and international trade. Students learn about the different types of economies, the role of markets, and the factors that influence economic decision-making.
  • Sociology: Sociology is the study of human social behavior and society. It encompasses a wide range of topics, including social inequality, social change, and social interactions. Students learn about the different types of social structures, the role of institutions, and the impact of social forces on individuals and society.
  • Anthropology: Anthropology is the study of humanity, including its history, culture, and biology. It encompasses a wide range of topics, including archaeology, linguistics, and cultural anthropology. Students learn about the different cultures and societies that have existed throughout history, as well as the ways in which different cultures interact with each other.
    * Cultural Studies: Cultural studies is the study of the cultural aspects of society, including its beliefs, values, and practices. It encompasses a wide range of topics, including media studies, popular culture, and cultural identity. Students learn about the ways in which culture shapes individuals and society, as well as the ways in which individuals and groups create and interpret cultural meanings.

The Evolution of Social Studies Terminology

In the past, social studies was commonly referred to as “civics” or “history.” However, over time, the term “social studies” became more widely used to encompass a broader range of subjects, including history, geography, economics, and government.

One reason for the shift in terminology was the recognition that these subjects were not just isolated disciplines, but rather interconnected and interdependent. For example, understanding the history of a region is important for understanding its current political and economic situation.

Another factor in the evolution of social studies terminology was the recognition that these subjects were not just about memorizing facts and dates, but rather about developing critical thinking skills and understanding the world around us. This led to a greater emphasis on hands-on learning, inquiry-based projects, and student-led investigations.

Today, social studies in high school is typically referred to as “social studies” or “history and social studies,” with some schools using more specific names like “humanities” or “civics and government.” Regardless of the name, the goal of social studies education remains the same: to help students understand the world they live in and their place within it.

Regional Variations in Social Studies Terminology

While social studies is the commonly used term for the subject in many parts of the United States, it is not universally applied. In some regions, different terms are used to refer to the subject.

  • In New York State, for example, social studies is referred to as “Global History and Geography.”
  • In California, the subject is called “History-Social Science.”
  • In Texas, it is known as “World Geography and Cultures,” “United States History,” and “Economics.”

These variations in terminology reflect the differing approaches to teaching social studies in different regions and states. While the core concepts of the subject remain the same, the specific names and focuses of the classes can vary significantly.

The Impact of Curriculum Standards on Social Studies Terminology

In the United States, high school social studies classes are typically referred to as “Social Studies” or “History and Social Studies.” However, the specific terminology used can vary depending on the state and school district. This variation is often influenced by the curriculum standards set forth by state boards of education.

Curriculum standards for social studies in high school are typically designed to ensure that students have a broad understanding of history, government, geography, and economics. These standards may also include specific requirements for the content that must be covered in each course, as well as the skills and knowledge that students are expected to acquire.

For example, the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) has developed a set of standards for social studies education that are widely used in the United States. These standards, known as the “C3 Framework,” provide a set of guidelines for the content and skills that should be included in social studies classes at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

The C3 Framework includes a set of “Inquiry Arc” concepts that are designed to help students develop their critical thinking and analytical skills. These concepts include:

  • Asking questions and identifying problems
  • Developing and using multiple perspectives
  • Gathering and evaluating sources
  • Synthesizing information
  • Creating and presenting evidence-based arguments

In addition to these concepts, the C3 Framework also includes a set of “Disciplinary Concepts” that are specific to each subject area within social studies. For example, the “History” discipline concept includes a focus on chronological thinking, historical analysis, and continuity and change over time.

Overall, the specific terminology used for high school social studies classes can vary depending on the state and school district, but the content and skills covered in these classes are often guided by curriculum standards like the C3 Framework.

Exploring the Core Subjects of Social Studies in High School

Key takeaway: Social studies education is crucial in shaping the future of young individuals by developing critical thinking skills, promoting cultural awareness, building civic engagement, enhancing communication skills, and preparing students for college and career. The subject covers different branches such as history, geography, civics, government, economics, sociology, anthropology, and cultural studies. The terminology used for social studies in high school may vary depending on the state or region, but the core concepts remain the same.

History: Uncovering the Past

Chronological study of events

In history class, students delve into the chronological sequence of significant events that have shaped the world. This involves studying the causes and effects of these events, as well as their impact on society. By examining historical events in the order in which they occurred, students gain a deeper understanding of the progression of human societies and the factors that have influenced their development.

Analyzing primary and secondary sources

An essential aspect of studying history is the analysis of primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are original documents or artifacts that provide firsthand accounts of historical events, such as letters, diaries, photographs, and newspapers. Secondary sources, on the other hand, are works that interpret or analyze primary sources, such as textbooks, scholarly articles, and historiographical studies. By learning to critically analyze these sources, students develop critical thinking skills and gain a more comprehensive understanding of historical events.

Examining historical perspectives

A crucial component of studying history is considering different perspectives on historical events. This involves examining the viewpoints of various individuals and groups involved in the events, as well as the social, political, and cultural contexts that shaped their perspectives. By exploring these perspectives, students learn to appreciate the complexities of historical events and develop a more nuanced understanding of the past. Additionally, this approach fosters empathy and encourages students to consider how historical events continue to influence the present.

Geography: Understanding the World

Physical Geography

Physical geography is a branch of geography that focuses on the natural features of the Earth’s surface, including landforms, climate, and natural resources. In high school social studies classes, students learn about the Earth’s physical features, including mountains, valleys, deserts, oceans, and other natural formations. They also study the effects of climate on different regions and the impact of natural disasters on human populations.

Human Geography

Human geography is a branch of geography that focuses on the relationships between humans and their environment. In high school social studies classes, students learn about the ways in which humans interact with the physical environment, including the impact of urbanization, industrialization, and agriculture on the Earth’s surface. They also study the cultural and social aspects of human geography, including population distribution, migration patterns, and cultural diversity.

Cultural Geography

Cultural geography is a branch of geography that focuses on the cultural aspects of human societies. In high school social studies classes, students learn about the cultural practices, beliefs, and traditions of different societies around the world. They also study the ways in which culture influences the distribution of populations, the development of cities and towns, and the formation of political and economic systems.

Geospatial Technology

Geospatial technology is a field of study that involves the use of computer software and other technologies to analyze and interpret geographic data. In high school social studies classes, students learn how to use geospatial technology to analyze maps, satellite imagery, and other geographic data to better understand the world around them. They also learn how to use geospatial technology to analyze social and economic data, including population distribution, economic activity, and political systems.

Civics and Government: Navigating Democracy

Structure and Functions of Government

The study of government involves understanding the various branches and levels of government, including local, state, and national governments. Students will learn about the different roles and responsibilities of government officials, such as elected representatives and appointed officials. Additionally, students will explore the different forms of government, including democracies, dictatorships, and monarchies.

Rights, Responsibilities, and Citizenship

An important aspect of civics and government is understanding the rights and responsibilities of citizens. Students will learn about the various rights and freedoms guaranteed by their government, such as freedom of speech and religion, and the right to a fair trial. They will also learn about their responsibilities as citizens, such as paying taxes and voting in elections. Additionally, students will explore the concept of citizenship, including the privileges and obligations that come with being a citizen.

Political Systems and Ideologies

Civics and government also involves the study of different political systems and ideologies. Students will learn about the various types of political systems, such as democracies, authoritarian regimes, and totalitarian states. They will also explore different political ideologies, such as liberalism, conservatism, and socialism. Through this study, students will gain a better understanding of the different perspectives and approaches to governance.

Participatory Democracy

In addition to learning about the structure and functions of government, civics and government also involves the study of participatory democracy. Students will learn about the various ways in which citizens can participate in the democratic process, such as through voting, running for office, and participating in advocacy groups. They will also explore the importance of civic engagement and the role that citizens play in shaping public policy.

Economics: Examining Financial Systems

In high school social studies, the subject of economics plays a significant role in providing students with a comprehensive understanding of financial systems. The study of economics in social studies aims to teach students about the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services in various societies. Here are some key topics that are typically covered in an economics course in high school social studies:

  • Basic economic concepts: The first step in studying economics is to understand basic economic concepts such as scarcity, opportunity cost, and trade-offs. These concepts form the foundation for understanding how individuals, businesses, and governments make decisions about resource allocation.
  • Market and mixed economies: Another important topic in economics is the comparison of market and mixed economies. In a market economy, decisions about production and distribution are made by private individuals and businesses. In contrast, a mixed economy combines elements of both market and command economies, with the government playing a significant role in regulating and controlling certain aspects of the economy.
  • Supply and demand: Supply and demand is a fundamental concept in economics that explains how the price of a product or service is determined by the relationship between the quantity that producers are willing to supply and the quantity that consumers are willing to demand. Students learn how to analyze graphs and tables that show the relationship between supply and demand, and how to use this information to predict future prices and make informed decisions.
  • Personal finance: Finally, economics courses in high school social studies often include a section on personal finance, which teaches students how to manage their own finances and make informed decisions about spending, saving, and investing. Topics covered may include budgeting, saving for retirement, managing credit, and making informed decisions about insurance and other financial products.

Sociology: Studying Society and Human Behavior

In high school social studies curriculum, sociology is one of the core subjects that focuses on studying society and human behavior. It is a systematic study of human social behavior, social interactions, and social relationships. The subject of sociology in high school social studies aims to help students understand how society works, how people interact with each other, and how social institutions shape human behavior.

The study of sociology in high school social studies encompasses various aspects, including:

  • Social structures and institutions: Sociology helps students understand the social structures and institutions that shape human behavior. These structures and institutions include family, education, religion, government, and economy. Students learn how these institutions affect individuals and how individuals shape these institutions in turn.
  • Socialization and identity: Sociology also examines the process of socialization and the formation of identity. Students learn how individuals are socialized into different cultures, societies, and communities and how these socializations shape their identities. The subject also explores the concept of social roles and how they are performed in different contexts.
  • Social inequality: Another important aspect of sociology is the study of social inequality. Students learn about the various forms of inequality, such as economic, racial, gender, and class inequality, and how they affect different groups of people. The subject also examines how social inequality is perpetuated and how it can be addressed.
  • Social change: Sociology also looks at how societies change over time. Students learn about different types of social change, such as revolutions, evolutions, and reforms, and how they shape societies. The subject also explores the factors that drive social change, such as technological advancements, globalization, and cultural shifts.

In conclusion, sociology is an important subject in high school social studies that helps students understand society and human behavior. By studying sociology, students can gain a better understanding of the world around them and develop critical thinking skills that can help them navigate the complexities of modern society.

Anthropology: Exploring Human Cultures

Anthropology is a branch of social studies that deals with the study of human cultures, both past and present. It encompasses a wide range of topics, including cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and biological anthropology.

Cultural Anthropology

Cultural anthropology is the study of human cultures and societies, focusing on the patterns of behavior, beliefs, and institutions that characterize them. This includes the study of language, religion, art, politics, and social structures. Cultural anthropologists often conduct fieldwork, living among the people they study to gain a deeper understanding of their daily lives and social practices.

Archaeology

Archaeology is the study of human cultures through the examination of material remains, such as artifacts and structures. This includes the study of ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, as well as the study of more recent historical periods. Archaeologists use a variety of techniques, including excavation, dating, and analysis, to reconstruct the past and understand the evolution of human societies.

Linguistics

Linguistics is the study of language, including its structure, development, and use. This includes the study of the sounds, words, and grammar of languages, as well as the social and cultural factors that influence language use. Linguists use a variety of methods, including corpus analysis, experimental research, and theoretical modeling, to understand the complexities of language and its role in human communication.

Biological Anthropology

Biological anthropology is the study of the biological and evolutionary aspects of human cultures. This includes the study of human evolution, genetics, and biological variation, as well as the study of non-human primates and other animal species. Biological anthropologists use a variety of techniques, including comparative anatomy, molecular biology, and ecology, to understand the biological basis of human behavior and cultural diversity.

The Integration of Social Studies in High School Education

Interdisciplinary Approaches to Social Studies

Interdisciplinary approaches to social studies in high school education involve integrating the subject with other academic disciplines such as language arts, math, and science. This integration enhances students’ understanding of social studies by providing them with a broader perspective on the subject matter. The following are some of the interdisciplinary approaches to social studies:

Project-based learning

Project-based learning is an approach that involves students in a hands-on learning experience. In social studies, students can work on projects that require them to apply their knowledge of history, geography, economics, and other related subjects. For example, students can conduct research on a historical event and create a multimedia presentation to share their findings with the class.

Collaborative activities

Collaborative activities are designed to encourage students to work together as a team. In social studies, this can involve group projects, debates, and discussions. Students can work together to develop a proposal for a community service project, research a local issue, or design a mock trial based on a historical event.

By incorporating interdisciplinary approaches to social studies, high school students can develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter. They can also learn how to apply their knowledge to real-world situations and develop skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration.

Technology and Social Studies Education

Technology has become an integral part of modern education, and social studies are no exception. In recent years, there has been a growing trend of incorporating technology into social studies education. Here are some ways technology is being used to enhance social studies education:

  • Online resources and digital tools: The internet is a vast resource of information that can be used to supplement social studies education. Online resources such as websites, blogs, and educational videos can provide students with additional information on historical events, cultures, and societies. Digital tools such as Google Earth can be used to create interactive maps and 3D models of historical sites and landmarks.
  • Virtual field trips and simulations: Virtual field trips and simulations are a great way to take students on a journey to different parts of the world without leaving the classroom. Students can visit museums, historical sites, and even different countries through virtual reality technology. This not only provides a unique learning experience but also helps students develop a deeper understanding of different cultures and societies.
    * Data analysis and visualization: Social studies often involve the collection and analysis of data. Technology has made it easier for students to collect and analyze data through tools such as spreadsheets and data visualization software. This helps students develop critical thinking skills and makes learning more engaging and interactive.

Overall, technology has greatly enhanced social studies education by providing students with access to a wealth of information and resources. It has also made learning more interactive and engaging, which can lead to a more positive and effective learning experience.

Addressing Controversial Topics in Social Studies

  • Diversity and Inclusion
    • Exploring the diverse backgrounds and experiences of students and how they contribute to the classroom environment.
    • Discussing how cultural differences shape perspectives and understanding of historical events.
  • Social Justice Issues
    • Analyzing current events and social movements through a historical and critical lens.
    • Investigating the role of individuals and institutions in shaping social justice outcomes.
  • Historical Perspectives and Debates
    • Evaluating multiple perspectives on historical events and their significance.
    • Engaging in debates and discussions that foster critical thinking and informed decision-making.

The Future of Social Studies Education

Adapting to a Changing World

As the world continues to evolve, social studies education must also adapt to ensure that students are prepared to navigate and thrive in an ever-changing landscape. One of the primary areas of focus for social studies educators is addressing the following:

  • Globalization and interconnectedness: The world is becoming increasingly interconnected, and students must be equipped with the knowledge and skills to navigate these global connections. This includes understanding different cultures, histories, and perspectives, as well as the impact of globalization on economic, political, and social systems.
  • Technological advancements: Rapid technological advancements have transformed the way we live, work, and communicate. Social studies education must incorporate these technologies into the curriculum to prepare students for the digital age. This includes teaching students how to critically evaluate information found online, how to use technology to solve problems, and how to collaborate effectively in a digital world.
  • Environmental challenges: The world is facing numerous environmental challenges, including climate change, resource depletion, and environmental degradation. Social studies education must incorporate these issues into the curriculum to prepare students to be active and engaged citizens who can address these challenges. This includes teaching students about the science of climate change, the impact of human activity on the environment, and potential solutions to environmental problems.

Overall, social studies education must continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of society. By focusing on globalization, technological advancements, and environmental challenges, educators can ensure that students are prepared to navigate and thrive in an ever-changing world.

Promoting Critical Thinking and Active Citizenship

In the current era, the social studies curriculum in high schools is undergoing a shift towards promoting critical thinking and active citizenship. This approach is geared towards equipping students with the necessary skills to navigate the complexities of contemporary society and engage in meaningful civic participation. The following are some of the key areas of focus in this regard:

Analytical skills

One of the critical aspects of promoting critical thinking in social studies education is the development of analytical skills. This involves teaching students how to analyze information from various sources, including texts, images, and multimedia content. Students are encouraged to evaluate the credibility of sources, identify biases, and make connections between different pieces of information. This approach enables students to develop a critical mindset that is essential for navigating the information age.

Media literacy

Another crucial aspect of promoting critical thinking in social studies education is media literacy. This involves teaching students how to critically evaluate media content, including news articles, social media posts, and advertisements. Students are taught to identify the various ways in which media can shape public opinion and influence behavior. This knowledge is essential for promoting active citizenship, as it enables students to make informed decisions about the issues that affect their lives.

Civic engagement

Promoting critical thinking and active citizenship in social studies education also involves encouraging students to engage in civic activities. This can include participating in community service, volunteering, and engaging in political activism. By participating in these activities, students develop a sense of civic responsibility and learn how to make a positive impact on their communities. This approach also helps to foster a sense of empathy and understanding of different perspectives, which is essential for building a more inclusive and just society.

Overall, the future of social studies education in high schools is focused on promoting critical thinking and active citizenship. By developing analytical skills, media literacy, and civic engagement, students are equipped with the necessary tools to navigate the complexities of contemporary society and engage in meaningful civic participation.

Embracing Diversity and Inclusion

  • Multicultural education
  • LGBTQ+ history and rights
  • Indigenous perspectives

Multicultural education is an approach to teaching that acknowledges and values the diverse backgrounds of students in the classroom. This approach seeks to create a more inclusive learning environment by incorporating the experiences and perspectives of students from different cultures, races, ethnicities, and languages. The goal of multicultural education is to promote understanding, respect, and appreciation for diversity among students, and to help them develop the skills necessary to navigate and succeed in a globalized world.

LGBTQ+ history and rights are becoming increasingly important topics in social studies education. LGBTQ+ individuals have faced discrimination and marginalization throughout history, and it is important for students to understand the impact of these experiences on the LGBTQ+ community. By including LGBTQ+ history and rights in the curriculum, educators can help students develop empathy and understanding for people who are different from themselves, and promote a more inclusive and accepting society.

Indigenous perspectives are also gaining recognition in social studies education. Indigenous peoples have unique cultures, histories, and knowledge systems that have been passed down through generations. By incorporating Indigenous perspectives into the curriculum, educators can help students learn about the diverse cultures and histories of Indigenous peoples, and develop a deeper understanding of the impact of colonization and other forms of oppression on Indigenous communities. This approach can also help to promote respect and appreciation for Indigenous cultures, and foster a more inclusive and equitable society.

FAQs

1. What is the difference between social studies and history in high school?

Social studies and history are two distinct subjects that are often taught together in high school. Social studies cover a broader range of topics that include history, geography, economics, and politics, while history primarily focuses on the study of past events and the impact they have had on society. In high school, social studies may be referred to as history and geography, world history, or civics and government, depending on the school’s curriculum.

2. What are the different topics covered in social studies in high school?

Social studies in high school typically cover a wide range of topics, including history, geography, economics, politics, sociology, anthropology, and psychology. Students may learn about different cultures, religions, and social movements throughout history, as well as current events and issues that affect society. The curriculum may also include studies on government systems, democracy, human rights, and globalization. The specific topics covered in social studies may vary depending on the school’s curriculum and the student’s grade level.

3. Why is social studies important in high school?

Social studies are important in high school because they help students develop a deeper understanding of the world around them. By studying history, geography, economics, politics, and other social sciences, students can gain insight into how societies function, how cultures differ, and how past events have shaped the present. Social studies also help students develop critical thinking and analytical skills, as well as improve their research and writing abilities. Moreover, social studies provide students with a broader perspective on the world, enabling them to become more informed and engaged citizens.

10th Grade ELA/Social Studies