Course Description

This course is centered around four academic areas of the social sciences: history, political science, economics, geography, and human behavior. Stressed in this course are the reading and study skills, history, geography, political science, anthropology, psychology, and economics. This course is a strong introduction to the areas of study in the social sciences, and will lay the foundation for other courses in the department.



Placement by department dean


Class Level



1 Year/1 Credit

GPA Level



Required Learning Materials

  • Textbook – Introduction to Social Sciences by John Jay Bonstingl
  • Work Book – Mastering Social Studies Skills, 3rd Ed. By Gerard J. Pelisson
  • Notebook – Students are expected to take notes when necessary and use notebook for StartUp assignments
  • Blue or Black ink pen
  • Folder – To accumulate homework, quizzes, and test
      • Hold on to assignments to keep track of credit
      • Use old assignments to study and prepare for future tests, quizzes, and homework assignments
  • Looseleaf paper – Assignments must be turned in on looseleaf, not torn out notebook pages



Quizzes, tests, projects, participation in discussion, group work, StartUps, and essays


Course Goals and Learner Outcomes:

GOAL ONE: Locate, describe, and explain places, regions and features on the Earth (ISBE 17A)

Learner Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of world geography and the effects of geography on society, with an emphasis on the United States.
  • Create, interpret, use, and distinguish various representations of the Earth, such as maps, globes, and photographs.
  • Describe/Explain events, trend, individuals, and movements shaping the history of the United States and other nations.
  • Analyze a particular event to identify reasons individuals might respond to it in different ways.


GOAL TWO: Understand the structures and functions of the political systems of Illinois, the United States and other nations (ISBE 14B)

Learner Outcomes:

  • Explain purposes of government and analyze how its powers are acquired, used, and justified.
  • Compare different political systems, their ideologies, structures, institutions, processes, and political cultures with that of the United States.
  • Discuss the cause and effect relationship between government and its citizens.


GOAL THREE: Understand how different economic systems operate in the exchange, production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services (ISBE 15A). Understand that scarcity necessitates choices by consumers (ISBE 15B).

Learner Outcomes:

  • Create a budge, balance a checkbook, calculate credit cost, and compare the quality and cost of like items for unit pricing.
  • Identify and explain basic economic questions and how they apply in a free enterprise economy.
  • Differentiate between wants and needs, both economical and sociological.


GOAL FOUR: Understand the roles and interactions of individuals and groups in society (ISBE 18B). Understand how social systems form and develop over time (ISBE 18C).

Learner Outcomes:

  • Discuss various psychological and sociological processes as they affect the individual and society.
  • Describe and compare how people create places that reflect culture, human needs, government, values, and ideals.
  • Summarize how role, status, and social class affect individual, group, and institutional interactions.


GOAL FIVE: Apply the skills of historical analysis and interpretation (ISBE 16A).

Learner Outcomes:

  • Evaluate the validity and credibility of historical interpretations.


Skill based Learner Outcomes:

  • Critical Thinking – Interpret and integrate detail in a text in order to verify or contradict a specific point made by an author.
  • Reading Comprehension – Develop a reasonable interpretation of the central themes or main points made by an author
  • Note Taking – Summarize basic events and ideas in challenging passages.
  • Compare and Contrast – Interpret and integrate details in the test in order to verify or contradict a specific point made by the author in reference to people, objects, events, and ideas.
  • Sequence of Events – Order sequences of events and discuss how altering the sequence would likely change the outcome or actions of the participants

Course Outline:


1st Quarter

Critical Thinking and Study Skills in History

  • Students should be able to:
    • Learning to think critically about the historical events of WWII
    • Identify the central issues in WWII
    • Compare/Contrast people, places, and concepts in WWII
    • Distinguish between fact, opinions, and inferences in WWII
    • Differentiate between false and accurate images in WWII
    • Determine cause and effect in different aspects of WWII
    • How to organize time, class materials, and how to study for social science
    • How to effectively take notes and outline readings in history and social science


2nd Quarter

Political Science and Economics

  • Students should be able to:
    • Compare different governments
    • Understand a political spectrum
    • Comprehend the government of the United States & its Constitution
    • Understand the key concepts politicians use in running a political campaign
    • Understand supply and demand
    • Graph a supply and demand schedule
    • Identify different types of economies
    • Recognize the role of money in an economy


3rd Quarter


  • Students should be able to:
    • Identify locations on a map quiz of every continent, the United States, and the world
    • Read and interpret maps and globes
    • Determine latitude and longitude
    • Understand the Five Themes of Geography

4th Quarter

Behavioral Sciences (Anthropology and Psychology)

  • Students should be able to:
    • Understand the role of culture in society
    • Become familiar with basic anthropological terms and concepts
    • Explain cultural differences found in the world
    • Take a culturally relativist approach in assessing Western culture
    • Identify with institutions such as family, education, government, and religion
    • Differentiate between perception and learning
    • Comprehend human development
    • Understand basic concepts in psychology