World Studies

Mr. Steven Maher

635-9075 ext. 226


Office Hours

Before or after school by appointment


Course Description

Beginning with an examination of the growth and impact of the Enlightenment of Western Europe in the eighteenth century, the chronological organization of World Studies proceeds through historical developments such as Imperialization, Industrialization, and the World Wars of the twentieth century.  Specific attention will spotlight the impact of these developments on Latin America, Africa and Asia.  The course concludes with an assessment of the post-Cold War condition of current world events.  Although organized like a history course, World Studies focuses on developing critical-thinking and reasoning skills while utilizing social studies perspectives of history, economics, sociology, psychology, political science and geography.  Lessons and learning objectives are also designed to enhance students’ abilities to gather information through reading, interpretation of graphs, charts and maps and to communicate reasoned conclusions through effective writing, historical debates and simulations.

 Instructional Materials

 --Textbook -  World History: Connections to Today  (Prentice Hall)

 --Technology – this course utilizes the latest learning communication and information tools to provide students with essential skills for the 21st century.  Students can expect the majority of their homework to involve activities in online environments and include blogs, wikis and forum discussions.  Accommodations will be made for any students with limited access. 

 Course Organization 

World Studies consists of twelve units, each of which will be introduced with a Unit Outline that sets forth a schedule of assignments, lesson plans and class activities.  A wide variety of activities will be employed in World Studies.  Students can expect to participate in cooperative projects that may include oral presentations, simulations and role playing.  Students are also required to participate in small and large group class discussions (thoughtful and active participation comprise part of the grade).  Traditional lectures and teacher presentations enhanced with teacher-created media will also be a part of the curriculum.  Videotapes, cartoons, maps, paintings, music and films will be used in conjunction with conventional social studies assignments.

 Homework is an integral part of World Studies, students can expect to spend between five and seven hours a week working on this class.


Grades are calculated on a point system.  Typical quarter grades may consist of approximately four test grades, five quiz grades, a notebook grade and fifteen homework assignments.

Class Policies

 The policies of this class are consistent with the policies of Chatham High as set forth in the student handbook.  Parents and students are strongly advised to review these policies at the beginning of the school year.


Students are responsible for all material and work missed due to an absence.  Mr. Maher will make every effort to ensure that this information is available for students who legitimately miss class.  Students absent on a due date must take the test or submit the project on the first day of their return to school.  Policies regarding make-up work and withdrawal of credit due to excessive absences are the same as those set forth in the student handbook. 

Honor Code:

All students will be expected to do their own work, plagiarism and cheating is absolutely unacceptable.  The definition of what amounts to cheating and the disciplinary code of action outlined in the student handbook will be followed verbatim.  Plagiarized assignments will receive a grade of zero, they may not be re-done or made-up in any way. 


Social studies courses involve the presentation and exchange of views and opinions on controversial topics.  All students and Mr. Maher will make every effort to insure that students feel physically and intellectually comfortable and safe in class.  The mutual respect and responsible behavior necessary for the creation of an effective learning environment will be maintained by an equitable, consistent and vigorous policy of discipline consistent with the Code of Conduct of Chatham High. 

Students should be aware that class polices apply to both the classroom and the online learning environment. 


Positive student experience in any course requires the efforts and cooperation of teachers, students and parents.  Mr. Maher will make every effort to insure that students and parents are apprised of student performance.  Parents are strongly encouraged to direct any questions concerning the course or their child’s performance to Mr. Maher at (635-9075 ext. 226) or

Students should not hesitate to ask Mr. Maher about any concerns they may have concerning World Studies.  If extra assistance is required, time will made outside of class to make every effort insure that each student has the opportunity to succeed. 

All of the administrative material for this course is available at the course web site.  Students are encouraged to visit the site often for course announcements, homework assignments, unit outlines, and links to useful resources on the Internet.

Course Objectives


At the conclusion of this course, students should be able to:


  • Define and explain the significance of social studies terms, such as absolute monarchy, Social Darwinism, totalitarianism, genocide, social and political revolution, industrial revolution, Cold War, Imperialism, etc.
  • Recognize the impact of major social, political and economic revolutions and the world wars
  • State their own informed position concerning contemporary issues


Analysis and Interpretive Skills 

  • Identify details and main ideas; make generalization and inferences; support generalizations with facts
  • Classify information, summarize, paraphrase, compare
  • Compare beliefs and interpret point of view
  • Identify cause and effect
  • Recognize bias and analyze propaganda
  • Distinguish between fact and opinion
  • Identify trends and make forecasts
  • Identify the values of a culture
  • Analyze primary and secondary sources and use reference works
  • Analyze photographs, editorial cartoons, and other visual aids
  • Interpret historical documents and bibliographic accounts
  • Determine the reliability of a source
  • Analyze art as a primary resource

Academic Skills 

  • Take notes from books, resource materials, lectures, films, overhead transparacenies
  • Read, create and use time lines
  • Prepare a thesis essay that clearly expresses and supports a viewpoint
  • Read thematic maps, and label maps accurately and neatly
  • Make connections between geography and historical events
  • Develop a respect for different ethnic groups and cultures
  • Develop an awareness of community and world events
  • Become cognizant of their responsibilities to themselves, others, family, school, community and country

 Technology Skills

  • Research and evaluate the accuracy, relevance, appropriateness, comprehensiveness, and bias of electronic information sources.
  • Create an organized file library of bookmarks to internet resources.
  • Design, develop, publish, and present products (e.g., Web pages, podcasts and videos) using technology resources that demonstrate and communicate curriculum concepts to audiences inside and outside the classroom.
  • Collaborate with peers, experts, and others using telecommunications and collaborative tools to investigate curriculum-related problems, issues, and information, and to develop solutions or products for audiences inside and outside the classroom.