course outline/class syllabus



Name of course: American Studies Name of Textbook: Magruder's American Government & We the People Instructor: Mrs. Laura Rousseau (N208)

Description of Course

: This is a survey course designed to study the philosophical and historical origins of our democracy in a free society. Students will study how the United States democratic government came into existence, why it took the form that it did, and how is has functioned for more than 200 years. Emphasis will be placed on why our democracy works and how it differs from other forms of government. Economics and other factors that have influenced the growth and development of our nation will be addressed.

I. Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, the student should: 1. Analyze the relationship of the political process to the individual as a citizen of the state and the nation. A. Identify the historical and philosophical development of the government as an institution. B. Evaluate the impact of government on the lives of the citizens of the U.S. and how citizens can effect change in local, state and national government. C. Analyze the characteristics and functions of political parties in the U.S. from their inception to the present. 2. Identify and explain the rights and responsibilities of citizens of the U.S. 3. Describe the characteristics of local, state and national governments and how they compare to other governments. A. Analyze the U.S. Constitution, the documents which preceded its adoption and the evolving interpretations of the Constitution. B. Explain the role of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government at the federal, state and local levels. C. Explain the concept of separation of powers, including checks and balances and its importance in a democratic system. 4. Analyze the political and electoral processes of the U.S. 5. Analyze the historical development of the U.S. economic system. A. Trace the growth of industry in the U.S. B. Describe the historical effects of the business cycle upon the economy. 6. Analyze the economics beliefs that served as a foundation for the development of the economic system of the U.S. and analyze the role of the government in the economy. 7. Describe major features of the modified market economy. A. Assess how the forces of supply and demand interact to determine the prices of goods and services. Explain how money is used as a medium of exchange. 8. Describe the results of economic choices using economic situations involved in everyday life and illustrate a citizen's role in society as both producer and a consumer. 9. Examine the effects of international economic policies upon the economy of the U.S. A. Explain the benefits and problems of international trade. B. Define and analyze major economic systems of the world.

II. Materials to be used (in addition to textbooks)

Photocopied articles, editorials, charts, posters, maps, cartoons, etc. will be utilized in addition to the text.

III. Materials Needed

1. One binder (1inch) 2. loose leaf college-ruled paper 3. dividers 4. 2 Packages of 3 x 5 note cards 5. Writing Utensils; blue or black pens, pencils 6. A box of Kleenex (not required but greatly appreciated)


Lecture/discussion format will be the primary instructional method. The students will be able to participate in group activities and many group discussions. Staying updated with current issues will also be beneficial to students. Student-initiated/ teacher-approved projects are possible for potential extra points.

V. Instructional Methods Appropriate Dates of Major Assignments or Exams

There will be quizzes, usually weekly, over material discussed in class and/ or the text, and chapter test approximately in two week intervals. There will be nine week exams and a semester exams as scheduled.

VI. Student Activities:

There will be approximately eighteen daily grades per nine-week period of which the majority can be worked on in class but will require homework if the student needs extra time to complete the assignment. Homework will consist of studying notes taken during class, or finishing class work assignments, reading newspapers, watching the news or listening to the news on the radio for extra points.

assignment grade is reduced by 25%. I will not accept late work after that point unless under extreme situations.

Students will be responsible for getting their make-up work and getting it in at the appropriate time relating to the student handbook.

STUDENT BINDERS My policy on late work is one day after the assignment was due the

Students will be required to maintain a three-ring binder containing various materials generated by both instructor and students. Students will retain their journal entries that will be checked periodically. Grades for binders will be greater than daily assignments therefore; it is crucial that students maintain well organized binders and bring them to class every day.

VII. Expectations for Student Conduct:



-Every student is expected to be present in class unless ill or on an excused student activity. In accordance with district policy, and stated in the student handbook, any student with eleven unexcused absences will receive no credit for the course. The tardy policy is as follows; every two tardies equals one absence. B.


- Each student should behave according to school policies and general classroom expectations.


Class Participation

-Students are expected to participate in class discussion by volunteering opinions, asking questions, and responding when called upon. Common courtesy will be observed. Students are encouraged to ask questions and /or challenge statements or opinions expressed by the teacher or another student, but in a polite and informed manner. D.

Preparation for class

ready to work. -Each student is expected to come to class prompt and prepared with their book, pencil or pen, and paper everyday. Be in the room when the bell rings

VIII. Evaluation of Student Progress

In accordance with the Moore School District guideline concerning grading, the following grading scale will be used I will grade from a total cumulative point system. I will give students opportunities to make extra points during the specific times during the semester. I do not curve assignments or test. Class work accounts for 80% of the total grade with the nine weeks test accounting for 5% and 15% for the semester final. 90-100 A 80-89 B 70-79 C 60-69 D 59 and below F


: Please sign your syllabus acknowledging that you have reviewed and understand the above listed concepts and policies. This must be kept at the front of your binder at all times! Student Signature: ___________________________________ Date: ______________ Parent Signature: ____________________________________ Date: ______________