Social Science Courses - Waterloo Community School District


Course Descriptions for Social Studies

Laws, Order, and Society

(Grades 10-12)

Do you like watching crime shows or police dramas? Are you a fan of Law and Order? What about Law and Order SVU,

Criminal Intent? Do you like CSI or NCIS? If you answered yes to any of the questions then this is the class for you. In this class, students will learn about crimes, police officers, investigations, trials, and sentencing those convicted.

Students have many opportunities to work in groups to discuss different cases and legal situations. Projects students have completed in the past include: solving a crime, writing a police report, performing forensic tests, participating in a mock trial, creating an ideal prison, and serving on a task force to help reduce different types of crime. Students who want a fun elective or who are interested in a career in the legal field should definitely sign up for the class.

Arab-Israeli Conflict

(Grades 11-12, some grade 10)

Have you ever wanted to run your own country? Plan a nuclear war? Take over the world perhaps? Bring countries together to solve problems and make peace? Then Arab-Israeli Conflict is just the class for you. In this class, you will learn about the history behind the Middle East and spontaneous events across the world.

You will learn about all of the key elements in controlling your own country. Playing the part of a current world leader, you will arrange military personnel, form secret alliances with other countries, and stop at nothing to see that your country succeeds in their journey throughout this simulation. From action forms to press releases, you can change the course of the simulation with just one click of a button. The future of the world is at your very fingertips with Arab-Israeli Conflict.

International Relations

(Grades 10-12)

If you have a sense of adventure, like solving problems, enjoy learning about other countries/cultures, and would like to travel or work internationally someday, then this is the class for you. Investigate international careers and solve major problems facing the world including: chemical weapons, nuclear weapons, environmental catastrophes, the Syrian Civil, abuse of women, massive epidemics, and the rights of the disabled. You will be transformed into a delegate representing countries from around the world, as you attempt to beg, borrow, and deal (steal?) for your country. In

April, attend the Model United Nations conference at UNI with others in your class, as you put all of your plans into action. You will work face-to-face with likeminded delegates from across the state of Iowa.

Behavioral Psychology

(Grades 11-12)

Are you a good listener? Have you ever helped a friend with a problem? Have you ever known someone with a mental health problem? If you have, then this is the class for you. In Behavioral Psychology, students will have an opportunity to study mental illnesses. From eating disorders, to schizophrenia, to depression, to violent crimes committed by serial killers, Behavioral Psychology allows you to study why people have problems and how best to treat them. Take on the role of a psychologist or psychiatrist as you are given your own patient to diagnose and treat. This class will give you a better understanding of mental illnesses and also make you more empathetic to those with mental illnesses. Not only will this help prepare you for a career in psychology/psychiatry, but having a good understanding of people and their mental health problems is an asset in any career and personal relationships.


(Grades 11-12)

Does hypnosis really work? How can you tell if someone is really in a trance or just faking it? What are your dreams like? Do you dream in black & white or color? Have you ever had a dream in which you’re falling? When someone is told they have a deadly disease, what stages of grief do they go through? What happens to the physical body during the last days/hours of life? Do you know what “death talk” is? Did you know that 1 in 2,000 people are born with physical characteristics of BOTH males and females? Do you know what it means to be a “right-brain” person or a “left-brain” person and which one you are? How can someone survive after doctors remove half of their brain? These are just some of the topics covered in high school psychology. Most people associate psychology with psychologists and the treatment of individuals with emotional or mental health problems. However, there are many careers in psychology and we examine them during the first few weeks of class. Even if you’re not interested in becoming a psychologist, having a good understanding of the human mind and behavior will serve you well in any career. Psychology is about the connection between the mind, the body, and why people think, feel, and act as they do.


(Grades 11-12)

Why do some people commit crimes while others don’t? What can be done about poverty and inequality in the United

States? Should sports team with Indian mascots be allowed? Why is it considered normal to eat puppies in some parts of the world? If you are fascinated by the behavior of others and why we act the way we do, then sociology is for you.

Sociology teaches us to answer “what,” “how,” and “why” about what is going on in our personal lives, our communities, and the world. Sociology challenges your basic assumptions about why people live the way they do. During the semester we frequently examine and discuss current events through a sociological perspective. Students enjoy conducting their own research study in this class. Similar to real-life sociologists, students create and distribute surveys to West High peers to investigate issues, attitudes, and experiences important to them.


(Grades 10-12)

Do you enjoy traveling? Do you want to see the world some day? In geography you will have an opportunity to explore the world and all of the great things the world has to offer! In this class students will explore amazing and beautiful places both natural and man-made. We will discover unique cultures of people all over the world. Students will learn how to use maps to plan trips in the United States and around the world. We will even explore great things to do right here in Iowa!

Recent World History

(Grades 10-12)

Think all history happened a long time ago? You have learned all about the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, and you are interested in learning about the last one hundred years. For those students who have an interest in modern history and want a fun history elective, this is the class for you. Focusing on 20 th century history, students will study World War I,

World War II, the Cold War, and the history of countries from around the world. Want to learn a more in-depth history of WWII? Want to know more about the Soviets and the intrigues of the Cold War? What about the events of Africa,

Asia, and Latin America? Sign up today to explore turning points in the last one hundred years!

African American History

(Grades 10-12)

Interested in how African Americans shaped our history? Want to know more than just the contributions of Dr. Martin

Luther King? Go beyond the Civil Rights Movement, as you explore African American culture, the African American perspective, and how African Americans shaped our history and our country.