The History Department provides students with historical thinking skills that will aid them in their understanding of primary and secondary source research. These courses challenge students academically while preparing them for competitive colleges. Encouraging independent research and higher thought processes, teachers incorporate group-centered learning activities to test student knowledge, engage students in the learning process, and encourage creativity among individuals.
(347) World History I (9: Early Human History to 1500)
Students explore World History in grades 9 and 10 through the lens of recurring themes from the rise and fall of civilizations past and present. During the first year, students chronicle the human experience around the globe from prehistory in ancient India, China, the Fertile Crescent and along the Nile, up to the European Age of Exploration. Students examine global interactions between peoples and cultures, with particular emphasis on migration, warfare, religion, the arts, politics, and trade. Over the course of the year, students think critically about these and other issues, and in the process, develop important intellectual and analytical tools from structuring an argument and academic composition to research and oral presentation skills.
(348) World History II, H (358) (10: 1500 – Post-Middle Ages to present-day)
World History II is a course designed to enlighten students’ about past and present civilizations. Students learn about civilizations and events from the Post-Middle Ages to present-day. Students explore such topics as the earliest civilizations, the Middle Ages, the Industrial Revolution, World War I and World War II. While the course is a study in “world history” there will be special emphasis placed on European history. Prerequisite: World History I or equivalent 9th grade History class.
(349) U.S. History, H/Pre-AP (355) (11)
United States History is a survey course beginning with the European colonization of America through the 21st century. The course concentrates on the development of American culture, its diversity and multicultural context, and the ways its people are unified by values, practices, and traditions. Students study the major social, political, and religious developments in United States history, and are required to use a variety of intellectual skills and analytical tools to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments and turning points. The development of reading, writing, and oral communication is emphasized through the preparation of written assignments and oral presentations. Prerequisite: World History II or equivalent 10th grade History class.
(309) AP United States History (11, 12)
This is a one year course, recognized by College Board, designed to test student knowledge of historical thinking skills and major course themes throughout American History. Material includes an in depth study of the European colonization of America through present day. Open to Upper School students who have successfully completed World History II and or Honors United States History and have received permission from the AP Committee.
(367) AP U.S. Government and Politics (12) is a one year course, recognized by College Board, including core social studies curriculum designed to give students a working knowledge of the mechanics of government and politics at all levels. Topics include the nature, structure and functioning of government in American society, the role of special interest groups and individuals in government, the electoral process and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in a democratic society. Open to Upper School students who have successfully completed United States History or AP US History and have received permission from the AP Committee.
(368) Political Science (12)
This class will encourage an understanding of the American and other national political systems, with emphasis on the origins and evolution of rights and civil liberties. This will enhance student political participation and empower them with the knowledge to affect change to the global status quo. Using pressing contemporary problems, students gain insight into how governments (and the public and private interests that influence them) formulate their policies toward one another across national boundaries. We will examine topics of international issues such as the global response to warfare, peace, migration, post-colonialism, terrorism, poverty, and genocide. This course encourages Knox students to carefully evaluate political information and make compelling arguments for those opinions, to critically analyze relevant theories and concepts, apply them appropriately, and engage in these diverse topics with the concern of a global citizen.
(332) AP Psychology (11-12) (336 - Intro to Psychology without AP Exam option)
AP Psychology is a social science course recognized by the College Board, and gives students a foundation in the major areas of study in psychology, including, but not limited to: scientific methods, biopsychology, human development, cognition, and individual and group behavior variation. The focus of this course is to help students understand psychology as a scientific discipline, as well as to increase the student’s confidence in discussing and writing about psychological principles in a scientific manner. Prerequisite: Successful completion of World History II and approval from the AP committee.
(371) Micro Economics (11)
(370) Macro Economics (12)
Beginning with the basic principles of Economics, students are introduced to the fundamental tools of micro and macroeconomic analysis. Microeconomics deals with consumers, firms, markets and income distribution. Macroeconomics deals with national income, employment, inflation and money. Students apply their knowledge to problem-solve issues facing today’s economy via individual and group project-based assessments. Students visit Wall Street and the NYSE.
(365) Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics (11, 12)
What does it mean to be a “good” person? How can we determine what is right, what is wrong, and how to evaluate different ethical dilemmas? In the first part of this course, students will debate questions addressed within moral philosophy and the various answers offered by philosophers throughout history from Plato and Aristotle to Immanuel Kant and John Stuart Mill. While examining theories of virtue and vice, consequentialism, and deontology, students will be taught to read, explicate, analyze, and evaluate philosophical literature. Students will also be confronted with other classic questions in different fields of philosophy. We will discuss the natures of knowledge (epistemology) and reality and being (ontology). Can we be certain that we exist or that our external world exists? That God exists? Are the mind and the brain identical? If they are two separate entities, how are they related? Finally, we will discuss free will and how our examination of moral philosophy in many ways hinges on this debate. What is it, and do we have it? Is it compatible with the idea that everything in the universe is determined? Is free will a necessary condition for holding people responsible for their actions? Employing the Socratic method, students will be confronted with examples from regional, local and global issues, and they will learn to apply the techniques of philosophy in order to think critically and make more sound and informed decisions.
World Religions, Philosophy and Ethics
Religion will critically explore the phenomenology of Religion through a multi-disciplinary and global approach. The course will examine the complex and challenging nature of defining ‘religion.’ Using the classic method of religious studies: history, anthropology, and sociology, students will be able to critically analyze the theory and practice of religion by developing a clearer understanding of the plurality and sincerity of religion. The course will then survey a few of the basic major global religious traditions which will enable students to appreciate and understand the richness and vastness of different religious worldviews. In addition, the course will also explore current topics in religion from political science and international relations. The goal of the course is to advance religious literacy, introduce critical skills for studying religion and to reinforce reading and writing comprehension. As this is a college preparatory course it is expected that all students will be prepared to engage in daily discussions from assigned readings. This course will provide a comprehensive foundation for further scholarly work and to better equip students to be efficacious citizens in the complex world.
Honors History Designation (9-12)
Students who are interested in further challenging themselves and earning Honors credit may enroll in a History course with Honors Designation. The assignments demand deeper academic work related to the material within the course curriculum. Students must maintain a grade of 85% or above to remain in Honors.