• Century High School
    Mr. Oveson - Room 5201

    Advanced Placement United States Government And Politics

     “Ask not what this class can do for you, but what you can do for this class!”

    This class is ultimately about you.  Who you are and what you believe will provide the foundation of this course.  Through an analysis of your own political beliefs, we will examine, explain, and understand how our local, state, and national governments operate. 

    Conceptual Framework

    •    Public Policy: How should America react to immigration?
    •    Civil Rights and Civil Liberties: What are your rights as an individual living in the United States?
    •    Political Beliefs and Behaviors: How can you change the area in which you live?
    •    Institutions of National Government:  Who is running this country, the President, Congress, Courts, other?
    •    Constitutional Underpinnings of United States Government:  Which is more important - your freedom or your security?
    •    Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Mass Media:  Who are you and how did you become this person?

    AP ® United States Government and Politics is an intensive study of the formal and informal structures of government and the processes of the American political system, with an emphasis on policy-making and implementation. This course is designed to prepare students for the AP Exam.

    Class Expectations

    1    Perspectives on various issues based upon your experiences and beliefs
    2    A willingness to listen and to consider the ideas of others
    3    Participation in whole class and small group decisions
    4    A desire to learn
    5    An attitude and work ethic for the purpose of learning
    6    Above all:  Your best effort every day

    Course Readings

    Text:   Lineberry et al., Government in America 12th ed. New York:  Pearson Longman, 2006

    Supplemental Materials
    A variety of materials from on-line websites to newspaper articles to readers will be integrated into the course for further enrichment.  These materials will change frequently and students will be held accountable for the information presented.  Examples include:  Federalist Paper  #10, Federalist Paper #51, op-ed. articles from local newspapers and websites, and additional “readers” which supplement and enhance the curriculum.

    Class Assignments

    Exams:  Exams will always be a combination of multiple choice and free response questions and will occur at the end of each unit.  Exams mirror the length and format of the A.P. exam to best prepare you for the exam in May.  Exams will cover all information presented in class including discussions, group work, lectures, videos, and readings.

    Periodic quizzes will be on issues presented in class as well as current events. Quizzes tend to be short but challenging.  Prepare properly.

    Projects and papers will require you to apply the content from class in order to think critically and draw societal conclusions based upon investigative research.

    Each student is required to complete two fieldwork assignments.  These assignments ask you to take what you have learned in class and to apply in your community.

    Grading Policy
    Your Grade            =100%
    Tests and Projects     40%
    Fieldwork                  20%
    Homework                20%
    Quizzes                    20%

    Grading Scale:
    A    90-100%        C 70-79%
    B    80-89%        D  58-69%
    Make-up Work Policy
    You will have the same amount of days to make up an assignment equal to the number of days you were absent.  This only applies to excused absences.  For those days not cleared, you will receive a 0.  Late work will not be accepted.  Be responsible for yourself when you are absent and you will be successful.

    Course Outline

    Unit 1:  Federalism and our Constitution (3 weeks)

    This unit examines the horizontal and vertical structure of our government.  Students will analyze where and how power is held in America and the variety of ways this power can be accessed by the average citizen. Upon analysis of Federalist #10, students will write an essay examining how the demographics and financial contributions of multiple factions in America explain where real political power is held.

    Unit 2:  Voting and Elections (3 weeks)

    This unit examines the processes of voting and the structure of elections.  Interpretation of demographic data as relevant to voting will be analyzed and reported through a political participation essay.  Students will draw conclusions about voter behavior and political participation overall.

    Unit 3:  Money, Media, and Me (2 weeks)

    This unit examines the roles of money and the media in the political process.  Students will evaluate the role of money and the media in elections and policy making.  Students will be asked to make critical decisions regarding how policy and elections are affected by the role of money and the media.  Charts will be created examining which groups are contributing the most money and to whom in order to analyze the impact  these groups have on policy making.   Further, through a “headline analysis” students will work to interpret bias in the print and electronic media.

    Unit 4:  Political Parties (2 weeks)

    This unit outlines the roles and purposes of political parties in our current system.  Students examine their own political socialization and gain a deep understanding of political philosophy.  Students will identify policy perspectives from both the 2 major parties and the various minor parties currently in existence. Analysis of  party platforms of all parties will be examined by students as they role play the party chairman in a policy debate.

    Unit 5:  The Courts (2 weeks)

    This unit examines our federal court structure and its evolution throughout our history.  Students will focus on 55 critical Supreme Court Cases and their impact on our society.  Judicial philosophy will be greatly examined in order for students to determine the proper role and impact they believe the courts should play in a democratic society.

    Unit 6:  Institutions of National Government (3 weeks)

    This unit examines the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches as well as the federal bureaucracy.  Students will examine the interaction of the aforementioned paying close attention to the Constitutional guidelines under which they operate.

    Unit 7:  Public Policy (3 weeks)

    This unit demands that students apply what they have previously learned about public policy.  Upon learning how policy is crafted in the United States, students become “specialists” in a policy arena, crafting mock legislation to submit as part of a Congressional simulation.   This project requires analysis of budget and an interpretation of priorities by looking at several watershed policies enacted throughout our history.