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Social Studies

The Social Studies program strives to develop thoughtful, well-spoken, and knowledgeable citizens who are able to consider multiple perspectives and to make reasoned judgements.  We focus on historical thinking and problem solving, the development of skills to master content, and the understanding of the inter-relationship of content areas. In all courses, students will have opportunities to critically reflect on events of the past in order to make better sense of current and future issues and events, and to express their understanding in a cogent manner.  Social Studies helps meet the school goal of inspiring globally minded, well-rounded students.



SOCIAL STUDIES 8                                                                                               MSS--08


Social Studies 8 explores the development of our world from the 7th Century to 1750 through the main concepts and "Big Ideas" of contact and conflict, human and environmental factors, exploration, and colonization, and changing ideas about the world.  Asian, European, and Middle Eastern history will be examined, along with North American exploration and the effects that first contact had on indigenous communities. Students will examine factors that have shaped modern society and make connections between the past and present.


SOCIAL STUDIES 9                                                                                               MSS--09 


Social Studies 9 build on the themes developed in Socials 8. This course focuses on global and Canadian history between 1750 and 1914 through the lens of four “Big Ideas”: emerging ideologies, the influence of the physical environment, disparities in power, and how collective identity is constructed and can change over time. Highlights include the Industrial Revolution and early settlement and the expansion of Canada. 


Students will learn about:

  • political, social, economic, and technical revolutions (e.g. American Revolution)
  • the continuing effects of imperialism and colonialism on indigenous peoples in Canada and around the world (treaty process; residential schools)
  • global demographic shifts, including patterns of migration and population growth
  • nationalism and the development of modern nation-states, including Canada
  • local, regional, and global conflicts 
  • discriminatory policies, attitudes, and historical wrongs (Head Tax; Komagata Maru)
  • physiographic features of Canada and geological processes


SOCIAL STUDIES 10                                                                                             MSS--10


Social Studies 10 is a required course for graduation in BC. The course will follow the revised BC curriculum with a focus on Canada and the World from 1900 to the Present


This course focuses on four “Big Ideas” regarding global and regional conflicts, the development of political institutions, perspectives about Canadian society, and historical and contemporary injustices which shape and challenge Canada’s identity. Highlights include the study of the Canadian parliamentary system, Canada’s role in the World Wars, urbanization, and the impact of technology in the postwar years.


Students will learn about: 

  • development, structure, and function of Canadian and other institutions, including First Peoples governance
  • political and economic ideologies and the development of public policy
  • changing conceptions of identity in Canada
  • Canadian autonomy and domestic conflict
  • discriminatory policies and injustices in Canada and the world


Social Studies 10 Continued….


  • international conflicts and cooperation
  • human-environment interaction
  • economic development and Canada’s role in a global economy
  • truth and reconciliation in Canada


EXPLORATIONS IN SOCIAL STUDIES 11                                                          MEPSS11


Explorations 11 introduces students in grade 11 or 12 to 20th Century and contemporary issues drawn from other senior social studies courses.  Students will explore a variety of important themes and “Big Ideas” in the development of cultures, societies and political systems and will examine how political decisions, cultural expressions and social justice initiatives influence individuals, societies, and the world. This new course will help students develop curricular skills and is a great introduction to other senior social studies courses

Students will learn from a variety of select topics such as:

  • global history 
  • geography (physical and human) 
  • comparative cultures
  • law and social justice 


BA PSYCHOLOGY 11                                                                                           YPSYC1A


** This course earns elective credits towards graduation, not Social Studies credits


This introductory course focuses on the study of human behaviour, mind and thought. It draws broadly on research and theoretical work of scientists and practitioners to provide the student with practical psychological information. Core topics include learning theories, motivation and emotions, nervous system, personality, social problems, abnormal behaviour, cross-cultural and developmental psychology, intelligence, creativity, and perception. At the conclusion of this course, students will have a basic understanding of psychology as it relates to their personal, social, and educational life and be able to apply their understanding in practical ways. Students will learn how this interdisciplinary subject is central to many professions including medicine, law, information technology, engineering, education, and business. 


CONTEMPORARY INDIGENOUS STUDIES 12                                                 MINST12


Contemporary Indigenous Studies 12 is an exploration of Indigenous resistance and joy. It is in support of each student’s fundamental right to understand the history of the lands they live on. From an Indigenous perspective, this course explores complex experiences Indigenous peoples face today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations. Students will engage with Indigenous voices on history, philosophy, literature, film, art, and social justice. Students will investigate how the impact of colonialism continues to affect the political, social, and economic lives of Indigenous peoples locally and across Canada. We will also place the Indigenous struggle for rights in the context of Indigenous movements throughout the world. Students will develop reasoned, ethical arguments about the past, the present, and possible future actions toward a future of right relations.  This course satisfies the four credits needed to satisfy the Indigenous Graduation Requirement.


LAW STUDIES 12                                                                                                 MLST-12 


Law 12 is offered to both Grade 11 and 12 students. It is a participatory course wherein students are expected to actively discuss current issues as they pertain to law.  In addition, several mock trials based on actual cases in the text and current issues will be developed by the students.   There is a heavy vocabulary component so that students can replicate as closely as possible the legal setting. Students are expected to become very familiar with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Both criminal and civil law will be explored. Guest speakers and field trips will enhance the students understanding of law.  Evaluation will include quizzes, extent of participation in the mock trials, enthusiasm during discussion, and knowledge of current legal issues.


20th CENTURY WORLD HISTORY 12                                                                 MWH--12


This is a survey course in the history of the modern world in the 20th century.  The course includes an overview of political, social, and economic development and the consideration of such ideas. Nationalism, imperialism, and communism with an international focus.  Students will learn about the rise of authoritarian regimes (Italian Fascism, Nazi Germany), civil wars (the Chinese Civil War, Korean War, Vietnam War), independence movements (India and Pakistan) and revolutions (Russian Revolution, Chinese Communist Revolution, the Iranian Revolution).  We will also examine human rights movements (American Civil Rights, Apartheid), genocide (Armenian Genocide, The Holocaust, Holodomor), global conflicts (WW II, the Cold War, the First Gulf War), migrations (Greek/Armenian) and territorial boundaries (The Paris Peace Treaties, Palestine and Israel).  Moreover, students will learn about interdependence and international co-operation (League of Nations, United Nations, NATO, the Warsaw Pact, European Union), social and cultural developments (Women’s rights and the changing role of women, American pop culture), and communication and transportation technologies (WW II technologies, the rise of the internet, the Space Age).  Every opportunity is taken to discuss contemporary trends, problems, and events in the political life of today’s world.  Students interested in current events will benefit from the background that this course provides.



DEBATE/PUBLIC SPEAKING                                                                               YCPA-0C


Open to all in Grades 10, 11 &12 ** This course earns elective credits towards graduation, not Social Studies credits.


This course is open to any student from grades 10-12. There are no prerequisites. This course is designed to teach the student how to do effective research, create an argument and debate that issue. The student will demonstrate public speaking skills and develop the skills required to engage in a formal debate. This course is encouraged for those who wish to improve their public speaking skills and to develop their communication abilities. Students whose first language is not English are encouraged to join as this course will help them develop their English communication skills. Students will learn the structure and format of the various formal debate styles used in North America and Europe. This includes cross examination and British parliamentary style. Students who sign up for this course are also encouraged to join the school debate team. All students must eventually engage in a formal debate. Public speaking skills will be demonstrated through practical usage. Students will develop the skills required for spontaneous impromptu speech in front of an audience. This course will help the student gain the confidence needed to address a crowd of any size and on any issue. 



PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY 12                                                                                MPGEO12

Geography 12 explores the complex systems that impact our planet.   Students will understand the natural processes that have an impact on the landscape and human settlement. We will explore the interactions between human activities and the atmosphere that affect local and global weather and climate. The first part of the year will focus on physical geography, such as mapping, plate tectonics, erosion, weather systems, and biomes. The second part of the year focuses on sustainability and environmental issues that concern all living things on earth. By taking this course students will become more aware of the forces that shaped and are continuing to shape our globe. They will also become aware of the global distribution of resources and gain insight into the many environmental issues and interrelationships that exist on our planet.

Students enrolled in this course will have priority enrolment in any Geography related field trips, including international travel.

AP EUROPEAN HISTORY                                                                                     AHI—12     (not offered in 2024 – 2025)

(Please see AP Section)



AP HUMAN GEOGRAPHY 12                                                                             AHG—12      (offered in 2024 – 2025) 

Please see AP Section)

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