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Social Studies

All students must successfully complete Social Studies 11 or a grade 12 Social Studies Course for graduation in British Columbia. 

Social Studies 9

SS 9 surveys the major changes that took place between 1750-1918 in both Europe and North America (Enlightenment, French Revolution, Napoleon, Industrial Revolution, colonization and Residential Schools, the rise of Nationalism and Imperialism and the causes and Canada’s role in WW I). Current Events are an important daily component of the program linking political, economic and environmental issues to the historical periods being studied. Geography and mapping are covered in conjunction with current and historical events. Knowledge acquisition is supported through multiple skills: essay writing, organizing enquiry research projects, critically analyzing media, debating, participating in discussion and group projects, and more. Assuming the roles and responsibilities of citizenship in maintaining a democratic, socially just society are fundamental goals of the course.

Social Studies 10

In this course we will explore nationalist movements, revolutions, conflicts, the breakdown of imperialist structures, human rights movements, co-operation and social and cultural developments in the twentieth century from the Canadian perspective (1914-2000). Human Geography (demographics, standards of living, environmental issues) along with a snapshot of Government terminology will also be addressed.  These topics will be done while using our skills of knowledge, comprehension, chronology, causation, analogy, analysis, evaluation, argumentation, synthesis, historical empathy and our understanding of the human condition. 

Social Studies 11 Explorations

Depending on the teacher, this class may explore: human rights, political studies, current event issues, the Renaissance, genocide studies, Aboriginal studies, social justice, partition of India, the civil rights movement, apartheid, the creation of Israel, the rise of the Asian Tigers (China). These topics will be examined while developing skills such as comprehension, chronology, causation, analogy, analysis, evaluation, argumentation, synthesis, historical empathy and further our understanding of the human condition. Global geographic concerns are also addressed in this course.

BC First Peoples 12

This course currently offered at GISS and is the former B.C. First Nations 12. It is one of the Social Studies 11 graduation requirement options. The focus is the history of First Nations in B.C., their relationship with the land and the impact of European contact from 1770 to the present. The course also explores traditional culture, indigenous worldviews, and contemporary issues. Cultural activities may include guest knowledge-keepers, and cedar weaving or drum making workshops. Indigenous cultures in other parts of Canada and the world are also referenced. Our rich learning resources include films, podcasts, music and literature. Through understanding the course of colonization and residential schools we uncover the important contributions Indigenous Peoples have played in Canadian and world history, and we more fully understand our responsibility to learn from and support the goals of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Comparative Cultures 12

This course comes from the premise that understanding the diversity and complexity of cultures enhances our understanding and appreciation for others. We will learn about cultures in the past through to the present by essentially answering three questions: where did we come from? How did we get here? Where are we going? We will be immersing ourselves in evolution, biology, psychology, language, sociology and anthropology of cultures.

Contemporary Indigenous Studies 12

This course goes beyond BC First Peoples 12 and allows students to explore the issues that have developed from the multiple impacts of colonization in B.C., and Canada. There will also be opportunities to study other places in the world where indigenous peoples share a similar history and are also engaged in defense of their Lands and rights. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples sets the framework for the resurgence of Indigenous Peoples worldwide. The focus of this course will be contemporary social, political, cultural and legal issues, and will be explored through case studies, enquiry projects and film.

 Law Studies 12 

Designed to introduce students to and explore criminal law, civil law, family law and the foundations of Canadian law. Students will study the court system, human rights, provincial and federal statutes, the Constitution and the Charter. Others areas of focus include legislation concerning First Peoples, children and youth, Canada’s correctional system, and legal resources/services in the community. Highlights include: guest speakers (RCMP, Prison Guards, Lawyers, Judges, etc.) and a field trip to the Victoria Court House. This is a stimulating and interactive environment where learners are encouraged to participate positively and respectfully in class activities, discussions, and presentations.

Philosophy 12

Existence. Reality. Knowledge. Philosophy 12 is a course in which students will discuss a broad array of issues related to the nature of our beliefs and experiences in the world. Content will include perspectives from thinkers across many cultures, including major Western and Eastern schools of thought, as well as indigenous philosophies. The class will compare and contrast these ideologies, assessing their development and impact upon the world, and their relevance today. Students will learn concepts by practicing philosophy, providing evidence, and linking it to personal experiences and current issues. They will examine and analyze the significance of their own beliefs, broadening their horizons as they formulate and discuss fundamental philosophical questions. Throughout the course, students will be introduced to methods of logic and reasoning, will study the nature of reality, and examine various philosophical theories related to being, knowledge and truth, justice and freedom, and morality and ethics.

This course is available through SHIFT

Physical Geography 12 ( available in SHIFT)

Geography 12 is the study of the physical, natural and human elements of the global environment and is particularly concerned with interrelationships and inter-dependencies among these elements. Geography 12 students will learn about physical geography, including: weather, climate, soils, ecosystems, geology and erosional processes. Students will also learn about human geography, which is the study of patterns and processes that shape human interaction with the environment. The course will provide students with an understanding of how humans shape the planet and in turn are shaped by the planet. Many global and regional environmental issues of importance to Canadians today are discussed in the class. 

Social Justice 12

Through a Social Studies Inquiry process, this course will build understanding around the causes and complexity of social injustices in our world and how they have lasting impacts in society.  Students will design and build projects that demonstrate their learning about how social justice issues are interconnected and how individual worldviews shape and inform our understanding of social justice issues.  Through action and service learning, students will learn how social justice initiatives can transform individuals and systems.  Social justice issues explored will vary based on the needs and interests of the class, but can include (but are not limited to) race, poverty, LGBTQ rights, status of women, environmental and ecological justice, peace and globalization, disabilities, and/or other marginalized and vulnerable groups.     

This course also satisfies the Social Studies 11 graduation requirement and is open to students grades 10, 11 and 12. 

20th Century World History 12  (also available in SHIFT)

In 20th Century World History 12, students gain an understanding of dominant social, political & economic forces that have shaped the later 20th century from a global perspective (rather than a Canadian one). We will explore World War II, the Cold War, the collapse of the Soviet Union, terrorism and wars of the Middle East. Current events will be incorporated into the course whenever links are pertinent.

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