Upper Merion Area High School

Inspiring Excellence

SOCIAL STUDIES HIGHLIGHTS
•    Advanced Placement Courses
        o    Social Studies offers AP in the areas of European History, United States History, and Government.  Students have enjoyed tremendous success on the AP Exams over the years:  virtually a 100% passing rate, with most scores “4” or “5.”  AP students focus on interpretation and conceptual analysis of characters and events in history and government.  They also perfect their research and writing skills, as well as document analysis.

•    Community Service Learning
        o    Student must serve fifty hours as volunteers, create and execute a project at their service sites to benefit the people there, and plan a class activity outside of everyone’s service sites.  Service hours have included helping various Upper Merion teachers, weeding the courtyards around the buildings, sending volunteers to Arden Courts, Vista Care, Laurel House among others.  Each Friday a student is responsible for planning a group activity.  Some such activities are:  plant attractive things on the hill overlooking the baseball field, prepare birthday cakes for terminally ill children, plan and run a cookie party for children at the Laurel House shelter, prepare goodies and a craft for meals on wheels, clean at Valley Forge Park, plan and run a birthday party for a 100 year old woman, visit the elderly at the Senior Center, collect teddy bears for sick children and fans, as well as space heaters and used cell phone for the poor and elderly in Philadelphia.  This program is offered to all students, although usually 11th and 12th grade students who can drive apply.

•    Humanities
        o    This cross-curricular course combines 9th grade World Cultures concepts with Non-Western Literature.  Students are asked to analyze and evaluate information.  They have also enjoyed speakers on the topics of African folktales, African street children, and Indian lifestyles.  They complete projects using interactive technology and research skills on African folklore, African countries, holidays around the world, Buddhism, and Shakespeare. Finally they assemble a Middle Eastern country scrapbook.

•    Reel History
        o    Reel History is a unique half-year elective offered by the Social Studies Department. Instead of using the traditional written media like textbooks and primary sources, this course uses film to reach the students.  Students examine relevant historical and sociological topics like racism, September 11th, and the Vietnam War as they watch modern feature films to gain insight.   The emotion and passion of the human condition is brought to life in ways that students are not accustomed.  Once the movie is viewed, students participate in small group and large group discussions of the films themes and then write an analysis of the films.

•    National History Day
        o    NHD is a nationally acclaimed, year-long history education program that challenges students to pursue original historical scholarship in a competitive setting.  Because students select their topics of research, NHD promotes student ownership of the research project. In addition, NHD allows students to become familiar with navigating through the abundance of primary and secondary resources available to them and, most importantly, to analyze their findings.

•    Class Trips
        o    Students within the Social Studies Department have taken a number of educational class trips reflecting various units of study.  Visitation sites have included The National Constitution Center, Independence Hall and the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Anthropology and Archeology.

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