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American Government

In this class you will learn about participating in (our) US Government. You will explore and offer answers to questions that have challenged, and in some instances continue to challenge, our government. You will work independently, in small groups and as a class on individual assignments, projects and written assignments. The class will, hopefully, be interesting, fun and rewarding.

Students shall (to the best of their ability):

Analyze, discuss and draw conclusions with regards to the political justice system and processes of the US government, including voting, while maintaining an open mind and respecting the opinion of others.

Form, and subsequently defend, positions on issues that test the fundamental values and principles of American political life while understanding their importance to the maintenance of constitutional democracy.

Participate in debates that promote thoughtful and effective participation in public affairs.

Accept, though not always agree with, the opinion(s) of others.

Participate in school/classroom/community activities that focus on resolving an issue or problem.

Prepare a plan that identifies a problem, suggests solutions, identifies shortcomings of proposed solutions, evaluates the effectiveness of each solution and proposes a resolution.

Explain how democracy has been used to resolve issues and/or problems.

To begin our journey we will need to complete the rather boring (but crucial) task of reviewing the major concepts and terms from the above questions. Therefore, using your textbook, you will write definitions for selected questions and terms. Once we have mastered this terminology we can begin to discuss and answer the above questions thus achieving our goal.

After we have achieved our initial goal you will be challenged to actively participate in debate and possibly a mock trial (including a jury).

Attendance Policy (for dual credit)
Students are expected to miss no more than 3 classes. In the event that they are unable to attend class it is their responsibility to determine what they have missed. Please review the grading policy for additional details with regards to meeting project deadlines.

General Educational Emphasis
Students will be required to read and comprehend basic government concepts. They will be encouraged to discuss this information within the classroom. They will be required to use the Internet to research a variety of contemporary civic challenges that are found at local and state levels. They will be required to demonstrate an understanding of these ideas by completing quizzes, projects and examinations.

Course Goals/Objectives
1) A fundamental understanding of the structure of local and state governments.
2) A fundamental understanding of the civic challenges found at both the local and state levels.
3) A fundamental understanding of how communities develop based on concepts such as the elections of representative by the people.
4) An understanding of how they may implement new or change existing laws to meet the needs the people.

Instructional Methods
Discussion - topics covered in the text will be discussed during review sessions (see below).
Assignments - periodically students will be required to complete projects. The format of projects will be primarily in the form of either PowerPoint presentations or written essays. Students will be required to complete these assignments in class using the Internet as a primary resource.
Review - material covered in each chapter will be reviewed prior to each quiz. Review for the midterm and final exams will be provided at the instructors discretion (prior quizzes will provide an excellent review resource).

Overview of Quiz/Exam Design
Quizzes will be composed of (best answer) multiple-choice questions taken primarily from the textbook.
Exams will be composed primarily of quiz questions.

Required Text - Magruder's American Government, William A. McClenaghan (Prentice Hall Publishing)

As the majority on your classes will be held in the computer lab you are expected to uphold all guidelines as presented in the acceptable computer use policy.

Please Note: The above main questions have been adapted from the NYS Social Studies Standards on Civics, Citizenship and Government. Additional information on these standards may be secured at: http://www.nysed.gov/.

Send constructive comments to: coachmol@lightlink.com