AP U.S. Government and Politics Syllabus Chandler High School
AP U.S. Government and Politics is a semester-long course designed for students with a strong interest in political philosophies, processes, and the structure of government in the United States. Students will be expected to keep up with a heavy load of reading assignments from several sources. The course covers a number of key concepts required by the AP U.S. Government and Politics Curriculum Framework. Throughout the course, current political events will be tied into discussion and assignments to enhance student understanding of class material. The primary purpose of the course is to prepare students for the AP Exam. Assignments and tests are designed based on AP Exam requirements and format.
Primary Text –Government in America People, Politics, and Policy
[CR15] — Students are provided opportunities to analyze the 15 required Supreme Court cases as described in the AP U.S. Government and Politics Curriculum Framework and connect them to other non-required landmark cases.
All nine required foundational documents are incorporated into the course. [CR10: foundational documents]
[CR10] — The course provides opportunities to analyze and interpret qualitative sources (primary and secondary sources including the nine required foundational documents) to explain how they relate to political concepts.
Other materials used in the course will come from sources such as newspapers, magazines, and the internet.
AP Government Resources – Constitution Center website
College Board – AP United States Government and Politics course overview on Advances in AP website
Grades will be determined by a number of assignments including tests, quizzes, papers, projects, and homework. The following grading scale will be used for the course:
A 100 – 90%
B 89 – 80%
C 79 – 70%
D 69 – 60%
F 59 – 0%
Methods of Instruction, Expectations, and Advice
The course will be a mix of direct instruction and independent learning. In all units, students will have a packet with notes and other information that will be covered. Exams will be based on knowing and applying information that is found within unit packets. The packets will include notes that will be covered in class, and guided readings that will be completed in class or as homework, and reviewed in class. Students will be encouraged to stay engaged, ask questions, and add to the packets as they are covered in class to build understanding (take notes on the notes). All packets will be handed out in class, and packets and presentations can also be found on the class website.
Some class time will also be given to allow students to work on readings, essays, and projects. Students will be expected to make good use of class time for individual and group assignments. Many assignments will be started in class and finished as homework. The majority of homework assignments will be reading assignments where students will submit written responses. Students will usually be given at least two nights to complete reading homework. An extra day will also allow students to ask clarifying questions after they have started the work. There will almost always be a portion of class dedicated to discussion of a reading on the day an assignment is due. Students are not required to participate, but making comments and asking questions will help build understanding, critical thinking, and make class much more interesting. The same can be said for the discussion of current events during class time. Students are encouraged to pay attention to the news on a day-to-day basis, and actively participate in class discussions concerning the American political system and other items in the news. Like anything else in life, effort and enthusiasm will go a long way in the course!
The following is a sampling of the types of assignments that will be given throughout the course.
• Reading Responses – Students will be given many reading assignments throughout the course. A frequent assignment will be to give a written response to a reading as prompted by the teacher. This will typically include summarizing, checking for understanding, and personal thoughts and analysis of the reading.
• Current Political Events Analysis – Students will be assigned to read newspapers and watch television programs dealing with current political events. Assignments will be given to discuss and share opinions on the events as well as make connections with class material.
• Projects/Presentations – Students will complete several assignments that involve researching various topics. On several projects, students will also be required to give a presentation on their topic.
• Election Assignments – Students will do assignments based on elections depending on the year and the elections taking place. This will include taking sides on candidates and issues, debating, and voting.
• Graphs, Charts and Maps – Students will frequently receive statistical information in the form of graphs, charts, and maps. Assignments and tests will ask students to interpret the information or create graphical information based on data.
• Tests – Students will take exams throughout the year, at the conclusion of major topics and units. Tests will include multiple-choice and essay questions similar to what students will see on the AP Exam. Class time will be used to learn strategies to succeed on various question types that will be found on class tests and the AP Exam.
I. Foundations of American Democracy
II. Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
III. American Political Ideologies and Beliefs
IV. Political Participation
V. Interactions Among Branches of Government
Skills and Practices
• Describe and explain constitutional and political institutions, principles, processes, models, and beliefs.
• Explain connections among political behavior, political institutions, beliefs, and cultural factors.
• Read, analyze, and interpret quantitative data to draw conclusions about political principles, processes, behavior, and outcomes.
• Read, analyze, and interpret qualitative sources.
• Develop an argument about political principles, processes, behaviors, and outcomes.
CR1 The course includes the Foundations of American Democracy Unit and addresses all related big ideas (BIs) and enduring understandings (EUs).
CR2 The course includes the Interactions among Branches of Government Unit and addresses all related big ideas (BIs) and enduring understandings (EUs).
CR3 The course includes the Civil Liberties and Civil Rights Unit and addresses all related big ideas (BIs) and enduring understandings (EUs).
CR4 The course includes the American Political Ideologies and Beliefs Unit and addresses all related big ideas (BIs) and enduring understandings (EUs).
CR5 The course includes the Political Participation Unit and addresses all related big ideas (BIs) and enduring understandings (EUs).
CR6 The course integrates public policy within each unit.
CR7 The course addresses the big ideas by connecting enduring understandings across one or more units.
CR8 The course provides opportunities to analyze and compare political concepts.
CR9 The course provides opportunities to analyze and interpret quantitative data to explain what the data implies or illustrates about political principles, institutions, processes, and behaviors.
CR10 The course provides opportunities to analyze and interpret qualitative sources (primary and secondary sources including the nine required foundational documents) to explain how they relate to political concepts.
CR11 The course provides opportunities to analyze and interpret visual information to explain how the elements of the visual illustrate or relate to political principles, institutions, processes, and behaviors.
CR12 The course provides opportunities to apply course concepts and Supreme Court decisions in real-world contexts or scenarios.
CR13 The course provides opportunities to develop an argument in the form of an essay, supported by relevant evidence, about a concept described in the AP U.S. Government and Politics Curriculum Framework.
CR14 Students are provided with an opportunity to engage in a political science research or applied civics project tied to the AP U.S. Government and Politics Curriculum Framework that culminates in a presentation of findings.
CR15 Students are provided opportunities to analyze the 15 required Supreme Court cases as described in the AP U.S. Government and Politics Curriculum Framework and connect them to other non-required landmark cases.
CR16 Students and teachers have access to a college-level U.S. government and politics textbook.