Course Descriptions - Social Studies


Humanities 8 is a study of the naturally complementary fields of Social Studies and English. There are many skills and processes common to both curricula.  Students will look at the connections between history (from 7CE-1750CE), geography and current events. These discussions will be linked to the study of literature and English skills and strategies: reading, writing, speaking and listening.  The integration of these subjects will allow students to understand that academic skills are transferable. The interdisciplinary approach allows students to expand their knowledge of the world, broaden their skills and perspectives, and encourages students to become informed and educated citizens.



Continuing with the Social Studies K-12 key curricular competencies of asking questions, gathering, interpreting, and communicating ideas, explaining significance, connecting with evidence, distinguishing continuity and change, recognizing cause and consequence, acknowledging perspective, and using ethical judgement, students will explore revolutions, colonialism, migration, nationalism, conflict, discriminatory policies (from 1750-1919CE) and Canadian geography. The goal of all social studies courses is to expand students’ knowledge of the world, broaden their skills and perspectives, and encourage students to become informed and educated citizens.



Canada and the World: 1914 - present.  

In this course, drawing from examples during the time period above, students will learn about Canadian history, government, human rights, First Nations issues and governance, enviornmental issues, along with Canada's role in international conflicts and organizations, domestic political challenges, conflict and cooperation, and current events.  The goal is to help students learn more about Canada and its connections to the global community at large in order to expand students' knowledge of Canada and the world, broaden their social studies skills and perspectives, and encourage students to be come better informed, educated, and active citizens.




Have you ever wondered about who we are, as Canadians?  How do each of us fit into this nation?  Who are the people, the communities, the cultures who shaped our nation, past and present? 

Together, we will be "explorers" and discover the people (and individuals) and the contributions they made to our Canada: peoples of the First Nations, people from Europe, people from all parts of Asia and beyond.  Who are our storytellers, risk-takers, builders, scientists, entrepreneurs and more?  


This course will be guided and independent study of the past and the present of "us" - Canada.  Students will also study their family and their background and how they have contributed to the story of Canada.



Do earthquakes rock your world? Do you care about human impact on the environment?  Is Iceland one of your dream destinations? If so, Geography 12 may be the course for you!  Geography 12 is the study of physical, natural, and human elements of the global environment.  The course examines the characteristics, processes, distributions, and interactions among the physical components of the earth’s surface and the influence they exert over people’s activities.  There are three focal areas in the course: physical and biological processes (plate tectonics, gradational processes, earthquakes, volcanoes, climate, etc.); humans and their environment (resource management, environmental issues, etc.); and the future, including global human and environmental challenges.  Course work includes map interpretation, field studies, and in-class study.



Do you care about issues in the world? Were you appalled by the human rights abuses in last few years in terms of women, race, ethnicity, poverty, genocide, LGBTQ and First Peoples?  Are you concerned about globalization and the manipulation of the media? Does the #metoo movement or #blacklivesmatter inspire you? This course will be an important and rewarding use of your time at McMath.

Social justice is defined as “the full participation and inclusion of all people in society, together with the promotion and protection of their legal, civil, and human rights” (BC Ministry of Education).  The aim of this course is to raise students’ awareness of and increase their ability to analyze and advocate for issues of social equity and justice. Through active participation, critical analysis, and reflection, students will learn about social injustices and work towards becoming responsible agents of change in their own community.   Students will also do research, engage in controversial class discussions, develop inquiry skills and carry out a social action project based on self-selected topics.



How did a political leader like Adolf Hitler and his Nazi supporters, prone to aggressive and racist violence, ever get electedinto power in a democratic Germany?  How did Americans “survive” a ban on alcohol (prohibition) in the 1920s?  What was the greatest strategic error of WW II that allowed the Allies to win?  At what point did the world come closest to a nuclear war between the two Cold War superpowers - the U.S. and the Soviet Union?  What has been the role of K-pop (Korean pop music) in the ongoing conflict between North and South Korea? Should you be worried about Communist spyware in your smartphone?  Did the Americans really land on the moon? What actually happened during the terrorist attacks on 9/11 (Sept. 11, 2001) - Fact vs. Conspiracy Theory.  “Fake News” (past and present). What is it and why should you care?  You’ll get the answers to all of these questions and explore inquiries of your own, in History 12!  


The core curriculum of History 12 covers key events from 1914 to the early 2000's -- events such as WWI, the rise of fascist and communist dictators, the Great Depression, WW II, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Korean and Vietnam wars, the rise and collapse of the communist countries in Eastern Europe, the role of Russia / the U.S.S.R. and China in the world (past and present) and terrorism and conflict in the Middle East and around the world.  Students will study how politics, economics, science, art, fashion, sport, technology, pop culture, and media all play a role in shaping, reflecting, and making history. The course is designed to broaden and deepen a student’s understanding of the various forces that have shaped historical events so as to better understand current events and a student's role and opportunity as an active citizen in a multicultural, democratic society.



Why are we here? What is the meaning of existence? What is right and what is wrong? If you’re a thinker who loves to ponder life’s biggest questions - or you just watch the Netflix show The Good Placefor its ideas - then this is the course for you. We’ll address the main areas of philosophy, like metaphysics, logic, epistemology, ethics, social and political philosophy – but students will also be given opportunities to develop and explain their own philosophical ideas, and how to apply those ideas to today’s social issues and personal experiences. Students will also become stronger thinkers as they refine skills used in researching and investigating topics in philosophy.



What can happen when the rights of people, communities, ethnic and other groups are denied and no one does anything about it?  What is the ultimate end?  Genocide.  Genocide, or the intentional destruction of peoples and their cultures, is not inevitable and can be disrupted and resisted. The use of the term “genocide” to describe atrocities has political, legal, social, and cultural ramifications. Despite international commitments to prohibit genocide, violence targeted against groups of people has continued to challenge global peace and prosperity. While genocides are caused by and carried out for different reasons, all genocides share similarities in progression and scope. This course will examine the reasons for, local and global reaction to, and actions we can take as individuals and as a global community to end human atrocities.  Students will explore various atrocities and genocides such as the Holocaust, Yugoslavia, the Beothuk First Peoples, Rwanda, Sudan, and the Khmer Rouge.  Students will independently explore a genocide.  The more we learn from our past actions, and those of others, the greater chance we have to end human atrocities and Genocide.