Advanced Placement World History offers the opportunity for students to study history using both chronological and thematic approaches

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Mrs. Bruhnke, San Pedro HS - Room 151,


Advanced Placement World History offers the opportunity for students to study history using both chronological and thematic approaches. The course content is organized around five enduring themes and 19 key concepts in six chronological periods, from approximately 8000 B.C.E. to the present. The course focuses on five on-going themes:

1) Interaction Between Humans and the Environment – Demography and disease, migration, patterns of settlement, technology

2) Development and Interaction of Cultures – Religions, belief systems, philosophies and ideologies, science and technology, arts and architecture

3) State-building, Expansion and Conflict – Political structures and forms of governance, empires, nations and nationalism, revolts and revolution, regional, trans-regional and global structures and organizations

4) Creation, Expansion and Interaction of Economic Systems – Agricultural and pastoral production, trade and commerce, labor systems, industrialization, capitalism and socialism

5) Development and Transformation of Social Structures – Gender roles and relations, family and kinship, racial and ethnic constructions, social and economic classes

These themes are designed to help students to think about history from a "big picture" perspective; to evaluate patterns of continuity and change throughout world history, and to analyze the relationships between historical events. The content of the course is also organized into six chronological time periods, each with several key concepts defined by the AP World History Curriculum Framework, as described in the following course outline.

OBJECTIVES: Students will:

  • Prepare to achieve a passing score on the A.P. World History Examination.

  • Develop historical thinking skills.

  • Learn to craft historical arguments from historical evidence.

  • Identify, describe and evaluate evidence about the past from diverse sources.

  • Identify, analyze and evaluate relationships between historical events, distinguishing among coincidence, causation and correlation.

  • Recognize, analyze and evaluate patterns of continuity and change over time.

  • Analyze and construct models of historical periodization.

  • Compare related historical developments and processes across place, time and/or different societies.

  • Make connections between historical developments and contextual circumstances of time and place, and/or to broader regional, national or global processes.

  • Evaluate diverse historical interpretations of the past, as illustrated through primary and secondary sources, considering point of view and how interpretations change over time.

  • Demonstrate meaningful understanding of the past through synthesis of historical thinking skills, ideas from different fields of study, and a variety of evidence from primary and secondary sources.


Main Text: Bentley and Ziegler. 2008. Traditions and Encounters, 4th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill.

Coursebook: Wood, Ethel. 2008. AP World History: An Essential Coursebook. Woodyard Pub.

Selected Primary/Data Sources in:

  • Strayer. 2011. Ways of the World. A Global History with Sources. Bedford/St. Martin's.

  • Caldwell, Beeler and Clark. 2011. Sources of Western Society. Bedford/St. Martin's.

  • Sterns. 2008. Documents in World History. Prentice-Hall.

  • Bulliet. 2005. The Earth and its Peoples. Houghton Mifflin.

Secondary Sources:

  • McNeill, J.R. and McNeill, W.H. 2003. The Human Web. Norton & Co.

  • Christian. 2005. Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History. UC Press.


The AP World History Exam is 3 hours and 15 minutes long, including a one hour and 35 minute multiple choice/short answer section and a one hour and 40 minute free-response section. The first section contains 55 multiple choice questions and 3 short answers. The free-response section is comprised of 1 document-based question (DBQ) and 1 expository essay.


  • Text reading and outlining – chapter notes, format similar to Cornell notes.

  • Notecards – learning tool designed to identify key concepts and terms, requiring definition, significance to chapter thesis, and analysis of significance.

  • Unit timelines, emphasizing change and continuity over time

  • Historical Interpretations – in each unit, students will respond to ancillary text readings from secondary sources listed above, to evaluate the author’s perspectives and periodization, as compared to their traditional text.

  • “Historian Questions” – activity designed to develop historical thinking skills, based on 5 world history research methods: Big Picture, Diffusion, Syncretism, Comparison, Common Phenomena. Students will identify, evaluate, and practice the diverse methods by which historians approach the study of history.

  • “SPICE” Activity – skill-building activities in each unit, using a variety of graphic organizers, designed to help students identify the major developments for each of the 5 thematic categories: Social, Political, Interaction w/Environment, Cultural, Economic. Activities will also address cause-effect relationships and contextualization.

  • “SOAPStone” Document Analysis – primary and secondary source analysis activity, using the focus tool to identify: Speaker, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, Subject and Tone, in various documents, visual images, and quantitative sources, including findings of other disciplines, such as anthropology, archaeology, literature and the arts. This activity is designed to also direct students in writing Point of View Statements.

  • “Five Steps to a Quality Thesis” – Exercises in thesis writing, using a variety of graphic organizers, designed to help students develop written arguments with a thesis supported by relevant historical evidence.

  • Practice Essays in each unit: Expository (SPICE categories, Cause-Effect), Comparison, Continuity and Change Over Time, DBQ


  • Assigned textbook and ancillary coursebook.

  • Personal planning calendar.

  • Large spiral notebook for class notes and 3-ring binder, organized and in class every day.

  • 3x5 cards

  • Paper, pens, pencils, highlighter and any assigned work.


Homework will be assigned every night, including daily reading from the text, thus allowing for review of class presentations and preparation for class interactions. No late work will be accepted for full credit, unless due to an excused absence. (NOTE: School activities are not considered an “absence”, and therefore are not an acceptable reason for work to be turned in after its due date.) No incomplete work will be accepted; however, late assignments will be accepted for half credit during the unit to which it applies. Work missed due to truancy will not be available for makeup.


Students will be held accountable to the SPHS attendance policy, and will also be expected to arrive on time to class each day. Class attendance is very important, not only for class notes taken for test preparation, but also because active participation is an important step in the learning process. Participation activities will occur several times a week, for which attendance is mandatory, and may not be made up. Absence on a test day is considered unacceptable, unless in the case of serious emergency.


Tests will be given upon completion of each chapter, approximately once a week. Tests will consist of multiple choice and identification questions, document analysis and one free-response question. No make-up tests will be allowed after the announced test date. If a student must be absent on test day, arrangements for an alternate test PRIOR to absence must be made in advance.


Tests and quizzes will comprise approximately 60% of the student's grade. Homework, class work, projects and participation will make up the other 40%. Test grades and final grades will be figured based on points, on the standard grading scale, below:

A 100-90%

B 89-80%

C 79-70%

D 69-60%

F 59-00%

All students are required to uphold LAUSD and SPHS policies of proper dress and behavior. All students will be provided with a copy of the SPHS Honor Code, and expected to adhere to its policies. In addition, punctuality, preparation, courtesy and respect will of course be expected, and will affect work habits and cooperation grades.


Students will be required to take home progress reports at the end of each unit, to be signed by parents/guardians, so as to facilitate parent awareness of their progress in class. Parents can also access grades by using the link:

I have read and do understand the class expectations/contract for A.P World History. The student agrees to adhere to all rules and work diligently to his/her best ability.

Student Name: _________________________________________________


Student signature Date


Parent signature phone number Date

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