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J. MacLeod

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Email Address: jmacleod@fremont.k12.ca.us
Phone number: 505-7300 ext. 67128

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APUS Government

 

 

Syllabus

CourseDescription:

AP United StatesGovernment and Politics is a one-semester, college level

course offered to studentswho wish to be academically challenged and plan to

take the AP exam in thespring. It is a survey course that provides an introduction

into the operation ofAmerican national government. As such, we will examine:

• TheAmerican system of government and its origins

• Politicalopinions, interests, and behaviors

• Politicalorganizations, to include parties, interest groups and mass media

• Theinstitutions of government and their role in making and enforcing public

policy

• Civilliberties and civil rights

• Primarysource materials and contemporary news analyses

In exposing you to theseareas, it is our goal to foster the development of the

analytical perspectivesfor interpreting, understanding, and explaining the political

processes and events inthis country.

 

LearningOutcomes:

At the completion of APUnited States Government and Politics, the student will

be able to identify andexplain the formation, function, players, organizations, and

institutions that make upthe American system of government based on the

following themes:

• U.S.Constitution—the U.S. Constitution is a living document that revolves

aroundinterpretations of our democratic ideals.

• CivilRights and Liberties—the government's responsibility is to protect civil

rights and libertiesfor all citizens.

• Federalism—ourgovernment is more responsive to the people due to the division

of power between thestates and the federal government.

• Separationof Powers—distributing political authority among three branches of

government protectsagainst potential abuse of power through a system of checks

and balances.

• CivicResponsibilities—A democratic government's ability to protect every one's

rights requires theparticipation of citizens in the political process.

• TheMedia's Role—the media has a great amount of influence on American

politics.

 

CurrentEvents:

One of the most effectiveways of learning about politics and reinforcing what you

have learned is to payattention to current political events. Therefore, it is

expected that you areactively reading a major newspaper, a magazine such as

Newsweek, a politicallyoriented journal such as Foreign Policy, or watching the

news and other politicallyoriented programs. The more you pay attention to

current events and howthey relate to what you have learned, the more effective

you will be during classdiscussions.

 

ContentStandards:

This college-level UnitedStates Government and Politics course is written to the

content standards outlinedby the College Board’s United States Government and

Politics CourseRequirements.

 

 

 

 

RequiredTexts:

Title: AmericanGovernment: Institutions and Policies (Advanced Placement Edition)

Author(s): James Q. Wilson& John J. DiIulio

Publisher: HoughtonMifflin

Year published: 10th edition,September 2006

ISBN 0618562442

 

Title: Multiple Choice andFree Response Questions in Preparation for the AP US Government and PoliticsExamination

Author(s): Ethel Wood& Maria Schmidt

Publisher: D & SMarketing Systems, Inc.

Year published: 4thedition, 2002

 

CourseMethodology:

This is an inquiry-basedcourse where you will discover and utilize knowledge

about the Americanpolitical system via the textbook, supplemental readings,

primary sources, politicalwebsites, and synchronous and asynchronous

discussions with otherstudents and the instructor.

Acting as a facilitator,your instructor will guide you through the process however,

as the learner you areresponsible for actively acquiring and constructing

information by completingall assigned readings and activities.

Both formal and informalassessment will be used in evaluating your performance

throughout the course.Informal assessment will include an evaluation of the

quality and timeliness ofyour participation in class activities. Formal assessment

will involvemultiple-choice quizzes, written essays, a midterm and a final exam.

Unit TopicsActivities

ConstitutionalUnderpinnings

Objectives:

• To preview the major questions asked throughout

the course and introduce students to some key

terms of American politics

• To introduce students to the historical context

which the U.S. Constitution was written

RequiredReadings:

• Wilson text: Chapter 1 – The Study of American

Government

• Wilson text: Chapter 2 – The Constitution

PrimarySource Documents:

• Thomas Hobbes, excerpts from Leviathan (1651)

• John Locke, excerpts from Two Treatises on

Government (1690)

• Montesquieu, excerpts from The Spirit of the

Laws (1748)

• James Madison, Federalist # 10

• James Madison, Federalist # 51

• Alexander Hamilton, excerpts from Federalist #

84

• Antifederalist, excerpts from Centinel I

• Antifederalist, excerpts from Brutus I

• Articles of Confederation

• U.S. Constitution (see Wilson text)

• The Bill of Rights (Amendments #'s 1-10) (see

Wilson Text)

Lecture:

• Constitutional Underpinnings

ThreadedDiscussion Forum Topics:

• Learning styles assessment

• Hobbes vs. Locke

• Federalists vs. Antifederalist

Assignments:

• Begin Essay #1: Discuss the fundamental

principles of thought that are elemental to the

American doctrine of the separation of powers

SynchronousDiscussion Topics:

• Articles of Confederation vs. Constitution

Assessment

• Objective quiz (30 multiple choice questions)

• Time Essay

Federalism

Objectives:

• To introduce students to the many complexities of

government in the U.S. arising from the adoption

of the federal system and how the nature and

effects of federalism have changed throughout

history and continue to change today

• To introduce students to the inherited beliefs,

attitudes and opinions that Americans have about

how their government ought to operate

RequiredReadings:

• Wilson text: Chapter 3 – Federalism

• Wilson text: Chapter 4 – American Political

Culture

Lecture:

• Federalism in the U.S.

ThreadedDiscussion Forum Topics:

• Federalism

• Equality of opportunity vs. economic equality

Assignments:

• Submit Essay #1

SynchronousDiscussion Topics:

• Federal vs. unitary and confederal systems of

government

Assessment

• Objective quiz (30 multiple choice questions)

• Timed essay

Objectives:

• To explore what we mean by public opinion and

to ask what sorts of effects public opinion has on

our supposedly democratic form of government

• To review the much-discussed lack of voter

turnout and other forms of political participation

in the U.S.

RequiredReadings:

• Wilson text: Chapter 5 – Public Opinion

• Wilson text: Chapter 6 – Political Participation

Lecture:

• Political Participation

OnlineResources:

• Public Opinion Polls

• Voter Turnout

• Register to Vote

ThreadedDiscussion Forum Topics:

• Political Socialization

• Political Participation

Assignments:

• Revise essay #1 based on your instructor’s

feedback and resubmit

SynchronousDiscussion Topics:

• Voting

Assessment

• Objective quiz (30 multiple choice questions)

• Timed essay

The Two Party System

Objectives:

• To explore the two-party system that has evolved

in the U.S.

• To examine some of the intricacies and myths

surrounding American elections and campaigns

RequiredReadings:

• Wilson text: Chapter 7 – Political Parties

• Wilson text: Chapter 8 – Elections and

Campaigns

Lecture:

• American Political Parties

OnlineResources:

• Campaign Financing

• PAC Contributions

ThreadedDiscussion Forum Topics:

• The Two-Party System

• Necessity of Third Parties

Assignments:

• Begin Essay #2: Analyze the effects of

federalism on contemporary policy-making in two

of the following areas: economic policy, social

welfare policy, or environmental policy.

SynchronousDiscussion Topics:

• Campaign Finance Reform

Assessment

• Midterm Exam (60 multiple choice questions)

• Timed essay questions (2)

Interest Groups

Objectives:

• To survey the wide variety of interest groups, or

lobbies that operate in the United States and to

assess the impact they have on the political

system of the country

• To examine the historical evolution of relations

between government and the media, to include

how the media affects government and politics

and how government seeks to affect the media

RequiredReadings:

• Wilson text: Chapter 9 – Interest Groups

• Wilson text: Chapter 10 – The Media

Lecture:

• Interest Groups

ThreadedDiscussion Forum Topics:

• Interest Groups vs. Political Parties

• Interest Groups and PACs

Assignments:

• Submit essay #2

SynchronousDiscussion Topics:

• The Media

Assessment

• Objective quiz (30 multiple choice questions)

• Timed essay

U.S. Congress

Objectives:

• To describe the framers' understanding of the role

of Congress and to describe the roles and

organization of Congress today, paying particular

attention to the effects of organizational

characteristics on the behavior of members of

Congress and on the way that the House and the

Senate perform their functions

RequiredReadings:

• Wilson text: Chapter 11 – Congress

Lecture:

• U.S. Congress

OnlineResources:

• Incumbency

• Congressional Appointment

• House of Representatives

• Senate

ThreadedDiscussion Forum Topics:

• Incumbency Advantage

• Congress vs. Constituents

Assignments:

• Continue Essay #2

SynchronousDiscussion Topics:

• How a Bill Becomes a Law

Assessment

• Objective quiz (30 multiple choice questions)

• Timed essay

The Federal Bureaucracy

Objectives:

• To examine the presidency in terms of executive

power, the evolution of the presidency from 1789

to present, the various offices that make up the

president, the relationship between the president

and his/her cabinet members, presidential

character, and the president’s role in shaping

domestic and foreign policy

• To examine what is "big" about government, the

bureaucracy; both the distinctiveness and the size

of the federal government bureaucracy will be

reviewed, along with various roles that have been

assigned to it throughout its history, including the

extent and character of its authority, how

members are recruited, and other factors that help

to explain the conduct of bureaucrats in office,

along with ways in which Congress attempts to

control the behavior of bureaucrats and the

"pathologies" of various large bureaucracies

RequiredReadings:

• Wilson text: Chapter 12 – The Presidency

• Wilson text: Chapter 13 – The Bureaucracy

Lecture:

• The Federal Bureaucracy

OnlineResources:

• FirstGov

• Executive Office of the President

ThreadedDiscussion Forum Topics:

• The Presidency

• The Bureaucracy

Assignments:

• Submit essay #2

SynchronousDiscussion Topics:

• Divided Government

Assessment

• Objective quiz (30 multiple choice questions)

• Timed essay

The Judiciary, Civil Liberties andCivil Rights

Objectives:

• To explain how the courts, particularly the

Supreme Court, came to play a powerful role in

forming public policy in this country and how that

role has been played to very different effects at

different stages of history

• To examine the role of the Bill of Rights related

to the concept of democratic rule of the majority

with particular attention to the tension between

majority rule and minority rights, the conflicts

that may arise between those who claim First

Amendment rights and those who are in favor of

sedition laws that might restrict freedom of

speech, the structure of the federal system and

how it affects the application of the Bill of Rights,

the Supreme Courts classification of “speech”, the

Supreme Courts decision in Miranda vs. Arizona,

and the resolution of civil liberties issues that

involve politics as well as law

RequiredReadings:

• Wilson text: Chapter 14 – The Judiciary

• Wilson text: Chapter 15 – Civil Liberties

• Wilson text: Chapter 19 – Civil Rights

Lecture:

• The Federal Judiciary

OnlineResources:

• Important landmark Supreme Court decision

ThreadedDiscussion Forum Topics:

• Free Speech

• Same Sex Marriages

Assignments:

• Revise essay #2 based on your instructor’s

feedback and resubmit

SynchronousDiscussion Topics:

• Affirmative Action

Assessment

• Final Exam AP exam (200 pts)

• Timed essay questions (2)

ssment

Grading Scale:

Letter Grade PercentageEarned

A 90% - 100%

B 80% - 89%

C 70% - 79%

D 60% - 69%

F 59% and lower

 

 

 
 
AP Microeconomics

Textbook: McConnell and Brue. Economics (16th ed.)

Workbook and Test Questions: Morton, John S. Advanced Placement Economics

Washington High School

 

In this course, students will complete 5 units of college level microeconomics work and be scored by performance on AP level multiple choice and free response questions.

 

Content Summary

 

Unit 1 Basic Economic Concepts: scarcity and choice, opportunity cost, PPF, economic systems, absolute and comparative advantage

 

Unit 2 The Nature and Functions of Markets: laws of supply and demand, elasticity, consumer choice

 

Unit 3 The Theory of the Firm: Firm production costs and revenues, marginal analysis, perfect competition, monopoly, monopolistic competition, oligopoly

 

Unit 4 Factor Markets: Derived demand, factor pricing

 

Unit 5 The Role of Government: Economic functions of government, market failures, taxes

 

Curricular Requirements

 

CR1 The course teaches students basic economic concepts

CR2 The course provides students with instruction in the nature and function of products markets

CR3 The course provides students with instruction in factor markets

CR4 The course provides students with instruction in market failure and the role of government

CR5 The course promotes understanding of economic decision-making and its factors, such as marginal analysis and opportunity costs

CR6 The course teaches how to generate, interpret, label, and analyze graphs, charts, and data to describe and explain economic concepts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unit 1: Basic Concepts

 

Key Topics: Scarcity, Choice, Opportunity Cost, PPF, Basic Marginal Analyisis, Economic Systems, Absolute and Comparative Advantage (CR1 and CR5)

 

Readings: McConnell and Brue, Economics, Chapters 1 and 2

 

Preparation: Lecture notes and student Unit 1 activities #s 2 and 9 Morton, AP Economics

 

Assessment: Morton, AP Economics Unit 1 Test and Teacher Generated Questions

 

Unit 2: The Nature and Function of Markets

 

Key Topics: Law of demand, marginal utility, income effect, substitution effect, changes in demand, quantity demanded, law of supply, profit motive, diminishing marginal returns, shifts in supply, quantity supplied, equilibrium point, consumer and producer surplus, elasticity of demand, elasticity of supply, price ceilings and floors, double shifts, circular flow chart

 

Readings: McConnell and Brue, Economics, Chapters 3, 4, 20 and 21

 

Preparation: Lecture notes and student Unit 2 activities #s 12, 13, 14, 16, 19, 22, and 25 Morton, AP Economics

 

Assessment: Morton, AP Economics Unit 2 Test and Teacher Generated Questions

 

Unit 3: The Theory of the Firm

 

Key Topics: Explicit and Implicit Costs, Normal and Economics Profits, Economic Losses, Short Run Vs. Long Run, Short Run Production Costs, Long Run Production Costs, Perfect Competition, Marginal Analysis, Marginal Revenue, Total Revenue and Costs, Shut Down Point, Monopoly, Price Discriminating Monopoly, Regulated Monopoly, Allocative and Productive Efficiencies, Monopolistic Competition, Excess Capacity, Oligopoly, Cartel, Collusion, Game Theory

 

Readings: McConnell and Brue, Economics, Chapters 22, 23, 24 and 25

 

Preparation: Lecture notes and student Unit 3 activities #s 30, 36, 38, 41, 43, 44 and 46 Morton, AP Economics

 

Assessment: Morton, AP Economics Unit 3 Test and Teacher Generated Questions

 

Unit 4: Factor Markets

 

Key Topics: Derived demand, MRP, MRC, marginal analysis in factor market, shifts in resource demand, elasticity of resource demand, least cost combination of resources, profit maximization combination of resources, perfect competition in a labor (resource) market, monopsony, 3 union models, bilateral monopoly, minimum wage, economic rent

 

Readings: McConnell and Brue, Economics, Chapters 27, 28 and 29

 

Preparation: Lecture notes and student Unit 4 activities #s 50, 51, 54 and 57 Morton, AP Economics

 

Assessment: Morton, AP Economics Unit 4 Test and Teacher Generated Questions

 

Unit 5: The Role of Government

 

Key Topics: Market failures, public vs. private goods, externalities, public-choice theory, taxation

 

Readings: McConnell and Brue, Economics, Chapters 30 and 31

 

Preparation: Lecture notes and student Unit 5 activities #s 62, 65 and 73 Morton, AP Economics

 

Assessment: Morton, AP Economics Unit 5 Test and Teacher Generated Questions

 

Final Exam: One long answer question, two short answer questions, and a full multiple- choice section (60 questions) of an AP released exam. Two hours are planned for the exam.

 

Teaching Strategies

 

Through energetic and engaging lecture notes, in class practice, homework problems and reading the text, my students have successfully learned microeconomics at the introductory college level.

 

Over the years my students have performed admirably on the AP microeconomics test. I use this data as my evidence that I am getting the job done.

 

Student Evaluation

 

Test scores on the Unit Tests and the Final Exam make up 80% of my AP students grades. The other 20% is based upon class work and homework.

 

Teacher Resources

 

McConnell and Brue, Economics: Principles, Problems and Policies, 16th ed. McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2005

 

Morton, John S., Advanced Placement Economics,

J. MacLeod Locker
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