Pre-AP World History and Geography

This course builds students’ essential skills and confidence to prepare them for a range of AP history and social science coursework during high school, including AP Human Geography and AP World History.

beginning of content:

Overview

Pre-AP World History and Geography focuses deeply on the concepts and skills that have maximum value for college, career, and civic life.

The course is built around three enduring ideas to create an engaging and relevant social studies course:

  1. History is an interrelated story of the world.
    The course explores the invisible structures and forces that shape and reflect the regions, communities, governments, economies, and cultures of humanity. These big ideas help students develop an organized and meaningful understanding of time and space.
  2. History and geography are inherently dynamic.
    As historians and geographers uncover new evidence, current assumptions are challenged and previous arguments and narratives gain complexity, nuance, and context. This course teaches students how to examine sources and data, establish inferences, and ultimately build and critique arguments.
  3. Historians and geographers are investigators.
    Learning in Pre-AP World History and Geography is designed to be a disciplinary apprenticeship in which students participate in the process of discovery. Students will play the role of historian and geographer by practicing the detective skills and using the tools of each craft.

Instructional Shifts

Pre-AP World History and Geography instructional resources focus on the following key instructional shifts:

  • Emphasis on evaluating evidence: Students acquire knowledge by evaluating evidence from a wide range of primary and secondary sources.
  • Focus on incorporating evidence: Students demonstrate command of quantitative, qualitative, and spatial data by effectively incorporating them into written and oral arguments.
  • Regular practice with explaining historical relationships: Students explain relationships among events and people by marshalling evidence for causality, correlation, continuity, and change over time.

Course at a Glance

Pre-AP World History and Geography has seven units, one geography unit and six world history units that cover different historical eras. The geography unit is universal; all schools must teach it. Out of the six world history units, schools choose and implement the three units that best align with their local and state standards. Schools do not teach all six world history units.

The tabs below show the units, the recommended length of each unit, and the key topics in each.

Course at a Glance

 

Unit title: Geography

Timeframe: 7 weeks

Key topics:

  • Interpreting maps and geographic data
  • World regions
  • Climates
  • Human interaction with the environment
  • Population change and migration

Unit title: ERA 1: Pre-600 BCE

Timeframe: 7 weeks

Key topics:

  • The Paleolithic Era
  • The Neolithic Revolution
  • River Valley civilizations

Unit title: ERA 2: 600 BCE–600 CE

Timeframe: 7 weeks

Key topics:

  • The development and spread of world religions
  • Classical empires
  • The Silk Road
  • The Mediterranean trade network

Unit title: ERA 3: 600–1450

Timeframe: 7 weeks

Key Topics:

  • The Indian Ocean trade networks
  • Gunpowder empires
  • Early manufacturing
  • Feudalism
  • The Mongolian Empire

Unit title: ERA 4: 1450–1750

Timeframe: 7 weeks

Key Topics:

  • Western European maritime empires
  • Asian overland empires
  • The Columbian Exchange
  • The Atlantic economy
  • The rise of manufacturing

Unit title: ERA 5: 1750–1914

Timeframe: 7 weeks

Key Topics:

  • Advances in science and reason
  • Atlantic revolutions
  • The First and Second Industrial Revolutions
  • Nationalism and reform
  • The new imperialism

Unit title: ERA 6: post-1914

Timeframe: 7 weeks

Key Topics:

  • The World Wars
  • The global depression
  • The Cold War in the developed world
  • The end of empires
  • The rise of globalization

Underlying Unit Foundations

These big ideas are addressed across units:

  • Geography
  • Populations
  • Culture
  • State building
  • Economic systems
  • Social structures

Instructional Resources

  • A course framework, primary and secondary source collections, and tasks for key concepts within each unit provide teacher support and student scaffolding for implementing the instructional shifts and shared routines for observation and analysis of sources and evidence-based writing.
  • Local school or district materials can be used alongside the Pre-AP resources during the unit with continued infusion of instructional shifts and routines.

Assessments and Feedback

Each unit includes:

  • Assessments: Short, digital formative quizzes, or learning checkpoints, offer opportunities for actionable feedback within each unit.
  • A performance task (assignment): This performance-based task is scored by the teacher. It features a writing prompt and rubric that build readiness for free-response questions on the AP Exam.