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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 where 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 field of study.

Areas of Focus

Pre-AP World History and Geography emphasizes the following instructional priorities:

  • Evaluating evidence: Students acquire knowledge by evaluating evidence from a wide range of primary and secondary sources.
  • Incorporating evidence: Students demonstrate command of quantitative, qualitative, and spatial data by effectively incorporating them into written and oral arguments.
  • Explaining historical and geographic relationships: Students explain relationships among events and people by marshaling 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 periods. The geography unit is universal; all schools must teach it. Out of the six world history units, schools choose and implement the three consecutive units that best align with their local and state standards. Schools don’t 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 and World Regions

Timeframe: 7 weeks

Key topics:

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

Unit title: The Ancient Period, Before 600 BCE

Timeframe: 7 weeks

Key topics:

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

Unit title: The Classical Period, c. 600 BCE to c. 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: The Postclassical Period, c. 600 CE to c. 1450

Timeframe: 7 weeks

Key Topics:

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

Unit title: The Early Modern Period, c. 1450 to c. 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: The Modern Period, c. 1750 to c. 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: The Contemporary Period, c. 1914 to the Present

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

Schools that officially implement a Pre-AP course will receive access to instructional resources for each unit. These resources don’t constitute a full day-by-day curriculum. Instead, they provide support and modeling as teachers design instruction for each unit.

Pre-AP World History and Geography instructional resources include:

  • A course framework, primary and secondary source sets, and model lessons for selected key concepts within each unit that provide guidance and models for teaching the course.
  • Pre-AP resources that can be used alongside local school or district materials during the unit with continued infusion of the areas of focus and shared principles.

Assessments and Feedback

Each unit includes a variety of opportunities for meaningful feedback:

  • Curriculum-embedded assessments: learning checkpoints consisting of short writing tasks scored by teachers
  • 2 unit quizzes: short online assessments with automated scoring and reporting
  • 1 performance task: source-based analysis and writing prompts that build readiness for AP history exams, with clear scoring guidelines for teachers