Westbury High School AP WORLD HISTORY       2015-2016 School Year

Teacher: Aaron Harris

“History comes from a Greek word that simply means “knowledge through investigation.”

Just whose history are we studying? The history of the human race and how humankind developed in time encompasses the study of philosophy, art, language and literature and political history.  We will avoid the stereotypical Eurocentric approach to World History.  We study people, places, events and how all of these relate in time? What effect did a person have upon an event? Where did an event happen and why is that important? We can understand others and ourselves by studying history. We can learn to be more tolerant of others, maybe even be front runners in avoiding future wars–or know when our only recourse is to fight. This is an AP class. The approach to studying history in an AP class is different from in regular classes. We ask how and why and analyze events critically.  We study the interaction and impact of systems on a global scale.

Contact Information: Mr. Aaron Harris (713) 726-2148 x 431


 The Five Themes of AP World History

Students in this course must learn to view history thematically. The AP World History course is organized around five overarching themes that serve as unifying threads throughout the course, helping students to relate what is particular about each time period or society to a “big picture” of history. The themes also provide a way to organize comparisons and analyze change and continuity over time. Consequently, virtually all study of history in this class will be tied back to these themes by utilizing a “SPICE” acronym.

 Social-Development and transformation of social structures

  • Gender roles and relations
  • Family and kinship
  • Racial and ethnic constructions
  • Social and economic classes

Political- State building, expansion and conflict

  • Political structures and forms of governance
  • Empires
  • Nations and nationalism
  • Revolts and revolutions
  • Regional, transregional, and global structures and organizations

Interaction between humans and the environment

  • Demography and disease
  • Migration
  • Patterns of settlement
  • Technology

Cultural- Development and interaction of cultures

  • Religions
  • Belief systems, philosophies and ideologies
  • Science and technology
  • The arts and architecture

Economic- Creation, expansion and interaction of economic systems

  • Agricultural and pastoral production
  • Trade and commerce
  • Labor systems
  • Industrialization
  • Capitalism and socialism

Habits of Mind:

  • Constructing and evaluating arguments: using evidence to make plausible arguments
  • Using documents and other primary data: developing the skills necessary to analyze point of view, context, and bias, and to understand and interpret information
  • Assessing issues of change and continuity over time, including the capacity to deal with change as a process and with questions of causation
  • Understanding diversity of interpretations through analysis of context, point of view, and frame of reference.
  • Seeing global patterns and processes over time and space while also connecting local developments to global ones and moving through levels of generalizations from the global to the particular
  • Comparing within and among societies, including comparing societies reactions to global processes
  • Being aware of human commonalities and differences while assessing claims of universal standards, and understanding culturally diverse ideas and values in historical context

 Texts:  Student Text: Bulliet, Richard & others. The Earth and Its Peoples. (2nd Edition) Houghton Mifflin Co. New York: 2001

Class Set Text: Strayer, Robert W. Ways of the World with Sources for AP*, (2nd Edition) Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003. VitalSource Bookshelf Online.

Standage, Tom. A History of World in 6 Glasses. Walker Publishing Company Inc. New York, 2006.

Materials Needed in class daily: 

  1. 5-subject notebook
  2. 1-subject notebook (to be kept in the classroom for tests)
  3. #2 Pencils
  4. Black, Blue and Red Pens
  5. 5 colors of highlighters (Preferably: blue, green, yellow, pink and orange.)
  6. Laptop

Breakdown of Grading:

 Tests/Projects/DBQ                                                                                                                  40%

Quizzes/Homework/Daily                                                                                                        60%



Tests: There will be a comprehensive multiple-choice and essay test at the end of every unit. Units 2-6 will have questions from the previous units so to make sure that students understand there is connections between units.

Projects: These will not take the place of tests but will be weighted the same.  During some units, students will participate in projects and teach their fellow students what they have learned.

DBQs:  Document-based questions are a key aspect of the AP Exam.  Students will be given at least one per unit.

Primary Source Analysis: In addition to DBQs, students will be expected to analyze primary sources from units in order to better understand the historical contexts taught in the course.

World History Artifact Posting Assignment: The teacher will set parameters each unit for these artifacts in order to ensure that students recognize that the study of history has been shaped by the findings and methods of other disciplines (archeology, visual arts, geography, political science). They will then post an image of the artifact along with a discussion that identifies the artifact (who, what, when, where, why significant) and addresses what the artifact says (indicates, suggests) about politics, society or culture in the time and place it was made. Classmates will then use the elements of critical thinking to organize class discussion. Each student in the class will be required to ask a question about the artifact that seeks to increase the clarity, accuracy and precision of the conversation. The student posting the artifact must then answer the questions posed. Answering these questions may require further research. Questions and answers should demonstrate that the respective authors put honest thought into both the question and the answer. Throughout, students must cite the sources of the information provided. The initial artifact posts are due after the unit has been studied for one week. Classmates writing queries should post their questions from that point until the end of the unit.

Quizzes: Each reading assignment will have a subsequent quiz.  Students will be allowed to use their handwritten in their own handwriting notes for these quizzes.  Quizzes will usually be 5 questions and can be multiple-choice or short answer.

Blogs: This class may utilize blogging as a way for students to share with classmates their findings on outside assignments.  Students will use the blogs in order to complete their WH Artifact assignments.  Student blogs will also be used weekly in order to stay up to date with current events.  Students will link in-class learning to current WORLD news. Additional blogging assignments will be given at the teacher’s discretion.

Twitter: Students will be required to have a Twitter account for this class.  The classroom account is @mrhclassroom, which will have updates on tests and classroom information.  Students will be required to post daily with a no more than 100 character summarization of the day’s learning.  A hashtag will be given in class.  If there are concerns, parents need to contact the teacher directly.

*This is not an extensive list of assignments.  Readings and other assignments will be assigned throughout the year that are not listed.  Students will be given instructions as to what category of grading assignments will be considered.


IMPORTANT! : Not all content will be covered in class, but it will still be included in quizzes and exams.  It is the responsibility of the student to keep up on their readings to ensure that they have all the information necessary for success in this course.


 Posters: Students can get credit for the equal of one daily assignment per unit for the completion of a visual poster for the classroom.  These posters can cover a vocabulary term or an important concept/person/idea/event from the covered units. Posters are due by the day of the exam for the unit. Students must use 90% of the poster board.  If students cannot attain their own material, they must ask the teacher at least a week prior to the end of the unit.

Other opportunities: Students may have other opportunities to gain extra credit (whether a full assignment or extra points on an existing assignment through the year).  If students know of an event that relates to world history and believe it would be a good opportunity for extra credit, they must submit either a flier or a description of said event in writing to the teacher.


 Due to the difficulty of this course, it is imperative that students are in class, prepared to learn, every day. In the case of an absence, it is the student’s job to get the required make up work, not the teacher’s responsibility to track them down. Students will have the same amount of time as the rest of the students to complete missed assignments. Example: If a student is gone on Monday, and they miss an assignment that is due on Tuesday, they will be required to turn it in the day after they return to class.

If a student misses the day of a test, the student will be expected to make up the exam after school on the day they return. Exceptions will have to be discussed with the teacher on a case-by-case basis.

Late work should be a rare exception not the rule. Late work will be accepted but students will receive an 11% grade markdown for any late assignment.  Every day after that that the assignment is late will result in a 10% grade markdown.  No assignments will be accepted after the end of a unit.


All men are made by nature to be equals, therefore no one has a natural right to govern others, and therefore the only justified authority is the authority that is generated out of agreements or covenants. The most basic covenant, the social pact, is the agreement to come together and form a people, a collectivity, which by definition is more than and different from a mere aggregation of individual interests and wills. This act, where individual persons become a people is “the real foundation of society”. Through the collective renunciation of the individual rights and freedom that one has in the State of Nature, and the transfer of these rights to the collective body, a new ‘person’, as it were, is formed. After careful and thoughtful negotiations, these by-laws establish a groundwork for the success of our educational goals as a society.

  1. FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS. This includes those given by me or substitute teachers. Please ask me for help on something you don’t understand. I won’t do your work for you, but I am willing to help. You must pay attention.
  1. COME TO CLASS PREPARED WITH ALL REQUIRED MATERIAL. Always assume that you need pen, pencil, paper, notebook and laptop despite any special period. Music will be played in class on a regular basis. Leave your cellphones and headphones in your locker.
  1. TURN IN YOUR ASSIGNMENTS ON TIME. It is your responsibility to keep up with your work. No credit will be given for late daily assignments.
  1. PROMPTNESS. Be in your seat before the bell rings. Notebooks out. Do the “Do Now” assignment that is on the board.  These assignments will mostly be analysis of quotes and images, but they can change on a daily basis.
  1. ALLOW TEACHER TO TEACH. I’ll treat you with RESPECT and consideration and it’s expected that you will treat peers and adults in a courteous and respectful manner. Be a historian. The “teacher” does not always mean Mr. Harris. You will learn from each other; allow that learning to take place.
  1. COMPLY WITH ALL SCHOOL RULES, REGULATIONS, AND POLICIES. It’s most important that you know the rules if you are expected to follow them. Read your student handbook. Dress code and cell phone policy will be strictly enforced.
  1. KEEP THE CLASSROOM (and desks) CLEAN. Put trash in the trash can by the door. Bottled water will be allowed in class. No gum allowed.
  1. TESTS. These are a way to evaluate your progress and understanding of the material. You will have a variety of these evaluations including oral debates and circles, PBL’s, objective tests, essays (both DBQ’s and FRQ’s). This list is not exhaustive but you will have plenty of time to prepare for anything not on this list. You will often have daily reading quizzes but you may use your handwritten in your own handwriting notes on your reading quizzes.
  1. CALENDAR. I will have a calendar in the front of the room. When I get the website up and running, the calendar will be there as well. Some changes are made during the period but the calendar is usually accurate. You are required to keep up with the reading schedule. The tests are posted on the calendar as well as due dates for major assignments. If you are absent a day, please refer to your calendar. If quizzes or tests are given during your absence, on the day you return you are required to take them. All effort will be given to eliminate overlapping due dates and requiring more than two (2) textbook chapters in a week.
  1. KEY CONCEPTS. These are goals that will be accomplished during the study of the chapter or unit. Use them as study guides. They are reading objectives as well. When we are finished with the chapter or unit, this is what you are expected to know and understand. Your evaluations (tests) come from these objectives. Your test essay questions come from this list as well.
  1. GROUPS. We often work in groups. This requires cooperation and that you pull your own weight. If you have not participated in the group activity and allowed others to do all of the work you risk receiving a zero for the activity or for a daily grade. Forming study groups outside of class is a good way to understand and study the material.
  1. PARTICIPATION. Everyone is expected to answer oral questions, ask questions and participate in class and group discussions. Participation is graded. The learning environment requires maturity and as a class we will make it possible for all to participate comfortably. Rude, unpleasant, or insulting remarks during a class discussion will result in a zero for the assignment.
  1. ETHICAL BEHAVIOR. Do your own work. Work that has been copied from others or plagiarized will not be accepted. **** Cheating on tests or quizzes will result in a zero on that test and parental contact. Honor code violations will result in course-wide restrictions. The honor code will be explained and strict adherence will be required. Establishing study groups, assisting fellow students with notes and combining work on homework assignments will not be considered cheating.
  1. ATTENDANCE. Please avoid absences. Absenteeism can quickly become a very serious problem. Many class activities cannot be reproduced. Often in group work other students are depending upon you to be present with your completed work. Frequent absences inadvertently impact your grade. Make-up work is done outside of class.
  1. AP EXAM. The AP World History Exam is on Thursday, May 12th, 2016 at 8:00a.  Students agree to attend monthly study sessions, as needed, in preparation for the test.
  1. CONSEQUENCES. You make your own choices and just as there are many rewards for correct choices, there are punishments for choices outside the rules. Listed below are both positive and negative consequences:


  1. Praise given to student
  2. Privileges
  3. Academic accolades
  4. Bright future—college, wealth, power, fame…


  1. Verbal or written warning (Simply asking for the behavior to stop or calling out the name)
  2. Student-Teacher conference (may ask student to stay after class with no excuses to the next class)
  3. Detention (These will be served in my room or in a place set by the administration)
  4. Parent-Teacher conference (usually a telephone call at first, then later a request to come to school)
  5. Referral to appropriate house principal.


Students and parents should be aware that major disruptions or infractions would result in the student being sent to the appropriate principal without regard to the outlined discipline plan at the discretion of the teacher. My purpose is to help you have a successful year.   We are studying the past to help form our future. Let’s have a great year in OUR society.

The Seven Units of AP World History –Periodization and Historical Objectives

Unit 1: Essay Writing for AP World History                                                                        (2 Weeks)


  1. Writing to Rubrics

What is a rubric?

Understanding the thesis statement

Law & Order approach to essay writing

  1. Document-Based Question

Dealing with primary source documents

Understanding point of view

Making connections between documents

Using evidence

Students will write DBQ essays throughout the course and analyze quantitative sources through study and interpretation of graphs, charts and tables in:

Document-Based Questions released by the College Board

  1. Change/Continuity over time

Maintaining chronology in history

Understanding causation

Impacts in global context

Using evidence

Students will write FRQ essays throughout the course using:

Continuity/Change Over Time Questions released by the College Board

  1. Comparative

Analyzing comparisons between and among societies

Similarities and differences

Using evidence

Students will write FRQ essays throughout the course using:

Comparative Questions released by the College Board


Unit 2: 8000BCE To 600 BCE- Technological and Environmental Transformations

 Key Concepts

  • Big Geography and the Peopling of the Earth
  • Neolithic Revolution and Early Agricultural Societies
  • Development and Interactions of Early Agricultural, Pastoral and Urban Societies

Topics for Overview include:

  • Prehistoric Societies
  • From Foraging to Agricultural and Pastoral Societies
  • Early Civilizations: Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, the Americas, Africa and Oceania

Special Focus:

  • Issues Regarding the Use of the Concept of Civilization

Activities and Skill Development

  • Students will identify and analyze the causes and consequences of the Neolithic Revolution in the major river valleys as well as in Sub-Saharan Africa and Papua New Guinea
  • Class Discussion
    • How were gender roles changed by the Neolithic Revolution?
  • Collaborative Group-Jigsaw
    • Students will analyze how geography affected the development of political, social, economic and belief systems in the earliest civilizations in:
      • Mesopotamia
      • Egypt
      • South Asia
      • East Asia
      • Mesoamerica
      • Andes
    • Each Group will examine a different civilization and then compare findings with a new group where each student examined a different civilization.
  • Using the textbook and the internet, students will explore the findings of archeologists and anthropologists have contributed to our knowledge of one of the following cultures: Harrapan, Shang, or Mesopotamia.

Unit 3: 600 BCE- 600 CE- Organization and Reorganization of Human Societies

 Key Concepts:

  • Development and Codification of Religious and Cultural Traditions
  • Development of States and Empires
  • Emergence of Transregional Networks of Communication and Exchange

Topics for Overview include:

  • Classical Civilizations
  • Major Belief Systems: Religion and Philosophy
  • Early Trading Networks

Special Focus:

  • World Religions
    • Animism focusing on Australasia and Sub-Saharan Africa
    • Judaism and Christianity
    • Hinduism and Buddhism
    • Daoism and Confucianism
  • Developments in Mesoamerica and Andean South America: Moche and Maya
  • Bantu Migration and Its Impact in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Transregional Trade: The Silk Road and the Indian Ocean
  • Developments in China- Development of Imperial Structure and Confucian Society

Activities and Skill Development:

  • Writing a Comparison Essay: Methods of political control in the Classical period; student choice of two- Han China, Mauryan/Gupta India, Imperial Rome and Persian Empire
  • Writing a Change and Continuity-Over-Time Essay: Political and Cultural Changes in the Late Classical Period; students choose China, India, or Rome
  • Students will evaluate the causes and consequences of the decline of the Han, Roman, and Gupta empires
  • Students will map the changes and continuities in long-distance trade networks in the Eastern Hemisphere: Eurasian Silk Roads, Trans-Saharan caravan routes, Indian Ocean sea lanes and Mediterranean sea lanes
  • Group Presentations- Each group will research and present a major world religion/belief system examining:
    • Origin
    • Beliefs and practices
    • Diffusion
  • After reading excerpts from A Forest of Kings by David Friedel and Linda Schele and viewing the PBS Nova program “Cracking the Maya Code,” students will assess the impact that archaeology and iconography have had on the study of history

Unit 4: 600-1450 – Regional and Transregional Interactions

 Key Concepts:

  • Expansion and Intensification of Communication and Exchange Networks
  • Continuity and Innovation of State Forms and Their Interactions
  • Increased Economic Productive Capacity and Its Consequences

Topics for Overview include:

  • Byzantine Empire,Dar-al Islam and Germanic Europe
  • Crusades
  • Sui, Tang, Song and Ming empires
  • Delhi Sultanate
  • The Americas
  • The Turkish Empires
  • Italian City-States
  • Kingdoms and Empires in Africa
  • The Mongol Khanates
  • Trading Networks in the Postclassical World

Special Focus:

  • Islam and the Establishment of an Empire
  • Polynesian Migrations
  • Empires in the Americas: Aztec and Inca
  • Expansion of Trade in the Indian Ocean- the Swahili Coast of East Africa

Activities and Skill Development

  • Writing a Comparison Essay: Comparing the level of technological achievement including production of goods 500-1000; Student choice: Middle East, South Asia, East Asia or Eastern Europe
  • Students will evaluate the causes and consequences of the spread of Islamic empires
  • Students will compare the Polynesian and Viking migrations
  • Writing a Comparison Essay: Effects of Mongol conquest and rule; students choose two- Russia, China, Middle East
  • Class Debates
    • Topic- Were the economic causes of the voyages of the Ming navy in the first half of the 15th century the main reason for their limited use?
    • Topic- Were the tributary and labor obligations in the Aztec and Inca empires more effective than similar obligations in the Eastern Hemisphere?
  • Writing a Change and Continuity-Over-Time Essay:

Changes and continuities in patterns of interactions along the Silk Roads, 200 B.C.E-1450 C.E.

Unit 5: 1450-1750- Global Interactions

 Key Concepts:

  • Globalizing Networks of Communication and Exchange
  • New Forms of Social Organization and Modes of Production
  • State Consolidation and Imperial Expansion

Topics for Overview Include:

Bringing the Eastern and Western Hemispheres Together into One Web

  • Ming and Qing Rule in China
  • Japanese Shogunates
  • The Trading Networks of the Indian Ocean
  • Effects of the Continued Spread of Belief Systems

Special Focus:

  • Three Islamic Empires: Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal
  • Cross-Cultural Interaction: the Columbian Exchange
  • The Atlantic Slave Trade
  • Changes in Western Europe- Roots of the “Rise of the West”

Activities and Skill Development:

  • Students will evaluate the causes and consequences of European maritime expansion, including the development of armed trade using guns and cannons
  • Student project: Each student will apply techniques used by art historians to examine visual displays of power in one of the land or sea based empires that developed in this time period
  • Writing a Comparison Essay:

Processes of empire building; students compare the Spanish Empire to either the Ottoman or Russian Empires

  • Writing a Change and Continuity-Over-Time Essay:

Changes and continuities in trade and commerce in the Indian Ocean Basin 600-1750

Unit 6: 1750-1900- Industrialization and Global Integration

 Key Concepts:

  • Industrialization and Global Capitalism
  • Imperialism and Nation-State Formation
  • Nationalism, Revolution and Reform
  • Global Migration

Topics for Overview include:

  • The Age of Revolutions:

English Revolutions, Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment, American Revolution, French Revolution and Its Fallout in European, Haitian and Latin American Revolutions

  • Global Transformations: Demographic Changes, the End of the Atlantic Slave Trade, Industrial Revolution and Its Impact, Rise of Nationalism, Imperialism and Its Impact on the World

Special Focus:

  • Decline of Imperial China and the Rise of Imperial Japan
  • 19th-Century Imperialism: Sub-Saharan Africa, South and Southeast Asia
  • Comparing the French and Latin American Revolutions
  • Changes in Production in Europe and the Global Impact of Those Changes

Activities include:

  • Writing a Comparison Essay:

Comparing the Roles of Women from 1750 to 1900- East Asia, Western Europe, South Asia, Middle East

  • Students will write a Change and Continuity-Over-Time Essay, evaluating changes in production of goods from 1000 to 1900 in the Eastern Hemisphere

Unit 7: 1900-present- Accelerating Global Change and Realignments

Key Concepts:

  • Science and the Environment
  • Global Conflicts and Their Consequences
  • New Conceptualization of Global Economy and Culture

Topics for Overview include:

  • Crisis and Conflict in the Early 20th Century: Anti-Imperial Movements, World War I, Russian, Chinese and Mexican Revolutions, Depression, Rise of Militaristic and Fascist Societies, World War II
  • Internationalization: Decolonization, the Cold War World, International Organizations, the Post-Cold War, World Globalization

Special Focus:

  • World War I and World War II: Global Causes and Consequences
  • Activity-Skill Development
  • Students will identify and analyze the causes and consequences of the global economic crisis in the 1930s
  • Development of Communism in China, Russia and Cuba
  • Responses to Western Involvement in Sub-Saharan Africa: Imperialism, the Cold War and International Organizations

Activities include:

  • Writing a Comparison Essay: Comparing the political goals and social effects of revolution in China, Russia and Mexico

Students choose two:

  • Writing a Change and Continuity-Over-Time Essay

Changes and Continuities in the formation of national identities 1900-present. Students choose from among the following regions: Middle East, South Asia or Latin America

  • Students debate the benefits and negative consequences of the rapid advances in science during the 20th and early 21st centuries
  • Students trace the development of one form of popular culture in the 20th century and present a graphic or visual display of their research to the class.
  • Students will discuss and evaluate the roles of war, violence and genocide throughout the 20th century as a means of preventing future global conflict.
  • Periodization: Students will evaluate the periodization of AP World History.  Students will be divided into 4 groups and randomly assigned to the periods 600-1450, 1450-1750, 1750-1900 and 1900-present.  Students will come up with a 5 minute presentation covering why the period’s beginning and ending dates were chosen and give justification for altering those beginning and ending dates to better represent periodization in world history.


*This is not an extensive list of assignments.  Readings and other assignments will be assigned throughout the year that are not listed.  Students will be given instructions as to what category of grading assignments will be considered.