History and Social Science New Hampshire - Tilton School

Social Sciences

Successful historians and social scientists engage with their world. They seek to understand human goodness, interpersonal fairness, and social justice. Successful learners in history and the social sciences probe those moments in history, and in their own lived experience. The best learners will recognize throughout history when the good appears to vanish, allowing injustice, in its many forms, to flourish. Ultimately, successful social scientists become activists, advocating for a theory of being, of societies, of economic systems, and of ecology, that promote the good, the beautiful, and the just.

To become successful in this endeavor, Tilton School students must continue to develop their facility with the School’s Essential Skills. First they must ask good, thought-provoking questions about how the human world works. They must employ research and critical questions skills to understand what has already been learned on the topic. Further, they must consider the perspectives of the multiple stakeholders who are involved in their research. Finally, they must strive to develop their written and oral communication skills, employing responsible research practices, thesis development, and clear, engaging presentation.

Social Sciences Courses

The emphasis of this class will be creating a knowledge base in multiple areas of the study of history. The ultimate goal is to have the students be better historians when they finish their coursework. Content work will begin with work on world geography where students will develop a better knowledge of regions, countries and influential topographic features.

The course then moves into work in two major themes. First is an examination of historically influential government and economic systems where ancient world history will be the starting point and the class will examine the development of these systems. The second theme will be world religions where the origins of some of the major world religions will be examined again using their origination point in ancient history as the backdrop for expanded understanding of the complex situations that have arisen around religion in general. Ancient civilizations that will be studied are: Greece, Rome, China, Japan, and the Middle East.

Skill emphasis in this course will be heavily based in communication, critical thinking, and content knowledge acquisition. Students will work to expand their skill sets in each of these areas in order to have a strong foundation as they enter tenth grade.

Students can earn an Honors designation by completing three projects that require significant self-direction under the guidance of the teacher.

Explorations in World History examines the history of significant global communities and the intersection of communities, ideas and intellectual movements. Connecting traditional learning of significant historical developments in key regions of the world with an examination of current global issues, the course is designed to engage students actively investigating the changing world and the rise and fall of empires and countries and the role that ideas play in the development of societies and cultures.  Students in this course will be focused on how communities, ideas and nations evolve, develop and spread, as well as the increased globalization of the world through migration and exploration and exchange of cultures and ideas. The curriculum is designed to provide students with training and practice in the acquisition of skills, with a clear focus on communication and critical thinking and decision making along with the acquisition of knowledge necessary for the study of history to prepare students for US History the following year. The class is project and communication based, with a focus on the analyzing of primary source material and the application of skills and ideas.

Designed predominantly for juniors, United States History is a course that provides a thematic investigation of the idea of the American Experiment. The main areas of investigation focus on how the United States changes and experiments with its political system, how it addresses and adapts to the changing social and demographic trends and finally how its interactions with the global world impact the economic realities of its citizens and the world at large. In this course, students are challenged to develop critical thinking, and communication skills. Upon completion of this course, students are expected to be able to formulate and defend an argument that is supported by historical evidence and logical discussion. Students are also expected to understand connections that others have made between the past and the present, but also to be able to make those connections themselves and to apply these understandings to their own lives. The core lesson is that the study of history makes a difference in the experiences of today.


Honors credit may be earned by any student enrolled in US History.  To earn honors credit students must complete two extension assessments per trimester.  These assessments range from projects to essays.  All of these assessments require students to display a level of understanding and critical thinking beyond what is required within the scope of the US History curriculum.


A faster-paced and more challenging version of the standard United States History course (above), this course provides a rigorous intellectual challenge for students who are seriously interested in the study of history and who have already demonstrated advanced levels of skills in communication, critical thinking and a strong conceptual understandings world history. The AP program in United States History is designed to provide students with the analytical skills and enduring understandings necessary to deal critically with the problems and issues that are exposed in the course of their study of history.

The course prepares students for intermediate and advanced college courses by making demands upon them equivalent to those made by a full-year introductory college course. Students learn to assess historical materials—their relevance to a given interpretive problem, their reliability, and their importance—and to weigh the evidence and interpretations presented in historical scholarship. The course develops the skills necessary to arrive at conclusions on the basis of an informed judgment and to present reasons and evidence clearly and persuasively in an essay format.

In this course, students investigate the study of human mind and behavior, following the model of a college-level introductory course. There is an emphasis on scientific reasoning and analysis of complex human phenomena, as well as on the application of psychological concepts to real-world issues. Major themes of the course are the relationships between brain and behavior, body and mind, nature and nurture. Core topics include the study of the life span development of an individual, and the subfields of cognitive psychology, social psychology, abnormal psychology and the study of personality. Students spend additional time reviewing and preparing for the AP Psychology exam, offered in May.

This course is designed for qualified students who wish to complete studies in secondary school equivalent to a one-semester college introductory course in government and politics. The course replaces an earlier elective course in Politics offered by the department, while maintaining many of the same learning objectives.

This course examines the nature of government and social structures and is organized around a basic assumption that politics is the science, which examines how groups make collective decisions. The philosophy and theory of government and social structures is examined before moving on to an in-depth analysis of the mechanics of American government. Engaging students in inquiry of the issues revolving around the American political system is essential in preparing them to be lifelong learners and responsible, active citizens. While the major focus of the course is the governmental and political systems of the United States, a lens of comparative study of systems of governance throughout the world is employed when possible to deepen understanding of US government while providing a broad global context for appreciating the strengths and limitations of American democracy. In doing so, this course supports the objective of the Senior/PG program in preparing students for active and informed citizenship in the interconnected global political domain of the 21st century. As in all senior level Social Science courses, students complete a Capstone Inquiry research project.

 Qualified juniors may be permitted to enroll.

This course is designed as a combined course to prepare qualified students for the AP exams in Microeconomics and/or Macroeconomics using a required text by a Nobel Prize winning economist who is a professor emeritus at Princeton. All students are expected to take one of these exams. Students may opt to take both. The course is designed for students with strong mathematical skills, sound critical thinking skills, and the motivation to learn significant content outside of classroom instruction via nightly readings and required video tutorials. 

According to the College Board, the purpose of an AP course in microeconomics is to offer a thorough understanding of the principles of economics that apply to the functions of individual decision-makers, both consumers and producers, within the economic system. It places primary emphasis on the nature and functions of product markets and includes the study of factors that impact markets and of the role of government. Students will be responsible for ingesting considerable concepts independent of daily lessons via approaches including a deep reading of the text.

The course places particular emphasis on the study of national income and price-level determination, and also develops students’ familiarity with economic performance measures, the financial sector, stabilization policies, economic growth, and international economics. The Tilton School AP Economics course will cover each of these domains, with a general focus on one or the other area in each semester. The course will provide students with a rigorous 21st-century learning environment including the use of electronic textbooks and electronic media for sharing course information and discussions. Multiple connections to real-world events supplement traditional concepts and learning in this demanding but highly practical Advanced Placement curriculum. 


What is justice? How do the laws/rules created by societies reflect the values of the people that make up the society? How are laws enforced? What does punishment achieve? How should society balance the rights of individuals within the society with the well-being of the society as a whole? How have the structures of the American Government affected the criminal justice system? These essential questions will guide our in-depth study of the American criminal justice system. Students will examine the processes by which laws are made and enforced and the ways in which society responds to disputes or lawbreaking. The class will examine law enforcement practices and changes that have taken place over the decades in law enforcement. The class will analyze and examine both local and national recent crimes closely to assess patterns of crime in this country, the effectiveness of courts, attitudes of citizens towards the police, and the prisons’ impact on the incarcerated as they combine to function as the criminal justice system. The students will also compare and evaluate the justice system and analyze whether rehabilitative programs and restorative justice systems lower recidivism more than punitive incarceration sentences.


The class will engage in a significant amount of project-based learning. In addition, they will engage in site visits and interactive work with representatives from each area of Criminal Justice.

In Introduction to Psychology, students embark on an investigation of the study of human mind and behavior. There is an emphasis on scientific reasoning and analysis of complex human phenomena, as well as on the application of psychological concepts to real-world issues. Major themes of the course are the relationships between brain and behavior, body and mind, nature and nurture. The course focuses on the major subfields or paradigms, such as biological, behavioral, cognitive, positive and socio-cultural.  This project-driven course challenges students to see the human experience from a variety of perspectives, and examines the variance of human experiences.

This course introduces students to the theory of entrepreneurship and its practical implementation as well as social entrepreneurship and business principles. It focuses on different stages related to the entrepreneurial process, including business model innovation, monetization, and small business management.  Additionally, students explore the traits of entrepreneurs through personal interviews, site visits, and presentations.  Students will also develop skills in written business communication and oral presentations that allow students to integrate entrepreneurship concepts and interact with business experts. Students will prepare pitches, business plans, and marketing plans as well as propose and implement a pop-up business.

This course provides an integrated learning experience in which students simultaneously acquire skills and knowledge in a Social Sciences domain (Economics) and in Mathematics (Statistics). Algebra II and a US History course are prerequisites. By examining conceptual and real-world economic concepts through the utilization of sound statistical practices, students will internalize the core principles of each field in a deep and lasting manner. The course, and this approach, provide a broad background for students who wish to pursue degrees in business or economics at the college level. The work of the course includes formal written assessments, informal class discussions of relevant real-world events, both current and historical, presentations on interdisciplinary projects and ongoing in-depth project work, leading to Capstone presentations. Examples of specific topics and activities include the fiscal policy, the minimum wage,  graphing demand and supply curve shifts, the American financial system and liquidity, command vs. market economies, government’s role in the economy, and trade wars as well as historic economic events including the Great Depression and the financial crisis of 2008.

This course is designed to prepare qualified students for the AP exams in Microeconomics. All students are expected to take the exams. The course is designed for students with strong mathematical skills, sound critical thinking skills, and the motivation to learn significant content outside of classroom instruction via nightly readings and required video tutorials.

Economics is a social science that studies how resources are used and how they can be used to their fullest potential. The curriculum is driven in large part by the criteria outlined by the College Board. Prerequisites include completion of Algebra 2 and US History.

The purpose of the AP course in microeconomics is to give students a thorough understanding of the principles in economics that apply to the functions of individual decision makers, both consumers and producers, within the economic system. The microeconomics part of this course will place an emphasis on the study of factor markets and the role of the government in promoting efficiency and equity in the economy.

Shared Vision

Tilton School students in the Social Sciences emerge from the program with a deeper understanding of their world, a broader perspective of their place in it, their own vision of responsible global citizen, and the rhetorical power to share that vision.