Pre-AP World History Syllabus


Pre-AP World History

Sharyland Advanced Academic Academy 2019-2020


 Teacher:      Mr. Isaac G. Pietrzak           Rm: 204

Email:           Given in class or use "Contact Me" Tab in the Left Margin

Conference:           2nd Block first semester, 5th Block second semester

Tutoring:                  7:30-8:00am M-F; Tuesday 4:00-5:00pm         

 AP WORLD HISTORY 18 Week Course Accelerated Block (90 minutes) Fall 2019 and Spring 2020


 “Our job is not to make up anyone’s mind, but to open minds- to make the agony of decision-making so intense that you can escape only by thinking.”---Fred Friendly, CBS News

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 a Pre-AP class. The approach to studying history in a Pre-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.


The Five Themes of World History

Students in this course must learn to view history thematically. This Pre-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: Mastering the TEKS: World History by Jarret; Houghton Mufflin Harcourt’s World History

Supplemental Materials:


Unit Resources available such as:

  • PPTX
  • Chapter Vocabulary
  • Notes
  • Quizzes
  • “Story of Mankind” questions.
  • Lead4ward World History Field Guide for Learning Experience Vocabulary
  • Video and Electronic Sources:

Millennium Series. CNN
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond. National Geographic Society
Lost Civilizations Series. Time/Life
Civilization Series. BBC
Migrations in Modern History. World History Center



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 do not understand. I will no do your work for you, but I am willing to help. You must pay attention.

2. COME TO CLASS PREPARED WITH ALL REQUIRED MATERIAL. Always assume that you need pen, pencil, paper and notebook despite any unforeseen circumstance. Music will be played in class on a regular basis.

3. TURN IN YOUR ASSIGNMENTS ON TIME. It is your responsibility to keep up with your work. No credit will be given for late work.

4. PROMPTNESS. Be in your seat before the bell rings. Notebooks out. There is no assigned seating unless it becomes a disciplinary situation.

5. ALLOW TEACHER TO TEACH. I will treat you with RESPECT and consideration and it is expected that you will treat peers and adults in a courteous and respectful manner. Be a historian.

6. COMPLY WITH ALL SCHOOL RULES, REGULATIONS, AND POLICIES. It is most important that you know the rules if you are expected to follow them. Read your student handbook. Dress code will be strictly enforced.

7. KEEP THE CLASSROOM (and desks) CLEAN. Put trash in the trash can by the door. Bottled water will be allowed in class.

8. 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, and essays (Short Answer, DBQ’s, and FRQ’s). You will often have reading quizzes but you may use your handwritten notes on your reading quizzes.

9. ABSENCES. If you are absent a day, please let me know via email. If posted 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 a textbook chapter in a week.

10. KEY CONCEPTS. These are goals that will be accomplished during the study of the chapter or unit. Use them as study guides. There are learning 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 these as well.

11. 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.

12. PARTICIPATION. Everyone is expected to answer oral questions, ask questions and participate in class and group discussions. 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 disciplinary action.

13. 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, and assisting fellow students with notes will not be considered cheating.

14. ATTENDANCE. Please avoid absences. Due to the accelerated block schedule, 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.

15. 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 (sitting wherever you want)

 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 step outside of class to privately discuss issue.)

3. Assignment to Detention Hall (30 minutes after school or at lunch with prior notice to student and parents)

4. Parent-Teacher conference (usually a telephone call or email at first, then later a request to come to school)

5. Academic/Behavioral Referral to Administration.


Students and parents should be aware that major disruptions or infractions would result in the student being sent to the principal without consideration 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.


 Timeline of Content

Week 0

Introduce Syllabus, Course Expectations, and Review Chapters 1-4: How to Answer Multiple-Choice Questions, How to Answer Data-Based Questions, and How to Interpret Historical Sources

 Week 1

Chapter 5: The Rise of River Valley Civilizations. In this chapter, you will learn about the development of farming during the Neolithic Revolution, and about the ancient river valley civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, and China. You will also learn about the ancient Hebrews and their religious beliefs.

 Week 2

Chapter 6: The “Classical Era” in the West. In this chapter, you will learn about the classical civilizations of Persia, Greece, and Rome. These civilizations ruled over the Mediterranean world and much of Europe for more than a thousand years, and gave birth to great works of philosophy, aft, science, music and literature.

 Week 3

Chapter 7: The “Classical Era” in the East. In this chapter, you will focus on the civilizations that thrived in the East. You will examine China’s Zhou, Qin, and Han Dynasties, and India’s Maurya and Gupta Empires. These civilizations flourished in the East during this same time period as Greece and Rome. They established Hinduism, the caste system in India, and created a unified empire in China.

 Week 4

Chapter 8: The Middle Ages in Europe. In this chapter, you will look at the events that took place in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. In Eastern Europe, the Byzantine Empire emerged. Western Europe fell into a period of chaos and disorder, which ended with a new social order known as feudalism.

 Week 5

Chapter 9: The Islamic World and Africa. In this chapter, you will learn about the emergence of Islam in the Middle East and how it spread. You will also look at how the African gold-salt trade brought about the spread of ideas and commerce to West Africa.

 Week 6

Chapter 10: Post-Classical Asia and Beyond. In this chapter, you will focus on major developments in the Ottoman Empire, India, China, and Central Asia. You WILL learn how Muslim invaders established Sultanates and the MughaL Empire in India, how the Ottomans captured Constantinople, and how the Mongols conquered an empire stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Black Sea.

 Week 7

Chapter 11: Renaissance and Reformation. In this chapter, you will learn about the causes, characteristics and impact of the Renaissance in Western Europe. You will also look at how the Protestant Reformation forever shattered the unity of the Catholic Church and plunged Europe into a century of war.

 Week 8

Chapter 12: The Americas: Pre-Columbian Empires to Colonies. In this chapter, you will look at the civilizations that flourished in the Americas before the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492 — the Maya, Aztec, and Inca. Then you will learn about European exploration, the Columbian Exchange, and the colonization of the Americas.

 Week 9

Chapter 13: The Old Regime: Absolutism and Enlightenment. In this chapter, you will Learn about the Commercial Revolution, the rise of absolutist rulers in Europe, the English’ Civil War, the Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment.

 Week 10

Chapter 14: The Age of Democratic Revolution. In this chapter, you will learn about the American and French Revolutions and the independence of Latin America. They brought great political changes as well as decades of bitter conflict. In the early nineteenth century, peace was restored but the continuing contest between the forces of change and resistance remained just below the surface.

 Week 11

Chapter 15: The Industrial Revolution. In this chapter, you will learn about the conditions that led to economic changes in Europe and America in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The industrialization of Europe ted to the unification of Italy and Germany as well as the rise of new social movements.

 Week 12

Chapter 16: Imperialism: Europe Reaches Out. In this chapter, you will learn about the causes and impact of European imperialism in the 1th century.

 Week 13

Chapter 17: World War I and the Russian Revolution. In this chapter, you will learn how a crisis between Austria-Hungary and Serbia set off a chain reaction that led to a major world war. Russia left the war and experienced a Communist revolution. After the war, the imperial governments of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey disappeared, while new nations emerged in Eastern Europe.

 Week 14

Chapter 18: The Great Depression and World War II. In this chapter, you will examine the prosperity in the Late 1920s, the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the rise of brutal fascist dictators Like Adolf Hitler. Then you will learn about the major events of World War II.

 Week 15

Chapter 19: Decolonization and the Cold War. In this chapter, you will learn how the war brought an end to European colonial rule over much of the world. The Soviet Union occupied Eastern Europe, while the United States possessed unparalleled economic strength and the atomic bomb. The rivalry of these superpowers unleashed a Cold War that affected every part of the globe for the next fifty years.

 Week 16

Chapter 20: Challenges in Our World Today. In this chapter, you will learn how the collapse of Soviet Communism has led to new challenges. In the Middle East, Israel has struggled to co-exist with its Arab neighbors, while the rise of radical Islamic Fundamentalism has contributed to a growth in global terrorism. In other regions, various ethnic groups have faced the threat of genocide. 


For EXTRA information, I encourage you to watch these videos. They are very detailed and excellent for Pre-AP World History Review.

John Green's Crash Course in World History 

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I encourage students to watch these three videos to introduced the analytical processes used in Social Sciences to delve deeper into content matter.

Documentary Series of Jared Diamond's book, "Guns, Germs, and Steel."
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Disclaimer: The opinions and/or advertisements supported in the above linked videos or on
YouTube are not endorsed by this instructor or Sharyland I.S.D.