High School

Social Problems 1

0.5 Credits
18 weeks
Cheerful teenage girl smiling at the camera while sitting with a group of youth peace activists.

Students will learn more about the challenges facing societies and the relationships between societies, governments, and individuals in these areas. Each unit will focus on a particular area of social concern, often with a global view, and examine possible solutions at both a structural and individual level.

Major Topics and Concepts

  • Understand social problems and what elements are commonly found in social problems.
  • Review the different stages of a social problem.
  • Discuss some of the issues in studying social problems.
  • Examine the two types of social problems.
  • Discuss two approaches to social problems.
  • Understand what makes up the mass media.
  • Discuss how the media affect what is seen as a social problem.
  • Learn how gatekeeping, agenda setting, and framing affect the perceptions of social problems.
  • Examine how the media was used in the Rwandan genocide.
  • Investigate claims that the media are connected to social problems like violence and racism.
  • Understand the different ways of defining poverty and deprivation.
  • Understand the extent of poverty in North America and around the world.
  • Examine the possible causes of poverty.
  • Investigate the costs of poverty for individuals and society.
  • Discuss potential ways to decrease poverty.
  • Understand some of the social problems affecting the educational system.
  • Discuss the benefits of desegregation and the issues in implementing desegregation.
  • Understand what tracking is and the effects that this practice can have.
  • Examine school violence and some of the solutions that have been suggested.
  • Investigate some of the solutions that have been suggested for educational problems.
  • Understand the global AIDS epidemic and the patterns of transmission.
  • Discuss the abortion and euthanasia controversies.
  • Investigate how health is related to economics.
  • Examine some of the problems in the United States health care system.
  • Discuss how health care might become more equal throughout society.
  • Review the different types of crime in society.
  • Discuss the history of crime and how urbanization affects crime rates.
  • Investigate theories on why individuals commit crimes.
  • Understand how social issues like poverty influence crime rates.
  • Think about how to decrease crime rates in society.
  • Examine the effects that overpopulation has on individuals and society.
  • Investigate how many people the earth can support and feed.
  • Discuss different ways to reduce population growth globally.
  • Learn how cultural values and practices influence environmental problems.
  • Discuss the social consequences of environmental issues.
  • Examine various theories on what causes war.
  • Understand the costs of war for individuals, societies, and countries.
  • Discuss how the arms race began and what form it currently takes.
  • Investigate some of the different types of terrorism.
  • Look at the weapons that terrorists might use and what effects they might have on individuals and society.


Analyzing Social Problems

Students will demonstrate an understanding of analyzing social problems by evaluating elements of a social problem, explaining stages of social problems, and describing approaches to social problems.

The Effects of Mass Media

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the effects of mass media by explaining distribution of information to large audiences, comparing positive and negative influences of mass media, and explaining the effect of mass media exposure.

Social Problems Connected to Poverty

Students will demonstrate an understanding of social problems connected to poverty by describing causes of poverty, evaluating the possible costs of poverty, and comparing solutions to decrease poverty.

Social Problems in Education

Students will demonstrate an understanding of social problems in education by explaining factors that influence learning environments, describing responsibilities of the educational system, and evaluating solutions for educational problems.

Social Problems in Health Care

Students will demonstrate an understanding of social problems in health care by evaluating health and economic development, explaining bioethics controversies, and comparing social problems in the healthcare system.

Social Problem of Crime

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the social problem of crime by describing types of crimes, explaining theories for the existence of crime, and explaining solutions to decrease crime.

Population and the Environmental Crisis

Students will demonstrate an understanding of population and the environmental crisis by explaining effects of overpopulation, describing types of resources, and evaluating sources of environmental problems.

Social Problems of War and Terrorism

Students will demonstrate an understanding of social problems of war and terrorism by analyzing theories on causes of war, evaluating the costs of war, and differentiating types of terrorism.