High School

Social Problems 2

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

The Social Problems II course continues to examine the social problems that affect individuals and societies in the world today. Students learn about the overall structure of the social problem as well as how it impacts their lives. Each unit focuses on a particular social problem, including racial discrimination, drug abuse, the loss of community, and urban sprawl, and discusses possible solutions at both individual and structural levels. Students examine the connections in each issue between societies, individuals, governments, and the global arena.

Major Topics and Concepts

  • Learn about alienation and anomie in society and their effects on individuals.
  • Discuss the issues in developing personal identities in modern society.
  • Investigate whether individualism is declining.
  • Examine whether communities are decreasing in modern society or changing form.
  • Discuss youth suicide and how modern society may affect it.
  • Learn about consumption and consumerism.
  • Examine how “consumers” were created after the Industrial Revolution.
  • Discuss the characteristics of a culture of consumption.
  • Look at the differing consumption levels around the world.
  • Investigate the effects of consumption and consumerism on individuals and society.
  • Learn about homelessness and how it is defined.
  • Discuss why it is difficult to know how many people are homeless in society.
  • Investigate some of the causes of homelessness.
  • Examine the effects of homelessness on families, youths, the elderly, veterans, and the rural poor.
  • Look at some ways that homelessness might be reduced in society.
  • Learn what obesity is and how it is measured.
  • Look at how many people around the world are considered obese and what the predictions are for the future.
  • Examine what factors encourage obesity in modern society.
  • Investigate the consequences that obesity can have for individuals and society.
  • Discuss some ways to potentially reduce obesity in society.
  • Learn about identity theft and the consequences for individuals.
  • Examine why people may have less privacy in the modern age and what technologies are contributing to this area of concern.
  • Discuss the digital divide and how it contributes to inequality around the world.
  • Investigate the growth of science and technology in society and why this has occurred.
  • Examine how new technologies and advances in science can have unintended negative consequences on individuals and society.
  • Learn how cults, gangs, and extremist groups are defined and what problems there are in defining groups with these labels.
  • Examine why individuals join problematic groups and why they continue to participate despite the negative labels.
  • Look at the effects that problematic groups have on individuals and society.
  • Investigate several problematic groups, including their goals, activities, and role in society.
  • Discuss the risks that problematic groups may have for individuals and society.
  • Learn what alcohol and drug abuse are and how large this problem is in society.
  • Look at some of the causes of alcohol and drug abuse at both the individual and societal levels.
  • Investigate the effects that alcohol and drug abuse have on society.
  • Examine some of the ways that individuals and groups have coped with and tried to reduce this issue.
  • Discuss the War on Drugs and whether these policies have been successful or not in reducing drug use.
  • Understand the different facilities used to hold and incarcerate offenders.
  • Learn about the history of the correctional system.
  • Examine the cost of correctional institutions to society.
  • Discuss probation and why it is used.
  • Examine alternative sanctions, such as house arrest and community service.


Effects of Modern Society on Individuals

Students will demonstrate an understanding of the effects of modern society on individuals by describing alienation and anomie, explaining issues in developing personal identities in modern society, and evaluating societal pressures on individuals.

Consumption and Consumerism Problems

Students will demonstrate an understanding of consumption and consumerism problems by explaining characteristics of consumers and consumption, explaining factors contributing to overconsumption, and evaluating the effects of consumerism and overconsumption.

Persons Experiencing Homelessness

Students will demonstrate an understanding of persons experiencing homelessness by explaining causes of homelessness, differentiating the effects of experiencing homelessness, and comparing solutions to reduce rural and urban homelessness.

Obesity and Health Problems

Students will demonstrate an understanding of obesity and health problems by explaining the growth of obesity, analyzing causes of obesity, and evaluating health risks and societal consequences of obesity.

Science and Technology Problems

Students will demonstrate an understanding of science and technology problems by explaining technology practices contributing to social problems, evaluating social problems that arise from technology, and describing consequences of new technologies and scientific advances.

Problematic Groups

Students will demonstrate an understanding of problematic groups by describing groups posing moral issues or danger, comparing reasons for membership in problematic groups and explaining the effects of problematic groups on individuals and society.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Problems

Students will demonstrate an understanding of alcohol and drug abuse problems by explaining causes of substance abuse for individuals and society, differentiating effects of alcohol and drug abuse on society, and evaluating the reduction of the effects of alcohol and drug abuse on society.


Students will demonstrate an understanding of globalization by explaining the causes for globalization, describing the effects of globalization and explaining the future effects of globalization.