Hot Springs High School

Mr. Noteboom


Course Expectations/Syllabus

Contemporary Issues


Class Description:

Examining and analyzing major current events and issues affecting society within recent history.

An analysis and discussion of the effects modern events have on individuals and groups.
A discussion of how society is shaped by history and how history is shaped by society.


The events and issues of modern society have a dramatic effect on people living in the modern world. In order to better understand the world and the society we live in an understanding of current events and issues and how these events and issues affect society and individuals is needed. Through analysis and discussion of current issues and events a deeper knowledge of the world and society itself will be gained.

The goal of a current events course is for the student to become aware of the major issues of the day and to have an in depth understanding and appreciation of current events. The focus of the class will be issues that affect the student as a resident of the World, the U.S., South Dakota, and Hot Springs. The class will follow daily news events and will be expected to understand the social, political and economic issues on a daily basis. Each week, the class will focus on the historical development of a current issue. For example: The topic may start as news of the Middle East but will then trace the conflict between Israel and their neighbors. The objectives of this course are: to make the connection between current events and history, to enhance the student’s understanding of world events, to encourage students to be informed citizens, and to help them to make intelligent decisions as they take their place in history.

Class Objectives:


Students will:

  1. Identify and examine current events and issues that are affecting modern society.
  2. Discuss and debate current events and issues that are affecting society today.
  3. Evaluate the impact and importance of selected current events and issues on individuals and groups.


Possible Areas of Study will include but are not limited to:


  • Local and state events and issues
  • National and global events and issues
  • Discrimination/Tolerance
  • Gun Control
  • The Economy
  • The Middle East
  • North Korea, Russia, China
  • Politics/Constitutional Issues
  • Terrorism


Class procedures:


  • Research: Issues and events to be discussed and analyzed by the class will need to be researched through various forms of media (Internet, television, newspapers, magazines, books).
  • Discussion: All events and issues being examined will be discussed in a “round table” debate format by the class. PARTICIPATION IS MANDATORY and the information you are able to provide counts for a grade.
  • Analysis Papers: A 1-2 page paper of your view and analysis of a particular issue or event will be submitted following research and discussion of the event. Papers will be graded on analytical explanation and opinions.
  • Handouts: You will receive handouts on a frequent basis that will help you analyze the events we study. These handouts will also serve as a guide for our in class discussion.
  • Projects: Creative technological based projects will be used as assessments depending on the topic covered.
  • “Old School” Current Events: Some days you will simply be asked to bring in an article on a current event. You will need to be prepared to discuss this article with the class.
  • Final Paper/Project: Each member of the class will research a specific current event or issue and present it to the class during the last two weeks of the semester. Presentations will be oral and visual which means some sort of project will need to be utilized during the presentation. A proper research paper will accompany your presentations. Proper citations and a works cited page will be expected.

Quarter Final

  • Final will count for 10% of your final grade. (Current Event Research Assignment)


Because you do not have a textbook for this course, much of what you will study will be from class notes, articles, and handouts. In order to succeed, it will be necessary for you to keep an organized, up-to-date folder. Keeping this folder is your responsibility. If you miss class, make sure you get any notes or handouts that we went over. You will hand in this folder at the end of each quarter. You will also have folder checks as part of your grade so make sure you are always taking notes and completing all the activities and assignments!



Current Events Briefing Assignment
Each student will have their turn on Monday or Thursday to brief the class on a significant current event.
Presentation dates to pick from will be provided.
1.Find a recent current event that connects with one of categories (see next page) and class content.
2.Research your event. To make a quality presentation, you’ll need to read multiple articles.
3.Create a Presentation for the day of your presentation.
DON’T include bulleted lists. There should be very minimal text. I don’t want to watch you do “Powerpoint Karaoke.”
DO include images/political cartoons/infographics.
DO may include YouTube videos (:90 max).
DO include the category or categories that you are connecting your event to (it’s OK to use text here). You should also connect your current event to content you have learned in your other core classes (Science, Math, English, or Social Studies).
DO cite your sources (it’s OK to use text here).
  You have 5 minutes to share the event and answer questions.
Grading - 20 points total
■4 points being ready on your assigned day & having your Presentation on Classroom.
■8 points - Quality of your Slides Presentation - Did you follow the suggestions above?
■8 points - Quality of analysis:
○Did the student clearly tie their event to one of the course themes (see next page)?
○Did the student EXPLAIN what the current event teaches us our world around us? Did they EXPLAIN why it is significant?

Grading Rubric: Nothin’ but Net - Made the Shot - Missed the Shot - Airball.
Recommended Sources:
New York Times - Politics
Politico - Politics News Aggregator
CNN - Politics
■Fox News

Current Event Categories
  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Business
  • Economics
  • Environment
  • Local
  • Politics
  • Pop Culture
  • Science
  • Sports
  • Technology
  • U.S.
  • World