Category Archives: Social Sciences

You’ll find domain-specific material designed to meet Common Core Standards in social studies, along with adapted and differentiated materials that deal with a broad array of conceptual knowledge in the social sciences. See the Taxonomies page for more about this category.

Cultural Literacy: Ego

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the concept of ego. This is a half-page worksheet; the reading is three sentences, though two of them are longish compounds, and there are three comprehension questions.

This is a concept students should understand. The virtue of the reading in this document is that it situates the ego in Freud’s structural theory of mind, (without, interestingly, ever mentioning Sigmund Freud himself) so students will also learn about the id and the superego. This is a good general introduction to this subject. That said, there is clearly room to expand this document (easy for you to accomplish, since like everything on Mark’s Text Terminal, this is a Microsoft Word document) for further exploration or exposition of psychoanalytic theory. If I were to expand this in any way, I would make sure students walked away with a basic understanding of Freud’s biography and his ideas about the psyche.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Cuckold

“Cuckold: The husband of an adulterous wife. The name derives from cuckoo, the chief characteristic of this bird being to deposit its eggs in other birds’ nests. Dr. Johnson explained that ‘it was usual to alarm a husband at the approach of an adulterer by calling Cuckoo, which by mistake was applied in time to the person warned.’ The cuckold was traditionally supposed to wear horns as the attribute of his condition. The usage is ancient; the Romans used to call an adulterer a cuckoo.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

Jane Addams on Democracy

“The cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy.”

Jane Addams

Excerpted from: Schapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Containment

Here is a reading on the United States’ policy of containment along with its accompanying vocabulary-buidling and comprehension worksheet.

This is a good general introduction to this piece of United States foreign policy toward the Soviet Union after World War II. In fact, I would go so far as to say that it is the best short introduction to the topic I’ve seen, presenting the biographies and motivations of the key players, to wit, George F. Kennan and President Harry Truman, as well as a quick analysis of the policy itself.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Tolkien’s 20 Rings of Power

J.R.R. Tolkien’s works are deeply embedded within a lifetime of mythological and philological scholarship that merges strains of Celtic, Norse, Zoroastrian, Chinese, and Byzantine storylines with his own imagination. At the heart of his Lord of the Rings trilogy is the Dark Lord Sauron, who has made twenty rings of power: Three for the Elves; Seven for the Dwarfs; Nine for the Kings of Men; and One, forged in Mount Doom, which will allow him to control all the nineteen ring wearers as explained by the secret rune verse, ‘One ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One ring to bring them all, And in the darkness bind them.’

The ‘Kings of Men’ become the nine (another significant Tolkien number) dark riders—a mounted hit squad devoted to the service of the Dark Lord Sauron. Originally led by the witch-king of Angmar and the easterner Khamu, they were given rings to bind them into obedience to Sauron, and their character, shape, and substance are gradually subsumed until they become spectral Nazgul, ‘ring wraiths.’”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

Eclecticism

“Eclecticism: A theory taught in the late 16th century by the Carracci at their academy in Bologna, based on the idea that the painter should choose the best of various schools and masters and combine these qualities in his own work. In a general sense, borrowing from a variety of a visual sources in the creation of a work of art or architecture.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

Cultural Literacy: Fiscal Year

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on the fiscal year in both concept and practice. It’s a half-page worksheet with a reading of two sentences and three questions.

In other words, it’s a short, basic, but effective general introduction to the fiscal year. I wrote this because I worked in a economics-and-finance-themed high school in Lower Manhattan. But the truth of the matter is that I don’t think I ever had a need to use it. Maybe you will.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Term of Art: Sensorimotor Stage

“sensorimotor stage: A developmental stage in which a child had little ability with language or the use of symbols, but experiences the world through sensation and movement. It is the first of four stages in the theory of cognitive development as described by child psychiatrist Jean Piaget. The sensorimotor stage lasts from birth until about age two.

Infants are normally born with a range of reflexes that ensures their survival, such as sucking and grasping. As the infant adapts these reflexes over time, the child can begin to interact with environment with greater efficiency. By the end of this stage, the child is able to solve simple problems, such as looking for a lost toy or communicating simple needs to a parent or another child. It is also during this stage that the infant develops a sense of object permanence—that awareness that things and people continue to exist even when they cannot be perceived. For example, before the age of two if a parent hides a toy under a pillow in front of the child, the child will not understand that the toy still exists under the pillow. Once a sense of object permanence is developed, the child will understand that the toy hidden under the pillow still exists, and will lift up the pillow to retrieve the toy.

Modern technology was not available in Piaget’s time, so he often used motor tasks to test the cognitive understanding of an infant. With the availability of more advanced techniques that can track an infant’s eye movements or rate of sucking in response to stimuli, researchers now know that infants reach cognitive milestone such as object permanence.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

Antiglobalization

Here is a reading on the antiglobalization movement in the United States along with its attendant vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

Because this relatively short reading focuses on the United States, it serves only as a general introduction to a movement that is, well, global in scale. If you scroll down from here to the sixth post below this one, you’ll find a reading and comprehension worksheet on the Bretton Woods Conference that might complement this reading–or vice versa.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Stephen Leacock on Statistics

“In ancient times they had not statistics so they had to fall back on lies.”

Stephen Leacock

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.