American Government

Course Syllabus

Mr. Krieger

Ipswich High School

2021-2022 School Year


Course Overview
In this course, we will explore the foundations of the United States government and evaluate the role that our government has today.  Focusing on modern day issues which impact our country and community, we will consider ethical dimensions and tough moral questions.  Civic awareness is the primary focus of this course.  By understanding our government's impact on Ipswich and around the globe, we will be more prepared to take on our roles in U.S. society.   The politics of today will become the history of tomorrow.

Appreciating our rich diversity and recognizing
the significance that diversity has on our nation are goals of this course.  We will look at the American political system from many angles and challenge each other to respect varying views while defending our own belief systems.  

President Warren G. Harding said, "Our most dangerous tendency is to expect too much of government, and at the same time do for it too little."  We will make a difference during this course and hopefully the lessons learned throughout American Government will inspire future civic action.   

Below are the units for our course:

Unit I

Unit II

Unit III

Unit IV

Unit V

Unit VI

Foundations of the U.S. Government

The Constitution

The Legislative Branch

The Executive Branch and Political Parties

The Judiciary

Issues Facing the Nation

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Grading Policy

Your final grade for this course will be determined based on the following formula:

Coursework 85%
Classroom Contribution 15%

Assignments and overall grades will be based on a points system.  Prior to each assignment, you will know the total available points.  The grade will be based on the following calculation:    Total Points Earned Total Possible Points

Assignment Maximum Points
Homework 10
Current Events 100
Reading Quiz 15
Unit Test 100
Unit Project 100
Other Assignments1 Varies

1For other assignments, such as in-class work, research in the library, or special projects, you will be made aware of the possible points when the assignment begins. 

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Homework & Assignments
Homework is an important part of this course.  The homework is meant to enhance our work in the classroom.  Completing the homework will help you understand the subject matter and, hopefully, make it more interesting.  You will be better prepared for class discussions, other assignments, and tests or quizzes.  Likewise, you will have the opportunity to participate in many activities. These activities will range from group presentations to individual projects. I hope the assignments will be engaging and enable you to demonstrate your expertise in the field of politics and American government. Successfully completing and handing-in all of the homework and assignments will improve your grade for the course.

1. Homework/assignments are due at the beginning of class or when collected.

2. Late homework/assignments will not be accepted unless you have an excused absence.

3. You are responsible for obtaining homework/assignments if you are absent.

4. You are responsible for submitting your homework/assignments if you are absent.

5. Homework will be evaluated using the following sliding-scale rubric:



10 Homework shows excellent effort and the work is fully completed
5 Homework shows acceptable effort and the work is mostly completed
0 Homework shows minimal effort or is not submitted when due

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Classroom Contribution -- Sliding Scale

Classroom contribution will be included as part of your quarterly grade.  Classroom contribution represents 15% of your quarterly grade.    

The rubric below outlines the grading criteria:



A+ (100%) Truly exceptional leadership and participation in the classroom by demonstrating an outstanding work ethic, complete focus when working independently, adds significantly to the culture of the class, and willingly goes beyond to bring material from outside the classroom into discussions and the learning environment.
A (95%) Excellent participation in class discussions, often asks thought provoking questions, willingly works with other students during classroom activities, excellent attitude, and/or shows extensive effort towards creating a positive atmosphere in the classroom.
B (85%) Substantial participation in class discussions, usually works well with other students during classroom activities, excellent attitude, and/or shows substantial effort towards creating a positive classroom atmosphere.
C (75%) Acceptable participation in class discussions, sometimes works well with other students during classroom activities, and/or meets some expectations with attitude and contribution to the classroom environment.
D (68%) Rarely or never participates in class discussions, negative attitude, and/or is disruptive in class.
F (25%) Rarely or never participates in class discussions, is disruptive in class, does not engage in group projects, and/or is not part of the "class environment."

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Attendance and classroom contribution are important aspects of the course.  Participating in class advances your knowledge of the material and enables other students to learn from you. Class sessions are also meant to supplement homework and individual research rather than replace or repeat your readings. 


Please refer to the Ipswich High School 2021-2022 Student-Parent Handbook for the attendance policy and the effects absences has on grades.  


It is the student's responsibility to provide documentation for any absences. College visits must receive prior administrative approval to be considered for a waiver. Please note that voluntary student absences (vacations, family trips, etc.) will not be considered for appeal and will count towards a student's total absences for the year. Students are allowed to make up work missed during their absence; however, it should be noted that only individually completed work assignments, quizzes, or tests can be made up. Class participation, collaboration with one’s peers, and interaction with the teacher, from which much knowledge and growth occurs, are all important learning activities that are impossible to make up.

An important note about field trips


Field trips are valuable components of a course curriculum. Throughout the semester, it may be necessary for you to miss our class session(s) to attend a field trip for another course.  Please note that you are responsible for notifying me AT LEAST TWO DAYS IN ADVANCE OF A FIELD TRIP if you are going to be absent. Also, if you are working on a group project, you are responsible for notifying your team members that you will be absent.


If you fail to provide prior notification (AT LEAST TWO SCHOOL DAYS) for an absence due to a field trip, you will not be able to make-up any of the missed work done in class.


An important note about family vacations


Family vacations must be approved by the Main Office PRIOR to your absence.  While I will provide assistance, advanced assignments are not guaranteed.  If you are eligible to submit make-up work, the work must be submitted in accordance with the guidelines included in family vacation policy.  




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Honors Contract
Students may take American Government for honors credit by signing an Honors Contract.
Students who participate in an honors contract should:

  • participate regularly in class discussions,
  • display a high level of critical thinking during class discussions,
  • complete all assignments with an excellent level of quality written and oral work,
  • demonstrate the ability to work independently and as a member of team, and,
  • collaborate with other students to produce work that exceeds expectations.

If you are interested in taking the course for honors credit, please note the following deadline:  Honors Contracts are due by the start of class on Monday, February 3.

Once you sign and submit the Honors Contract, you may not drop the Honors Contract.

Students who do not submit an honors contract by the due date will not be eligible to take the course for honors credit.  The due date is posted on the Assignments/Topic page.