AP US Government

AP US Government and Politics
AP Comparative Government
Independent Study, Spring 2019

Independent Study Timeline

Thurs., 21 March, Check-In and Check-Out (see me to check out your 5-Steps textbook)

Thurs., 4 April, 7am or 3pm: Mock AP US Government Exam from 5-Steps textbook

            Your exam will emphasize material from Chapters 12, 13 and 14 (institutions)
Here are the possible FRQ questions.  I will select 4 for your exam.

Thurs., 11 April, 7:30am or 3pm: Mock AP Comparative Government Exam (FRQs only)

            I will provide 8 possible FRQs in advance from which I will select 5 for your exam.  

 Thurs., 25 April, 7am: Make-Up day if you miss either exam above.

Your Grade for this Independent Study:

            Your grade will be the average of your scores on the 2 exams above.

Final Review Sessions

Friday, 3 May at 7:30am - AP US Gov't Review (scores from your FRQ exam) 

Tuesday, 14 May at 7:30am - AP Comp Gov't Review (score from your FRQ exam)

Exam Dates:

Monday, 6 May, 8:00am – AP US Government Exam

Thursday, 16 May, 8:00am – AP Comparative Government Exam

Course Overview
AP US Government and Politics is a semester-long course designed to prepare students to earn a top score on the Advanced Placement Exam in May.  While most students will have already completed an Honors level course in Civics and Economics, AP Government and Politics takes a much more in-depth approach to American political processes and culture. Students can learn more about the specific elements of the course and the exam by visiting the Course Home Page at AP Central.

AP Comparative Government and Politics is also a semester-long course intended as a introduction to college-level international studies that uses the "comparative method" to engage relative differences between systems of government, economies and civil societies around the world.  This course is a case-study of six nations in particular: Nigeria, Mexico, China, Russia, Iran and the United Kingdom.  We will also be studying non-governmental and supra-governmental organizations like the United Nations, the EU, and the African Union to understand the roles and limitations of international partnership and cooperation among nations more generally.  Our final project in Comparative Government is a Model UN simulations based on a current scenario.  You can learn more about this course and the AP exam by visiting the Course Home Page at AP Central.   
Course Elements
In addition to the curriculum framework mandated by the College Board for these courses, students will be required to complete several outside reading assignments, a long-term civic engagement / activism project, a three-week investigative journalism project, as well as a number of in-class simulations related to voting / elections, party structure, Congressional procedure, the federal bureaucratic structure, the federal judiciary, and public opinion polling.  

Daily Schedule





T, 11/13

The Comparative Method

States, Nations and Civil Society

Political Economy

Barron’s Chapter2

Barron’s Chapter 3

Barron’s Chapter 4

Review the practice MC items found at the end of each chapter.




Exam 1

(Chaps. 2-4)

M, 11/19

Democratic and Authoritarian Regimes

(Study this chapter over the Thanksgiving Break, your exam on this material is on Monday)

Barron’s Chapter 5

Barron’s Chapter 6

Review the practice MC items found at the end of each chapter.


United Kingdom

(Study this chapter over the Thanksgiving Break, your exam on this material is on Monday)

Barron’s Chapter 7


M, 11/26



Exam 2

(Chaps. 5-7)


Russian Federation

Barron’s Chapter 8





Exam 3

Chapter 8

M, 12/3

People’s Republic of China

Barron’s Chapter 9





Exam 4

Chapter 9

M, 12/10

United States of Mexico
If school is cancelled, please read Chapter 10 and complete your Institutions and Political Culture chart for Mexico.  The exam will still be Friday.

Barron’s Chapter 10





Exam 5

Chapter 10

M, 12/17

Islamic Republic of Iran

(Study this chapter over the Holiday Break, your exam on this material is on Wednesday 1/2… our first day back.)

Barron’s Chapter 11


W 1/2



Iran Chart due

R, 1/3


Iran Review

Exam 6

Chapter 11


Republic of Nigeria

Barron’s Chapter 12


W, 1/9


Nigeria Review

Nigeria Chart Due
Exam 7
Chapter 12


Comparative Government Practice Exam: Key Concepts


Practice Exam Study Guide

M. 1/14

Final Exam Review



T, 1/15

1st Period Final Exam
Comparative Government 
US Government 


Study Guide for mock AP exams for both courses.


AP Exam Review (30 min)




AP Exam Review (30 min)




AP Exam Review (30 min)





Assignment Assessment (AMSCO)

M, 10/8

Civil Rights

Brown v. Board, p. 305 (Tues)
Letter from Birmingham Jail, p. 309 (Wed)
Oberfell and Bakke, (See these links for more information about these cases.) pp. 331-335 (Thurs)

 Document Analysis HW



Chap 9 Exam

T, 10/16

Citizenship and Opinion Polling
Document Analysis:
Ted Ed on
Pros and Cons of Public Opinion Polling (watch this) (Wed)

Article on Public Opinion Polling (from Brookings Inst. Website) (read this) (Wed)

Voting and Voting Behavior

Document Analysis:
Why People Don’t Vote (Vox article) (read this and explore all links) (Thurs)




Chap 10 and 12 Exam

M, 10/22

Ideology and Policy (11)
Document Analysis
Read this article on Welfare Reform and respond. (Wed)

Political Parties (13)
Document Analysis
Read these two articles and respond: Brief history of super delegates (from Daily Kos) and NYT article on changes to super delegates after 2016 fall out. (Thurs.)




Chap 11 and 13 Exam

M, 10/29

Campaigns and Elections

Document Analysis

Citizens United v FEC pp. 508-510, (Wed.)

The Media




Chap 14 and 16 Exam

M, 11/5

Interest Groups

The Bureaucracy

Project: Iron Triangles and Issue Networks (The Bureaucracy Project)




Chap 5 and 15 Exam




Assignment Assessment

M, 8/27

Course Introduction

What is Political Science?


Theories of Government

FRQ 1: Consider the four theories of government described by social scientists.

  1. Describe a “pro” or advantage for each.
  2. Explain which theory is the worst, and why.

Wilson and Edwards (Chapter 1)

FRQ 1 due (take home)


Political Theory and Philosophy

WtP Lesson 1,

Terms to Know on p. 2, pick 3

Spongy Terms Quiz


Limited Government and Tyranny

WtP Lesson 2

Terms to Know on p. 7, pick 3

Spongy Terms Quiz


Civic Virtue and Classical Republicanism

WtP Lesson 3

Terms to Know on p. 13, pick 3

Spongy Terms Quiz

T, 9/4

Where did “rights” come from?

WtP Lesson 4

Terms to Know on p. 19, pick 3

Spongy Terms Quiz


Rule of Law and English Common Law

WtP Lesson 5

Terms to Know on p. 26, pick 3

Spongy Terms Quiz


Glorious Revolution and Bill of Right

WtP Lesson 6

Terms to Know on p. 30, pick 3

Spongy Terms Quiz


Liberty in Colonial America

WtP Lesson 7

Terms to Know on p. 35, pick 3

Spongy Terms Quiz

M, 9/10

Revolution and Constitution
C-SPAN Documentary Contest

AMSCO, Chapter 1

Document Analysis HW


The Federalist Papers (read me!)
10, 51, 42 and 78

FRQ Exam, MC and FRQ questions pp. 36-41

M, 9/17

Federalism and Fiscal Federalism

Document Analysis
McCulloch v. Maryland, p. 48 (Tues.)
US v. Lopez, p. 59 (Wed.)

AMSCO, Chapter 2

Document Analysis HW



FRQ Exam, MC and FRQ questions from pp. 67-72

M, 9/24

Civil Liberties
AMSCO, Chapter 7

Schenck , pp. 240-1 (Tues)
Tinker, pp. 243-6 (Tues)
New York Times, pp. 250-2 (Wed)
Engel, pp. 254-6 (Wed)
Yoder, pp. 257-260 (Thurs)
McDonald, pp. 264-6 (Thurs)

Document Analysis HW




FRQ Exam, MC and FRQ questions from pp. 270-275

M, 10/1

Due Process and the Accused
AMSCO, Chapter 8

Gideon v. Wainwright, p. 284 (Wed)
Roe v. Wade, p. 288 (Thurs)





FRQ Exam, MC and FRQ question from pp. 294-297

What are “Spongy Terms”?

Rather than a traditional “term identification” style assessment, “spongy term” exams require students to soak up additional context, complexity, and connections in order to apply course concepts to the real world.  Here are the FOUR distinct tasks that students are asked to complete for the term assigned:

  1. Define: Provide a short definition of your term.
  2. Connect: Explain how your term is connected or related to at least two other terms on the list.  Describe the relationship between these terms, how they influence or relate to one another in a manner that showcases some depth of knowledge, not just semantics.
  3. Apply: Explain how this term does or may apply to you, to current events or the present more generally; or you can create a hypothetical scenario to show off what you have learned about how this term applies to the “real world.”
  4. Evaluate: Consider either the pros or cons related to this term, a cost benefit analysis that considers either its benefits or liabilities as a political concept; or you can create an “alternate hypothesis” that argues against conventional wisdom or prevailing values associated with this term.
Civic Engagement Project
As part of this course, students are asked to complete a semester-long civic engagement project of their own design.  The purpose of this project is to have students experience the rigors and challenges of a community organizing, civic activism or consensus-building task.  The parameters of this project are extremely open-ended.  Students can choose any cause or effort, or can engage in an existing effort, so long as they can make the case that they engaged in some form of civic action that involved organizing others around a common, community-based purpose.  Though this is an AP Government and Politics course, students are not required to selected an overtly political or partisan cause.  Civic engagement and activism are much broader than just partisan politics.  At the end of the semester, students will be asked to make a formal presentation to their classmates regarding their project, what they learned, and how they adjusted to challenges along the way.