2020 AP World History Exam: Coronavirus Edition.

Hey all you cool cats and kittens out there, thanks for wanting to know more about the AP World History Exam is affected by the coronavirus.  Here’s what you need to know.

The Exam date is Thursday, May 21 at 11am pst. The College Board released THIS INFORMATION on May 1 about how to take and submit this exam from home.

Students will be given 45 minutes to read and respond and then 5 minutes to upload their response.  The Exam will consist of ONE Document Based Question consisting of 5 documents.  Yes, you read that right – ONE DBQ.  I know… I know… !!

Here is the RUBRIC the College Board released for the ‘modified DBQ’ (#coronavirusedition).  Here is Mr. Cameron’s version of that RUBRIC – there’s a bit more explanation into some of the requirements.

What’s covered on the 2020 #coronavirusedition?  c. 1200 C.E. to c. 1900 C.E.. Approx. 700 years.  That’s it.  Yes.  Really.

If we were to break the Units covered in this Exam according to our 6 Key Concept Packets as we did in class, that means you only have to review the end of the Post-Classical Era (the end-ish of Unit 3) thru the Modern Era (Unit 5).  This is how we addressed the chronological sequence of “World History” together as a class.

If we were to break the Units according to what is available from the College Board, including myap.collegeboard.org and the YouTube channel for AP World History, you’ll only cover content from what-they-call ‘Units 1-6’: from c. 1200 C.E. to c. 1900 C.E..  Please note that the chronological scope and sequencing of “Units” according to the College Board is different from the chronological scope and sequencing of what we did in class.  No matter what we might call a “Unit” of study, you’re only responsible for content c. 1200 C.E. thru c. 1900 C.E.. Apologies for this historiographical-hiccup.

Use the two above sources provided by the College Board.  Use all of your amply annotated DBQs and applicable Key Concept Packets from class.  Use the “RUBRIC” for the 2020 edition of the Exam, seen above.  Use the additional information on the different “Units” pages on the Menu tab of this here course website, including the references to maps in your Textbook.  There will be no sort of additional review provided this year due to the pandemic of the Coronavirus.

Please do not hesitate to contact Mr. C w’ any questions via e-mail: eli.cameron@sduhsd.net

Winter Break Homework

Transitioning between the Modern and Contemporary eras requires us to inquire into the transformation in the way humans understand our own history, as well as the relationship between history and science.  Certainly, the 20th century saw wildly rapid and complex technological advancements – how did those advancements change the way we understand the past?  This historiographical question introduces the first Key Concept of the Contemporary Era – Science and the Environment – as it inquires into the rapid advances in science and technology that altered the understanding of the universe and the natural world and led to advances in communication, transportation, industry, agriculture, and medicine.

To introduce this Key Concept over Winter Break, students are to read David Christian‘s 2009 publication of “History and Science After the Chronometric Revolution” (pages 441-456 of embedded source), and respond to the following in preparation for a Socratic Seminar upon our return to school:

  • Define the terms ‘chronometric revolution,’ ‘taxonomies,’ and ‘historiography.’
  • Describe the relationship between “our taxonomies of knowledge” and the first chronometric revolution.  Describe the relationship between “our taxonomies of knowledge” and the second chronometric revolution.  Contrast the two ‘chronometric revolutions’ discussed.
  • (Annotate, along the way, for specific proper nouns #vocab that inform your understanding to the above questions, as well as the prompt below.)

Watch this here Crash Course video on “How the Industrial Age Changed Our Perspective” to clarify some of the ideas presented in David Christian’s essay, as it emphasizes important characteristics of the later Modern Era as a way to understand the development of the second chronometric revolution.

Watch this here PBS Eons video “The Missing Link That Wasn’t” to illustrate some of the ideas presented in David Christian’s essay, regarding how our understanding of the process of evolution has improved over time.

Watch this here video from The Economist from summer of 2020 on how Covid-19 has the potential to reshape the idea of what it means to “go to work”.

Browse these Alternative Periodic Tables to reemphasize how there are a LOT of ways to conceptualize our complex world.  You’ll notice that the general theme of all of this work centers on classification and organization.  Keep that in mind moving forward.

Notice how this work, to an extent, returns to where we began class in Week 1.  Open this here Week 1 link in a new tab.  Take out/start a fresh page of paper.  Scroll through that post from the beginning of the semester, and respond to the following:

  • Evaluate the extent to which the content addressed in Week 1 is addressed in the content of the Winter Break work.  Summarily, explain how all of this information applies far beyond this class.

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Thank you for volunteering to take an AP class!  Enjoy it.  Please single-space your work or neatly write it by hand.  Plan a study/work date with friends.  Learning is a social activity, and more fun with others.  Mr. C suggests students individually work through the reading and the bullet-point/SAQ-style prompts seen above the “Railroads” Crash Course video and then get together in a group to tackle the DBQ-style prompt seen below the Crash Course video.  And no, that doesn’t mean a group can submit a ‘group copy’ of work – everyone is responsible for their own work – this is all merely a suggestion of how to most effectively complete the work.

Week 1: Welcome to AP World History!

An Inquiry Into the Nature, Reasoning and Scale of Story-Telling, History & Historiography

Welcome to AP World History with Mr. Cameron! After introducing some basic course logistics like the syllabus and course website, we’re going straight into engaging some historical reasoning skills & disciplinary practices that will stick with us throughout our semester.

1) Analyzing historical evidence: Why Study History – Historical Reasoning Activity (and the PPT…).  Also: QUIZ: How Good Are You At Detecting Bias?  Mr. Cameron looks forward to spending more time with primary and secondary source analysis; more on that next week.

2) Historical reasoning skills are handy even while addressing a subject that many of us take for granted: what does earth look like?  But let’s problematize the whole concept of geography and cartography, shall we??  See: Geography & Cartography as Historiography. Let’s record the major physical and topographical features of our lovely planet; then we may begin with an inquiry into a discussion of CARTOGRAPHY and METHODOLOGY as tools of historiography.  

3) One piece of methodology inherent in this course relates to how we conceptualize the THEMES of history.  Let’s spend a bit more time with the THEMES of AP World History by Categorizing the SECSE themes!!

4) The historical reasoning skill of contextualization.  In an effort to help us understand the chronological RANGE of APWH, we need to consider the timeline of human events leading up to the point where AP College Board wants us to begin our curriculum with Big History, the Cosmic Calendar and our APWH Focus using the BIG HISTORY TIMELINE.  Where do humans fit in within the broad context of life on earth?? …within the broader context of our universe?

5) Finally, we’ll get organized into our Unit-by-Unit Regionally-Specific Groups.  Click your class period to sign-up: PERIOD 1PERIOD 3PERIOD 4.

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Transitioning from Big History, as inquired into by PBS’ Eons YouTube page, we can then adjust our historical time scale from the geologic to the human scale.  Even though it’s not a major focus of the AP College Board’s curriculum, Mr. Cameron is fascinated by the evolution of humans.  Recognizing the importance of the cognitive revolution and collective learning, how did homo sapiens out-compete the other six human species that existed 100,000 years ago?  One answer might lie in our ability to run – Christopher McDougall: The Humanity of Running.  To problematize the cooperative efforts innate in collective learning, we can read this account of a historian chronicling a constant tool of division among people of earth – Robert Sapolsky: How Your Brain Hates Other People, and How to Make It Think Differently.

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Foundations KC 1: Big Geography and the Peopling of the EarthThroughout the Paleolithic era, humans developed sophisticated technologies and adapted to different geographical environments as they migrated from Africa to Eurasia, Australasia, and the Americas.

Growing archaeological evidence suggests some mixing of different bi-pedal species in the early paleolithic period.  An NPR article from 2013 investigated a new discovery of inter-species breeding; the article was followed-up in 2018 with the (SECSEE?) title of Ancient Bone Reveals Surprising Sex Lives Of Neanderthals.

HOMEWORK: *note ‘due’ v. ‘by’

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While the Cold War ‘lasted from’ the end of WWII thru the early 1990’s, there are many contemporary issues related to the conflict between the Russian Federation and the United States of America.  In June of 2017, a classified National Security Administration document was leaked showcasing the mechanical logistics of HOW the Russian government was able to interfere in the recent 2016 U.S. General Elections.  Later that week, former FBI Director James Comey testified before the Select Senate Intelligence Committeeregarding this issue and how President Trump might have obstructed justice into the U.S. government’s inquiry into Russian interference into the election.  Apparently we’re living in the THAW of the Cold War…

To spend a bit of time highlighting the geographic realities of the breakup of the Soviet Union, it’s critical that we revisit what we know about the two competing economic alliances during the Cold War: the capitalist North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the Soviet Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) (and the broader Warsaw Pact), and the IRON CURTAIN separating these two superpowers.   Here is a map of the early division of the capitalist versus communist alliances:

MAP 1:

As the Cold War raged on from the 1950’s thru the late 1980’s, the economic alliances expanded and contracted, ultimately to look like the map, below, by 1990:

MAP 2:

If you’re really interested in the causes of the dissolution/breakup of the Soviet Union, take AP Comparative Government and Politics with Mr. Cameron; we’re just focused on the geographic reality of what territory the USSR (now the Russian Federation, aka Russia) lost as a result of what current Russian President Vladimir Putin described as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the (20th) century.”

MAP 3:

Since the collapse of the USSR, NATO has seen an expansion of its member countries:

MAP 4:

MAP 5:

Much of the Cold War seemed to be a sort of Public Relations campaign to shape public opinion – vilifying one side while glorifying the other.  How did people in the USA and USSR perceive these topics?  How might we describe the perceptions  held by the authors of the documents in “The Early Cold War” DBQ?


Using the above maps, complete this here Breakup of the Soviet Union and the Thaw of the Cold Warworksheet.  If you’re interested in how some of the struggles to reassert the dominance of the Soviet Bloc under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, take a look at some recent events involving the arrests of people your age.  Read Human Rights Watch’s, “Russia: Children, Students Targeted after Protests: Protesters, Parents Face Intimidation, Charges”.



Finally, to consider the 21st century we live in and how drastically different our world is from the world of only 100 years ago, let’s take a short read through the late Oliver Sack’s (2019) comment/op-ed in the New Yorker Magazine titled, “The Machine Stops.”

Using information from Sack’s article and the video below, evaluate the extent to which disciplines outside of the social sciences inform our understanding of history:


  • Please return your Modern World History textbook to Mr. Cameron ASAP.

With our final essay on The Early Cold War (DBQ), we’re going to hear a lot about two socioeconomic systems in hot competition with one another after WWII – communism and capitalism.  Before we jump into the DBQ, we should really spend some time differentiating between these socioeconomic systems.  Mr. Cameron began with a short lecture on The 3 Big Socioeconomic Systems, and then we set off to work on identifying which 3 systems are being described using this here: Capitalism? Socialism? Communism?.  John Green’s Crash Course gives a great overview of these competing socioeconomic systems, so take a gander tonight for homework.

Using the evidence from this video, evaluate the extent to which NFL players in the late 1980’s acted as an extension of the labor movement of the early 20th century.

Let’s start class with a group conversation on yesterday’s essential question based on the groups we formed yesterday, seen in this here Atomic Bomb Group Pairing.  Our goal is to not necessarily argue our point, but rather to hear and understand as many perspectives as possible, and explain why the author has the stance they do. Afterward, we’re getting into how decisions made decades ago can impact our current events and relationships.

Students will read this awesome article highlighting how U.S. presidents to this day deal with the aftermath of the decision made by President Harry Truman in August of 1945: “In Obama’s Visit to Hiroshima, a Complex Calculus of Asian Politics”. Respond to the following questions in this here graphic organizer: The Atomic Age after WWII!

  • What was unique about President Obama’s visit to Hiroshima?
  • What was/were the goal(s) of President Obama’s visit?
  • Draw one comparison between how a decision at the end of both World Wars have incredibly long-lasting impacts on a country on a losing side of war.
  • Assess why President Obama did not apologize for the U.S.’ use of the Atomic Bomb.
  • A Survivor’s Tale: How Hiroshima Shaped a Japanese-America Family (click to read.) How did the atomic bomb shape Kikue Takagi’s family?

Finally, watch John Oliver’s video on the incredibly precarious situation America’s nuclear arsenal is in.  Write a short paragraph reflecting on the totality of this information.  What does it mean to live in the Nuclear/Atomic Age? What BIG IDEA has all of this information left you to consider about the world we live in an age of massive stockpiles of nuclear weapons (see: NUKEMAP) and the remnants of military fallout (see: Propublica’s Bombs in Your Backyard).

It is important to consider the scientific developments leading toward our era of nuclear energy.  Consider this presentation by a nuclear physicist as he weaves the historical context of the development of a radioactive element in impacting our understanding of nuclear energy.

And just for some historiographic cultural inquiryyy, check out this internet sensation from 2003:


By Friday at the end of class, students will submit the following (in order).  Each assignment is worth 10 points.

  1. Imperialism in Asia during the Age of Anxiety (Monday, Jan. 14)
  2. WWII Endgame and Fallout – Lecture Guide & A-Bomb Sources (Tues., Jan. 15)
  3. The Atomic Age after WWII! – Reading Response Guide (Wednesday, Jan. 16)

We’re beginning our inquiry into the endgame of WWII and the decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945.  Our essential question is complex in it’s simplicity: was the U.S. government justified in dropping the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan? We will use the following documents to help us answer that question, and this worksheet – WWII Endgame and Fallout– to organize our ideas, and then break into groupsdepending on the stances students take on the question.

Welcome back! Let’s continue our work with our focus of study: imperial powers exerting their influence during the Age of Anxiety.

Imperial powers are extending into new territories – this is not just a phenomena of European nations, so too are imperial nations in Asia responsible for the same sort of aggressive territorial expansion. Today, we will examine the Japanese invasion of Manchuria, China.  We will organize our work using this graphic organizer: Imperialism in Asia during the Age of Anxiety.


  1. Context: What prior international treaty set limitations on imperial powers?  See: the Nine Powers Treaty of 1922 & the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928
  2. “The Spark:”What caused Japan to invade China? See the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928.
  3. Justification: How did Japan justify its invasion of China?  See: A Japanese Ambassador on the “Far East Situation”
  4. Concrete Details: Quantify the human loss of the invasion using the chart.

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 7.44.27 AM

  • Concrete Details: Examine the role of Unit 731.  Summarize the work of this unit.  What purpose did this unit serve in actualizing the goals of the Japanese military? Warning: it’s graphic.  Yikes.
  • Concrete Detail: Read “Report #5” from this New York Times article from December, 1937.  Consult a map of China to see the extent and scope of the Japanese invasion that spanned from Manchuria to Nanjing.  Describe the nature of the Japanese invasion of Nanjing.
  • Outcomes: How did the international community respond to Japan’s invasion of China?  Read an excerpt from a news article highlighting some of the most pressing diplomatic developments.
  • Synthesis:watch the video below.  Describe any changes or continuities between the periods of imperial Japan and the contemporary rise of Japanese nationalism.