Academic Decathlon

Course Description and 1st Quarter Syllabus


Course Description

Humanities is a course designed to delve into the branches of knowledge concerned with human thought and culture; essentially, it’s a course about the things that make us “human.”  Students in Humanities will engage in learning in eight different areas for the first three quarters:  language and literature, art appreciation and history, music appreciation and history, social science, science, speech, interview, and essay writing.  All the areas studied will be tied into one particular theme as based on the Academic Decathlon curriculum for the year.  For part of third quarter and all of fourth quarter, students will focus on the art of film and literature, studying the techniques used in these mediums to create meaning beyond the level of basic plot.  The curriculum for this course changes each year, so students interested in taking it junior and senior years can do so.


1st Quarter Syllabus

The following is a tentative outline of what we’ll be covering during first quarter.  For a more detailed and up-to-date look at what we’re doing in class, please visit my website at http://s.spachman.tripod. com/home.htm.  Click on “AcaDeca/Humanities” and go to the class calendar.




What to do “out of class”

Week 1


Important Class Info & Team Building Activity: Survivor Game

Read/Re-read the short selections in the Language and Literature resource; if you haven’t already, begin reading Death Comes for the Archbishop

Week 2


Language & Literature: Short Selections

Continue reading Archbishop and reading/reviewing all Language and Literature resources; begin listening to and reading the Music resources

Week 3



Continue reading Archbishop and L&L resources; continue reading/reviewing the Music resources

Week 4 


Language & Literature: Novel

Beginning work with Speeches

Finish reading Archbishop and L&L resources; work on reading the Art resources

Week 5



More work with Speeches

Continue work with Art reading; review all subjects so far (L&L, Music, Art)

Week 6


Essay Writing and return to Language and Lit. Short Selections

Review all subjects so far; begin work with SuperQuiz resources

Week 7


SuperQuiz: Lewis and Clark

Speech topics selected

Continue work with Superquiz resources; continue work on speeches; begin working with Science resources

Week 8


Essay Writing, Round 2: Focus on SuperQuiz and Novel

Continue working with Science resources

Week 9


Science: Botany

Continue work with Science resources; finish writing/preparing first speech

Week 10


Speech practice and presentations