Skip to main content

Mr. Trainor's Page: Stuyvesant High School

Welcome to Mr. Trainor's Page!

Global History
US Govt and Pol
Member Login

Welcome to Global History I - Mr. Trainor, Instructor


“History must serve, however imperfectly, as our laboratory, and data from the past must serve as our most vital evidence in the unavoidable quest to figure out why our complex species behaves as it does in societal settings. This, fundamentally, is why we cannot stay away from history: it offers the only extensive evidential base for the contemplation and analysis of how societies function, and people need to have some sense of how societies function simply to run their own lives. History Helps Us Understand Change and How the Society We Live in Came to Be The second reason history is inescapable as a subject of serious study follows closely on the first. The past causes the present, and so the future.” – Peter Stearns, American Historical Association, 1998.

“History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” – Mark Twain


This class is designed to introduce you to the study of history.  Throughout the semester we will cover important events in early world history as well as the skills need to understand the world around you today. 

Please click here for the course overview, class policies, and grade breakdown.  

HW#27, due Wed. 11/9.  Current events!  Choose one article to read about anything related to the outcome of the US presidential election.  The source of the article is up to you.  Write a summary of piece including why you chose to read it not to exceed 100 words.  Print out the article, attach the summary and BRING IT TO CLASS!  You may type your summary.  

HW#26, due Mon. 11/7.  Read this overview of the race for the presidency in 2016 by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation).  Watch the videos and click on the links and you will have a nice grasp of how we got here and what is at stake.  Be prepared to discuss in class.

Optional stuff:  For a more advanced description of the state of the race with much more of a focus on the actual issues, see this from The Economist.  For those of you who prefer more of a visual experience watch this long, but very important and widely shared, Frontline documentary about the lives of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and how their upbringing shaped who they are today. 

HW#25, due Fri. 11/4.  In POI, read chapter 5, section 3 on Democracy and Greece's Golden Age.  Next, read this overview of slavery in classical Greece.  Fill out this worksheet (ignore question B at the bottom).  On the back of the worksheet answer the following questions

1.  Explain how the Greeks viewed slavery.

2.  How does the practices described in the Anthony Andrews piece contradict the Athenian reputation as being an open, honest, and just society?

HW#24, due Thurs. 11/3.  Finish chapter 5, section 2 on the Persian Wars.

HW#23, due Tues. 11/1.  In POI, read pgs. 127-131 (stop at "The Persian Wars.").  Next, check out this clip on Sparta and this clip on Athens.  Complete the following assignment:

If you were born on an even day of the month:  List and describe the main social, political, and economic characteristics that characterized Athens.  

If you were born on an odd day of the month:  List and describe the main social, political, and economic characteristics that characterized Sparta.

Bring your descriptions to class and be prepared to share them.  

HW#22.5, due Mon. 10/31.  Happy Halloween!  Read this article about the persecution of witches in Europe during the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries.  Be prepared to discuss in class.

HW#22, due Thurs. 10/27.  In POI, read chapter 5, section 1 on Cultures of the mountains and the Sea.  Fill out this worksheet based on the reading.

HW#21, due Wed. 10/26.  In POI, read chapter 4, sections 1 AND 2 on the Egyptian and Assyrian empires.  Fill out this worksheet based on the reading.

Extra Credit!  As we discuss China's ancient past, check out this amazingly visual piece in today's New York Times on the impact of Geography on people in contemporary China.  Read it, watch the videos, analyze the images and write a response to the article of no more than one page.  In your response, think about not only the story told but also how might this kind of article (text, video, images, maps) change the way we understand the story.  This assignment will be due in class on Friday, 10/28.  

Please see below for the study guide for our second exam!  There will be 30 multiple choice question (2.5 pts. each) and 2 short answer questions (12.5 pts. each with partial credit awarded).

MC Study guide:

Yin and Yang
The life of the Buddha
The Caste System
The Phoenicians
Cyrus (Persian King)
Shi Huangdi (Chinese Emperor)

Possible short answer topics:

Minoan and Phoenician civilizations
Ethical monotheism
Confucianism, Legalism
Darius and Shi Huangdi
Abrahamic religions

HW#20, due Thurs. 10/19.  In POI, read chapter 4, section 4 on The Unification of China.  Please complete this worksheet.  Next, read this essay by Ian Johnson in The New York Review of Books.  It is dense but I want you to read it and answer the following question:

Explain how new discoveries have changed our understanding of both ancient, and modern China.  

HW#19, due Tues. 10/17.  In POI, read chapter 4, section 3 on The Persian Empire.  Next, check out this beautiful photo travel essay on Iran built by The New York Times.  Please fill out this worksheet based on the reading.

Additionally, I want you to finish the questions on the handout that I distributed in class today on how Judaism ordered Hebrew society.  These are fundamentally important questions to think about.  Use the internet to answer the questions. Finally, read this essay and in your notebook please define ethical monotheism and explain why it is important according to Diane Weber Bederman.  

HW#18, due Mon. 10/17.  In POI, read chapter 3, section 4 on The Origins of Judaism.  Next, read this chapter in another book on the same topic.  Finally, check out this overview on the connections between the so-called Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Fill out this worksheet based on the readings on the origins of Judaism.  On the back of the worksheet answer the following question:

1.  Explain the term Abrahamic religions.  How are the three connected? 

HW#17, due Fri. 10/14.  In POI, read chapter 3, section 3 on Seafaring Traders.  Next, check out this article complete with a photo essay on the Phoenicians.  Fill out this worksheet based on the POI reading.  On the back of the worksheet answer the following question based on the Ryan Schleeter in National Geographic:

1.  Explain how our knowledge of the Phoenicians has evolved over time and why Schleeter class them the 'First Rulers of the Mediterranean.   

HW#16, due Thurs. 10/13.  Check out this website overview of Buddhism and this interview with philosophy professor Jay Garfield on What Buddhism Requires.  Take notes both on the origins and key beliefs of Buddhism.  and answer the following question:

1.  According to Professor Garfield, what does it mean to be a Buddhist?  How does this interpretation compare to the portrayal of the religion in the textbook?   

HW#15, due Thurs. 10/6.  In POI, read chapter 3, section 2 on the development of Hinduism and Buddhism.  Fill out this worksheet based on the reading.   

HW14, due Wed. 10/5.  In POI, read chapter 3, section 1 on the Indo-Europeans.  Next, read this overview of the Aryans.  Fill out this worksheet based on the POI reading and answer the following questions based on the Aryan reading:

1.  What do the Vedas reveal about the Aryan way of life?

2.  Why was it that the priest class - the so-called Brahmins - became more powerful than warlords in Aryan India?

Optional but interesting:  Some say that "we are all Indo-European."  Click here to find out why.

HW#13, Thurs. 9/29.  In POI, read chapter 2, section 4 on River Dynasties in China.  Please fill out this series of worksheets based on the China reading and the unit in general.  

HW#12, due Wed. 9/28.  In POI, read chapter 2, section 3 on Planned Cities on the Indus.  Be prepared to review the material in class with a substitute.  Also, once you have completed the assignment in class that I leave with the sub, you may study for the exam on Friday.  

HW#11, due Tues. 9/27.  In POI, read chapter 2, section 2 on Pyramids on the Nile.  Fill out this worksheet based on the reading.     

Extra Credit Assignment:  Watch the first presidential debate of 2016 between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  It begins at 9 PM.  If you cannot watch the entire debate, you must at least watch the first 30 minutes.  If you do not have TV you can live stream the debate here, or at numerous other media/social media sites.  Complete the following assignment:

In a response of no longer than one page, explain how the candidates use history in making their points.  Overall, who do you think will benefit the most from this debate, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?  Why?  This will also be due on Tues. 9/27.  

Please see below for the study guide for our first exam!  There will be 20 multiple choice question (3 pts. each) and 4 short answer questions (10 pts. each with partial credit awarded).

MC Study guide:

Spread of agriculture
Hammurabi's Code
Similarities and differences between early civilizations - Sumerian, Egyptian, Shang
Primary source document analysis
Neolithic Revolution
Early river valley civilizations
Origins of civilization
Advantages of domesticating animals

Possible short answer topics:

The Neanderthal issue

The role of time in the study of history

Geography and maps

The job of the historian

Guns, Germs, and Steel

"The Worst Mistake in the history of the Human Race"

Point of view in analyzing primary source documents

HW#10, due Mon. 9/26.  In POI read chapter 1, section 3 on Civilization.  Next, read chapter 2, section 1 on the early river valley city-states in Mesopotamia.  Fill out these reading guides based on the textbook overview.  

HW#9, due Fri. 9/23.  In Patterns of Interaction (our textbook, or POI from now on), read chapter 1, section 2 - Humans Try to Control Nature.  Next, read Dr. Jared Diamond's famous essay 'The Worst Mistake in the History of the Human Race."  Please fill out this worksheet based on the textbook reading (ignore the final prompt at the bottom of the page on slash and burn/animal domestication).  On the back of the worksheet answer the following questions:

1.  Why doe Diamond argue that farming was/is the worst mistake in the history of the human race?  In your answer list all reasons.

2.  What is his strongest point?  His weakest?  Why?

HW#8, due Thurs. 9/22.  Read this interesting article on the "interactions" between Homo Sapiens and Neanderthal's by Brian Resnick, a science reporter for  Complete the following:

1.  Choose a quote of no longer than two sentences that you believe best captures the authors intent of the article.  Explain your choice.  

2.  Please fill out this Google Form after reading the article.    

HW#7, due Wed. 9/21.  Please read this section from The World: A History (courtesy of Ms. Dunkel, another Social Studies teacher here at Stuy) and complete the following tasks:

1.  Explain the heading of the first section:  "So You Think You're Human."  Why is it titled this way?
2. Why does the human migration out of Africa prompt so many questions?
3. Why was there such an extensive discussion of war?
4. Study the chart on p. 16 labeled "Making Connections". a) Summarize
the point of the chart. b) Choose which factor you feel was the most
critical (important) and support your choice c) EITHER choose the
factor you feel is the weakest link and explain why OR choose one

factor which you don't understand and explain what doesn't make sense.

HW#6, due Tues. 9/20.  Read this famous talk which is a prelude to an even more famous book entitled Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond (1997).  Diamond's arguments represent a major contribution to the field of the history of human interaction.  Answer the following questions based on the reading:

1.  In the talk, Diamond asks his fundamental question:  "Why did human development proceed at such different rates on different continents for the last 13,000 years?"  How does he answer this question using the following areas of evidence:

Plant/animal domestication
Technological developments

2.  What is his essential thesis?  To what extent are you persuaded by this argument?

3.  What lines of criticism to you think he received based on this thesis?

HW#5, due Fri. 9/16.  

1.  Define the term culture.  

2.  Brainstorm a list of five elements of your families culture.  Next, choose ANY culture from around the world THAT YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH and write a paragraph about what you know about that culture.  Do NOT use the internet for assignment.  

HW#4, due Thurs. 9/15.  Please complete this geography worksheet.  Bring it to class tomorrow and be prepared to share.  Also, please join the Google Class site "Mr. Trainor's Global History Class" using the code below:


HW#3, due Wed. 9/14.  Please read this piece on what historians actually do.  After reading, answer the following questions:

1.  Historians study many sub-sections of history.  What field of history fascinates you most?  Why?

2.  What point should be the center of a world map?

3.  The author asserts that "The names we give people, places, and events reflect our perspectives and values."  Explain this quote and provide an example not mentioned in the reading.

HW#2, due Tues. 9/13.  This assignment is about time and our relationship to it.  I want you to create a timeline of your life!  Please fill out this worksheet and then write a one-page essay about your life.  Staple the worksheet to the essay and bring both to class.  

HW#1, due Fri. 9/9.  Oral history activity.  Please see here for the directions.  When you are finished with the interview, please write a reflection of no longer than one page on the more notable points discussed by your subject. Come to class prepared to discuss the interview.  PLEASE DO NOT RECORD YOUR INTERVIEW.  For some context on the events of that day, check out this timeline from the 9/11 Memorial Museum.  You can also find the powerful, and famous, special edition of the Stuyvesant Spectator about the impact of 9/11 on the Stuy community.    

Homework should be completed based on the following criteria:

First name, last name                                                                           Date

Homework #                                                                                        Period

Please also note these guidelines adapted from Ms. Garcia:

  • These must be hand written in black or blue ink.  Typed homework's WILL NOT be accepted.
  • If assignments exceed one page in length, these must be brought to class stapled.
  • Assignments should be neat
  • Make sure that the material presented in each and every assignment is clear and easy to read (for you and your teacher!!!)If you use a regular ballpoint pen, you may be able to write on the back of the sheet. Let’s save some trees!
  • Once again... Make sure the assignment is NEAT! Wrinkled, stained, battered homework sheets are not given favorable marks!

When completing Guided Reading worksheets:

  • Write the homework number and aim under the section title.
  • The note-taking section (charts, timelines, or other graphic organizers) can be completed in pencil.
  • The writing section (expository, summarizing, etc.) must be completed in pen. Underline or highlight the key words / terms indicated in the exercise.
  • Make sure that your description of key terms / names relates to the question in the writing exercise.
  • If no specific guidelines are given for the writing section, follow the general guidelines for defining any historical term.

How the HW is Graded:

Check Plus - 100% of the credit for that assignment.
Check - 85% of the credit for that assignment.
Check Minus - 65% of the credit for that assignment.