K-5 Social Studies Overview

Social Science Themes

What is Social Studies and why we study them?

NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR THE SOCIAL STUDIES (NCSS) defines social studies as:
"...the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Within the school program, social studies provides coordinated, systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences. The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world." (The definition was officially adopted by National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) in 1992).

Social Studies Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) K-5
Grade and Course Overview
Elementary Grades (K-5)

Kindergarten - Foundations of America

In kindergarten, students begin to understand the foundations of the social studies strands: history, geography, government, and economics. Students begin their introduction to United States history through the study of important American holidays and symbols. Basic concepts of geography are presented. Civics provides students with an introduction to rules and character traits of good citizens. Basic economic concepts are also introduced.

First Grade - Our American Heritage
In the first grade, students continue their introduction to United States history through the study of selected historical figures. In the history strand, students study the important contributions each historical person made. In the geography strand, students learn about where these historical people lived and explore important basic geographic concepts. The civics strand provides a study of the positive character traits exhibited by these important historical figures. The economics strand continues the introduction of basic economic concepts.

Second Grade - Georgia, My State
In second grade, the various social studies strands become interwoven with the historical strand. The history strand focuses on important historical figures in Georgia and the Creek and Cherokee cultures in Georgia. The geography strand emphasizes the geography of Georgia and relates to the historical study. In addition to the positive character traits of the individuals and groups in the historical strand, the basic concept of government is also introduced. Basic economics concepts continue to be introduced.

Third Grade - U.S. History Year 1: American Indian Cultures to Colonization
In third grade, students begin a three-year study of United States history in which all four strands (history, geography, civics/government, and economics) are integrated. Students learn about American Indian cultures and the exploration and colonization of North America. The geography strand emphasizes the influence of geography on early U.S. history. In the civics/government strand, students learn about the elements of our representative democracy and their rights and responsibilities as good citizens. Students will extend and apply their understanding of basic economic concepts.

Fourth Grade - U.S. History Year 2: Revolution to Reconstruction
In fourth grade, students continue with year two of a three year study of United States history in which all four strands (history, geography, civics/government, and economics) are integrated. Students begin the year learning about the French and Indian War and end with the Reconstruction period. The geography strand emphasizes the influence of geography on U.S. history during these same time periods. In the civics/government strand, students learn about concepts and rights contained within our founding documents. The economic strand uses material from the history strand to deepen understanding of economic concepts.

Fifth Grade - U.S. History-1860 Year 3: Industrialization to the Digital Age
In fifth grade, students continue their formal study of United States history. As with fourth grade, the strands of history, geography, civics, and economics are fully integrated. Students study United States history beginning with the Civil War and continue to the present. The geography strand emphasizes the influence of geography on U. S. history. The civics strand emphasizes concepts and rights as outlined in amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The economics strand uses material from the historical strand to further understanding of economic concepts.

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