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Social Studies K-5
  • Kindergarten through second grade students are introduced to an integrative approach of Social Studies by exploring aspects of self, others, families and communities across the world in developmentally responsive ways. In early years, children develop a foundation for the entire Social Studies program beginning in Kindergarten; therefore, Social Studies must be an essential part of the daily curriculum. As students are acquainted with diverse classmates, they develop awareness of the similarities among individuals in the classroom as well as within the school, community and world. Comparing family traditions enables students to accept and appreciate their pluralistic society and acquire a sense of purpose regarding their role and the role of other citizens within the community and world.  K-2 students develop geographic awareness of their surroundings by using geographic representations to process information about locations using maps and globes. They learn that people not only use the environment, but also modify or adapt to it. In history, students begin to develop the ability to think like a historian as they acquire knowledge of history to understand the past and present. Students begin to appreciate the influence history has on their daily lives as they identify contributions of historical figures. They examine why certain events and people are celebrated through national holidays. In economics, students develop and build upon basic economic concepts by relating them to their own wants and needs.

  • Third grade, students draw upon knowledge learned in previous grades to develop more sophisticated understandings of how communities may be linked to form larger political units, and how there are cultural, geographic, and economic connections. Through their study of various patterns of community living, the students begin to understand that people’s activities are influenced not only by their geographic location, but also by how they use the earth’s materials, the physical environment, and how they express their diversity through culture. Students will understand the importance of being a citizen and identify the contributions of selected individuals in the local community. Students will recognize that Americans are comprised of people who have diverse ethnic origins and traditions who all contribute to American life. By looking at communities from a geographic perspective, students become aware of some of the cultural, political, geographic, historic, environmental and economic factors that help bind communities together through both time and space. Building upon experiences that demonstrate chronological thinking, students begin to expand their ability to think like a historian by asking questions that historians ask. Using both primary and secondary sources, students understand the significant role of the individual in shaping history and explore changes in communities and regions over time. Through the study of historical narratives, students are introduced to the concept of perspective by asking them to explain why people can describe the same event differently. This serves as a building block for more sophisticated analyses in subsequent grades.

  • Fourth Grade students have the first formal introduction to North Carolina, its ethnic diversity, its rich culture, the economic energy of its people, and its geographic regions. Fourth Grade students explore the social disciplines of history, geography, civics and government, culture and economics through the context of North Carolina. Building on early social studies knowledge, students will apply new concepts to the increasingly complex social environment of our state. During this grade, students will study North Carolina, American Indian groups indigenous to the area before European contact, the impact of colonization, and key historical events leading up to the Civil War and Reconstruction. Although the time period of focus is Pre-Colonial through Reconstruction, teachers are encouraged to guide students in drawing parallels between contemporary issues and their historical origins. Students will prepare for their role as responsible and informed citizens of North Carolina as they examine the North Carolina Constitution and the concept of separation of powers in each branch of state government. The expectations of the standards address the geographic concept of movement and its impact on people, goods and ideas in North Carolina. Building on a basic understanding of scarcity and choice, students learn to appreciate the relationships among scarcity, choice, and opportunity costs when making financial decisions. Students explore North Carolina’s economy by examining how natural resources have influenced economic development in our state. Fourth grade expectations help prepare students for more sophisticated studies of our state, nation, and world in later grades.

    Fifth grade students will be continuing the history, geography, civics and government, economics and culture strands from previous grades, fifth grade expectations will address change and continuity in United States history. Students begin the study of United States history with American Indian groups indigenous to the United States before the arrival of European settlers and conclude with the Civil War and Reconstruction period. Students will focus their study on the same time period as in fourth grade, but will transfer their understanding from the state to the national level. Learned concepts will be applied within the context of American history. Teachers are encouraged to guide students in drawing parallels between contemporary issues and their historical origins. Using primary and secondary sources, fifth grade students will compare founding documents of the United States with those of North Carolina such as the United States Constitution and the North Carolina Constitution. Students will learn about the “Founding Fathers” who envisioned the path for our democratic republic, while also exploring the contributions of diverse groups to the building of our nation. Speeches that laid the foundation of American ideals and institutions will be studied along with the examination of everyday life during the Pre-Colonial period through Reconstruction. Students expand their knowledge of human systems as they understand push/ pull factors of migration and immigration and their influence on culture in the United States. Students deepen their understanding of human-environment interactions by assessing positive and negative effects of human activities on the physical environment of the United States. Building on their knowledge of economic principles, students focus on economic growth in the United States and develop an understanding of production, specialization, and the division of labor. Students begin to apply economic principles to their own lives as they learn to make responsible financial choices in spending and saving. 


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