Social Studies Curriculum Grade 4 !EXCLUSIVE!
NATIONAL COUNCIL FOR THE SOCIAL STUDIES (NCSS) first published national curriculum standards in 1994. Since then, the social studies standards have been widely and successfully used as a framework for teachers, schools, districts, states, and other nations as a tool for curriculum alignment and development. However, much has changed in the world and in education since these curriculum standards were published. This revision aims to provide a framework for teaching, learning, and assessment in social studies that includes a sharper articulation of curriculum objectives, and reflects greater consistency across the different sections of the document. It incorporates current research and suggestions for improvement from many experienced practitioners. These revised standards reflect a desire to continue and build upon the expectations established in the original standards for effective social studies in the grades from pre-K through 12.
Social Studies Curriculum Grade 4
The approach originally taken in these curriculum standards has been well received in the United States and internationally; therefore, while the document has been revised and updated, it retains the same organization around major themes basic to social studies learning. As in the original document, the framework moves beyond any single approach to teaching and learning and promotes much more than the transmission of knowledge alone. These updated standards retain the central emphasis of the original document on supporting students to become active participants in the learning process.
What Is Social Studies and Why Is It Important?National Council for the Social Studies, the largest professional association for social studies educators in the world, defines social studies as:
What is the Purpose of the National Curriculum Standards?The NCSS curriculum standards provide a framework for professional deliberation and planning about what should occur in a social studies program in grades pre-K through 12. The framework provides ten themes that represent a way of organizing knowledge about the human experience in the world. The learning expectations, at early, middle, and high school levels, describe purposes, knowledge, and intellectual processes that students should exhibit in student products (both within and beyond classrooms) as the result of the social studies curriculum. These curriculum standards represent a holistic lens through which to view disciplinary content standards and state standards, as well as other curriculum planning documents. They provide the framework needed to educate students for the challenges of citizenship in a democracy.
The themes represent strands that should thread through a social studies program, from grades pre-K through 12, as appropriate at each level. While at some grades and for some courses, specific themes will be more dominant than others, all the themes are highly interrelated. To understand culture (Theme 1), for example, students also need to understand the theme of time, continuity, and change (Theme 2); the relationships between people, places, and environments (Theme 3); and the role of civic ideals and practices (Theme 10). To understand power, authority, and governance (Theme 6), students need to understand different cultures (Theme 1); the relationships between people, places, and environments (Theme 3); and the interconnections among individuals, groups, and institutions (Theme 5). History is not confined to TIME, CONTINUITY, AND CHANGE (Theme 2) because historical knowledge contributes to the understanding of all the other themes; similarly, geographic skills and knowledge can be found in more than (Theme 3).
The thematic strands draw from all the social science disciplines and other related disciplines and fields of study to provide a framework for social studies curriculum design and development. The themes provide a basis from which social studies educators can more fully develop their programs by consulting the details of national content standards developed for history, geography, civics, economics, psychology, and other fields,2 as well as content standards developed by their states. Thus, the NCSS social studies curriculum standards serve as the organizing basis for any social studies program in grades pre-K through 12. Content standards for the disciplines, as well as other standards, such as those for instructional technology,3 provide additional detail for curriculum design and development.
Who Can Use the Social Studies Standards?The social studies curriculum standards offer educators, parents, and policymakers the essential conceptual framework for curriculum design and development to prepare informed and active citizens. The standards represent the framework for professional deliberation and planning of the social studies curriculum for grades from pre-K through 12. They address overall curriculum development; while specific discipline-based content standards serve as guides for specific content that fits within this framework. Classroom teachers, teacher educators, and state, district, and school administrators can use this document as a starting point for the systematic design and development of an effective social studies curriculum for grades from pre-K through 12.
Teacher educators can use the standards to: Guide the development of pre-service and in-service teacher education programs and courses; Provide professional support for the advocacy of social studies; Introduce pre-service and in-service teachers to the nature and purpose of social studies; Enable pre-service and in-service teachers to plan instruction consistent with long-range purposes of social studies; and Assess instructional planning and supervise the teaching of pre-service and in-service teachers.
The publications of National Council for the Social Studies, including its journals Social Education and Social Studies and the Young Learner (for grades K-6), as well as books, regularly include lesson plans and other guidelines for implementing the social studies standards. A video library providing snapshots of the social studies standards in actual classrooms and linked to standards themes, which was produced by WGBH Educational Foundation, can be accessed at the Annenberg Media website at
How Do Content Standards Differ from Curriculum Standards? What is the Relationship Between Them?Content standards (e.g., standards for civics, history, economics, geography, and psychology) provide a detailed description of content and methodology considered central to a specific discipline by experts, including educators, in that discipline. The NCSS curriculum standards instead provide a set of principles by which content can be selected and organized to build a viable, valid, and defensible social studies curriculum for grades from pre-K through 12. They are not a substitute for content standards, but instead provide the necessary framework for the implementation of content standards. They address issues that are broader and deeper than the identification of content specific to a particular discipline. The ten themes and their elaboration identify the desirable range of social studies programs. The detailed descriptions of purposes, knowledge, processes, and products identify the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that social studies programs should provide students as part of their education for citizenship. The social studies curriculum standards should remind curriculum developers and others of the overarching purposes of social studies programs in grades pre-K through 12: 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.
Since standards have been developed both in social studies and in many of the individual disciplines that are integral to social studies, one might ask: What is the relationship among these various sets of standards? The answer is that the social studies standards address overall curriculum design and comprehensive student learning expectations, while state standards and the national content standards for individual disciplines (e.g., history, civics and government, geography, economics, and psychology)4 provide a range of specific content through which student learning expectations can be accomplished. For example, the use of the NCSS standards might support a plan to teach about the topic of the U.S. Civil War by drawing on three different themes: Theme 2 TIME, CONTINUITY, AND CHANGE; Theme 3 PEOPLE, PLACES, AND ENVIRONMENTS; and Theme 10 CIVIC IDEALS AND PRACTICES. National history standards and state standards could be used to identify specific content related to the topic of the U.S. Civil War.
Title: United States StudiesThe fourth grade social studies curriculum introduces students to geographic, economic, governmental concepts through the lens of the United States. They study the physical geography of the United States as well as the cultural characteristics of regions of the country. Students analyze human systems in the United States by exploring the interaction between the people and their natural environments, the movement of people, products, and ideas, and the distinguishing features of various regions within the country. By focusing on the characteristics of the U.S. economy, students learn fundamental economic concepts and apply these to their own lives. They study economic ties between the United States and other places, and discover how their country is an interdependent part of the global economy. Students are introduced to the purposes, structure, and function of our federal government. They also examine the relationship between the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democratic republic. Students examine current issues facing the United States and practice making and expressing informed decisions as citizens. 041b061a72