Elementary Social Studies
As citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society our students learn to take the initiative in making informed and reasoned decisions to promote individual character and peace. Integrating Social Studies concepts from our Language Arts program, students engage in research projects and critical thinking based on these ten Social Studies themes from the National Council for the Social Studies Standards:
- Time, continuity, and change
- People, places, and environment
- Individual development and identity
- Individuals, groups, and institutions
- Power, authority, and governance
- Production, distribution, and consumption
- Science, technology, and society
- Global connections
- Civic ideals and practices
Within the topic of History, kindergarten students learn about various holidays, celebrations and special events. They learn and understand how historical figures, patriots, and good citizens helped shape the community, state, and nation and begin to learn the concept of chronology.
The topic of Geography and Culture introduces students to the concept of location and the physical and human characteristics of place. Students also learn about and understand the similarities and differences among people and the importance of family customs and traditions.
In Government and Citizenship, students learn about and understand the purpose for rules and the role of authority figures. They are taught to understand important symbols, customs, and responsibilities that represent American beliefs and principles and how those contribute to our national identity.
The Economics, Science, Technology and Society lessons that are learned in kindergarten introduce our students to the idea that basic human needs and wants are met in many ways. They are taught to understand the value of jobs and understand ways that technology is used in the home and school and how it affects people’s lives.
In History, first grade students are taught to:
- Describe the origins of customs, holidays and celebrations of the community, state and nation.
- Compare similarities and differences between the lives and activities of historical figures and other individuals who have influenced the community, state, and nation.
- Distinguish between past, present, and future.
- Create a calendar or simple timeline.
In Geography and Culture, first grade students are taught to:
- Locate places using the four cardinal directions.
- Locate the community, Texas, and the United States on maps and globes.
- Identify and describe the physical characteristics of place such as landforms, bodies of water, natural resources, and weather.
- Identify and describe how the human characteristics of place, clothing, food and activities are based on geographical location.
- Describe and explain the importance of beliefs, customs, language and traditions.
In Government and Citizenship, first grade students are taught to:
- Explain the purpose of rules and laws.
- Identify and describe the roles of public officials.
- Explain how patriotic customs and celebrations reflect American individualism and freedom.
In the Economics, Science, Technology, and Society strand, first grade students are taught to:
- Describe ways that families meet basic human needs.
- Identify examples of goods and services.
- Identify examples of choices families make when making purchases.
- Describe how technology changes communication, transportation and recreation.
In History, second grade students are taught to:
- Explain the significance of various community, state, and national celebrations.
- Describe the order of events by using time designations.
- Explain how people and events have influenced local community history.
In Geography and Culture, second grade students are taught to:
- Interpret information on maps and globes using basic map elements such as title, key, and orientation.
- Examine information from various sources about places and regions.
- Describe how weather patterns affect activities.
- Explain human dependence on natural resources and physical environment.
- Identify characteristics of different communities including urban, suburban, and rural.
- Identify the significance of ethnic and cultural celebrations.
In Government and Citizenship, second grade students are taught to:
- Identify functions of governments.
- Identify government services in the community.
- Identify ways that public officials are selected.
- Identify how customs, symbols, and celebrations reflect individualism, inventiveness and freedom among Americans.
In Economics, Science, Technology, and Society, second grade students are taught to:
- Explain how work provides the income people need to make purchases.
- Distinguish between producing and consuming.
- Explain how science and technology change the ways in which people meet their basic needs.
In History, third grade students are taught to:
- Describe how people, events, and ideas have changed communities, past and present.
- Identify reasons people have formed communities including a need for security, religious freedom, law, and material well-being.
- Identify ways in which people in the local community and other communities meet their needs.
- Create and interpret timelines.
In Geography and Culture, third grade students are taught to:
- Identify and compare how people in different communities adapt to or modify the physical environment in which they live.
- Describe the effects of human processes.
- Identify and compare the human characteristics of different regions.
- Use cardinal and intermediate directions to locate things on maps and globes.
- Identify the use of the compass rose, grid system, and symbols and their importance in locating things on maps and globes.
- Identify and analyze the heroic deeds of individuals, including military and first responders.
In Government and Citizenship, third grade students are taught to:
- Describe the basic structure of government.
- Identify governmental officials and tell how they are chosen.
- Describe and explain the importance of the concept of “consent of the governed.”
- Identify characteristics of good citizenship.
- Give examples of community changes.
In Economics, Science, Technology, and Society, third grade students are taught to:
- Identify ways of earning, spending, saving and donating money.
- Explain the concept of a free market as it relates to the US Free enterprise system.
- Identify the impact of scientific breakthroughs and new technology.
In History, fourth grade students are taught to:
- Understand the origins, similarities and differences found in American Indian groups in Texas and North America before European exploration.
- Identify the causes and effects of European exploration and colonization of Texas and North America through different cultural lenses.
- Explain when, where and why the Spanish established Spanish missions and settlements in Texas.
- Identify the Texas role in the Mexican War of Independence and the war’s impact on the development of Texas.
- Analyze the causes and major events and effects of the Texas Revolution.
- Describe the successes, problems, and organizations of the Republic of Texas.
- Explain the events of the annexation of Texas to the United States.
- Describe the impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on Texas.
In Geography, fourth grade students are taught to:
- Apply geographic tools to construct and interpret maps.
- Identify, locate, and compare the geographic regions of Texas.
- Identify and explain clusters and patterns of settlements and various towns and cities in Texas at different time periods.
In Government and Citizenship, fourth grade students are taught to:
- Describe how people organized governments in various ways during the early development in Texas.
- Understand important ideas in Texas and United States historical documents.
- Identify important Texas customs, symbols, and celebrations.
- Explain the duty of active individual participation in the democratic process.
- Identify and explain the basic functions of the three branches of government according to the Texas Constitution.
- Identify the importance of historical figures and important individual who model active participation in the democratic process.
In Economics, fourth grade students are taught to:
- Learn about the different the different traits and characteristics of entrepreneurs
- Learn how entrepreneurs use resources to produce goods and services in a region.
- Understand the fundamental tasks performed by a business owner and to track the revenue and expenses of a hypothetical business.
In Science, Technology, and Society, fourth grade students are taught to:
- Identify inventors who have contributed to Texas society.
- Identify how scientific discoveries and innovations have benefited society in Texas.
Fourth grade brings to life the history of Texas. History, culture and citizenship are brought to the classroom through literature, interactive manipulatives, and performances. A year-end field trip is taken to Austin to visit the Texas State Capital.