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Social Studies Curriculum for Grades K-5


Students in grades K-2 are introduced to an integrative approach to social studies by exploring aspects of self, others, families, and communities across the world in developmentally responsive ways. They develop awareness of the similarities and differences among individuals. K-2 students develop awareness of their surroundings by using geographic representations to process information about locations. Students begin to develop an awareness of the influence history has on their daily lives as they identify contributions of historical figures. At this level, students begin to develop a basic, relevant knowledge of wants and needs and how they affect individuals and society as a whole.

In third grade, students develop more sophisticated understandings of how communities may be linked to form larger political units and how there are cultural, geographic, and economic connections. They become aware of the factors that help bind communities together through both time and space. Using both primary and secondary sources, students understand the significant role of the individual in shaping history.

Fourth grade is the first formal introduction to North Carolina, its ethnic diversity, its rich culture, the economic energy of its people, and its geographic regions. During this grade, students study North Carolina, American Indian groups indigenous to the area prior to European contact, the impact of colonization, and key historical events leading up to the Civil War and Reconstruction. Students examine the North Carolina Constitution and the concept of separation of powers in each branch of state government. Finally, students explore North Carolina’s economy by examining how natural resources have influenced economic development in our state.

While the fourth grade curriculum focuses on North Carolina, the fifth grade curriculum focuses on the United States. Students study change and continuity in United States history. They begin their studies 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 study the founding documents and learn about the “Founding Fathers” and their influence in shaping the foundation of our nation. Curriculum documents for grades K-5 can be accessed by clicking on the links below.

Social Studies Curriculum Organized by Grade Level, Grades K-5:
Kindergarten Social Studies Curriculum
First Grade Social Studies Curriculum
Second Grade Social Studies Curriculum
Third Grade Social Studies Curriculum
Fourth Grade Social Studies Curriculum
Fifth Grade Social Studies Curriculum

Social Studies Curriculum Organized by Strand, Grades K-5:
Geography and Environmental Literacy
Economic and Financial Literacy
Civics and Government

Published by Valerie Robinson on January 16, 2020

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