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Fifth Grade Social Studies

Social StudiesOver the course of the year in social studies, we make connections between the past and the present, using the following guiding questions.

  • How do groups solve problems?
  • How does our government work?
  • How did we get this system of government?
  • What problems were faced by those who created the government?
  • How do citizens create the government?
  • What did it mean to be a citizen in 1776 and how is it different today?
  • How have laws in the US supported or prevented freedom for all people?
  • What would a truly democratic, free, and equal U.S. look like?
  • What do we need to do to fully realize the vision of the founding documents for all people?

We explore these questions through the following topics in Civics and U.S. history:

  • Government Organization
  • Forming a New Nation
  • Founding Documents
  • Contradictions in Founding Documents and Attempts to Address Them
  • Civil Rights - In the Past and Today
  • Citizenship: Rights and Responsibilities

We develop these connections using a skills-based approach, where students become social scientists. They explore a variety of sources, both primary and secondary – from maps to newspapers, diaries, and images. Students engage in rich discussions, learning how to look at complex issues by taking perspective. Students have opportunities to dig deeper into topics of interest, learning valuable research skills in the process. They share the fruits of their research in different ways – skits, posters, recordings, and writing. In the spring of each year, the class undertakes an ambitious group research project resulting in an anthology of nonfiction comics.