Chapter 1 - Section 1

“In social studies classes, students confront questions about
the wonder and excitement of humankind in the world.”
New York State Education Department
Social Studies Standards, 2014

The White House

What Is Social Studies?

     According to the National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies, which were first developed in 1994 and later revised in 2010 by the National Council for Social Studies, social studies is defined as the “integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence.” According to the NCSS standards, the primary purpose of social studies is 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.”

     According to the Maine Department of Education, social studies is an “integral part of a comprehensive education program preparing learners for college, careers, and civic life. Through each of the four social studies disciplines – civics and government, economics, geography, and history – students are provided with opportunities to acquire and apply knowledge and skills in a variety of authentic contexts.”

     The Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa, Florida, have developed a list of things that should be observed in an effective social studies classroom.

     Some of the skills students develop while teaching social studies include the ability to get information, use information, present information, and find and solve problems, according to the New York Social Studies Standards. During social studies activities, students practice interpersonal and group relations skills.

     The Kansas Standards for History, Government, and Social Studies are designed to prepare students to be “informed, thoughtful, and engaged citizens as they enrich their communities, state, nation, world, and themselves”. Informed citizens have the knowledge necessary to understand contemporary issues. Thoughtful citizens can apply higher order thinking skills in order to make connections and solve problems. Engaged citizens participate as contributing and active members of their communities.

     Jim Hitch’s video below provides examples of concepts and ideas included in social studies and how these ideas are important to students.

What is Social Studies
Contents   Section 2