Where do the Social Studies fit in?

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You only have to glance at the daily news to know how important the understanding of civics, economics, geography, and history is for students today. And yet social studies can get lost in an education environment steeped in the science, technology, engineering, and math of STEM—and in the time-honored pillars of reading, writing, and arithmetic that frame the English and math Common Core.

Question: Where does social studies fit in?

Answer: Everywhere!

The social studies curriculum emphasizes critical thinking through primary-source analysis and literacy skills through the reading of texts, charts, graphs, and maps. And let’s not forget the responsibility to teach the foundations of democracy and global citizenship.

To better define the discipline’s important place in the curriculum, the National Council for the Social Studies recently announced the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards. The framework underscores three goals:

  • Enhance the rigor of social studies courses
  • Build the strong critical-thinking and problem-solving skills necessary for active citizenship
  • Align the social studies curriculum with Common Core Standards for Literacy
Here's the good news:Curriculum Pathways can help advance all three of these goals! Let's take a quick look at how our extensive social studies resources align to this new framework.


Goal 1 - Enhance the rigor of social studies courses

Our social studies resources include an interactive atlas, case studies featuring an online document-analysis tool, tutorials on topics like OPEC's oil embargo, and interactive narratives exploring pivotal issues like voting rights for women or the legacy of Alexander the Great. Many lessons incorporate several rigorous resources into one dynamic learning experience.

This lesson on the War of 1812 uses both the Early Foreign Policy Interactive Tool and the Interactive Atlas to provide a comprehensive approach to the conflict.

Goal 2 - Build strong critical-thinking and problem-solving skills 

Our Document Analyzers explore challenging case-study questions. Students use an online notebook to gather important information from background movies to frame their understanding of the issue. They engage in further critical thinking using the online document-analysis tool to identify and analyze key passages from primary-source documents related to a focus question.

In this example from the African Kingdoms Interactive Tool, students examine primary-source documents to develop their own understanding and analysis.

Our Interactive Narratives also focus on critical-thinking skills. Assessment activities embedded throughout, along with culminating application activities, challenge students to practice problem solving within the context of history.

In this example from the FDR and the New Deal Interactive Tool, students analyze the different elements of a political cartoon.

Goal 3 - Align social studies curriculum with Common Core Standards for Literacy

Curriculum Pathways resources enable students to practice Common Core strategies for reading complex nonfiction texts about history, government, or economics. Our nonfiction reading tool guides their approach to complex texts with pre-reading strategies before they begin and comprehension strategies during and after the reading.

Using this tool-based lesson, students read complex texts related to the progressive income tax system.

We have over 42 resources in the Document Analyzer series.

But wait, there's more! We have 16 resources showing various narratives throughout history!

SAS Curriculum Pathways has over 250 resources in social studies, from ancient Chinese history to civics and economics. Take advantage of our free resources today!

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About Author

Molly Farrow

Molly Farrow taught high school history for 11 years in Wake County and Durham County. She also taught at the Taipei American School in Taiwan. She received a M.A.T. degree from the University of North Carolina and a B.S. degree in Political Science from Wake Forest University. Working alongside a team, she enjoys developing the award-winning online social studies resources for Curriculum Pathways that allow teachers to integrate technology into their classrooms. Outside work, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and their dog, Dante.

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