Instruction in social studies consists of essential knowledge, skills, and concepts from history, geography, economics, political science, and civics/government. The goal of the social studies curriculum is to provide students with the knowledge that they need to act thoughtfully in their lives, to understand the development of peoples and cultures, and to contribute to the vitality of our democratic institutions.
In meeting learning goals, teachers are encouraged to connect current events to the daily study of history, civics, geography, and economics. The curriculum expects students to read multiple sources, engage in debates, take field trips, visit museums, write essays, conduct independent research, create projects, use the Internet, and pursue other modes of active, reflective learning. Writing is also a part of the social studies curriculum because writing enables students to organize what they have learned and demonstrate an understanding of it.
The Georgia Performance Standards for Social Studies were designed to develop informed Georgia citizens who understand the history of the United States and our place in an ever increasing interconnected world. It is essential that students understand their past and how that past influences the present day and the future.
To accomplish our goal of informed citizens, the Social Studies curriculum seeks to:
Bridge essential understanding about the past to contemporary events.
Assist students in understanding the nature of historical inquiry and the role of primary and secondary sources.
Encourage the consideration of multiple perspectives on events.
Engage students in speculation about the known and unknown motives and actions of historic figures.
Integrate the strands of Social Studies.
The ever growing body of children’s literature that has relevant social studies themes should be incorporated into the Social Studies curriculum. Reading in Social Studies is part of the 25 book standard. In addition, the reading of social studies related books should be an integral part of the elementary reading program.
The Social Studies skills identified on the Skills Matrix are to be integrated into the content as appropriate, not taught separately from the content. Skills are introduced in a given year, then developed and mastered over time; and once mastered, they must continue to be refined throughout the student’s academic career.
Through the use of a varied assessment program, students should be provided with periodic opportunities to engage in inquiry-oriented projects related to social studies. A varied assessment program with multiple types of both formative and summative assessments provides the teacher, the student, and the parent with an understanding of the student’s progress and mastery of the Georgia Performance Standards for Social Studies.
Below are the course names at each grade level linked to the Georgia Performance Standards for Social Studies Content and Skills: