Social Studies

Elementary School Curriculum Overview

Kindergarten – Myself and Others

Using a familiar context for five and six-year-olds, kindergartners learn about the social studies disciplines (history, geography, civics, and government, and economics) through the lens of “Myself and Others.”

First – Families and Schools

In first grade, students continue to explore the social studies disciplines of history, geography, civics and government, and economics through an integrated approach using the context of school and families.

Second – The Local Community

In second grade, students continue the integrative approach to social studies through the context of the local community. This is the first time students are introduced to a social environment larger than their immediate surroundings. They draw upon knowledge learned in previous grades to develop more sophisticated understandings of history, geography, civics, government, and economics.

Third – Michigan Studies

Third-grade students explore the social studies disciplines of history, geography, civics and government, and economics through the context of Michigan studies.

Fourth – United States Studies

Using the context of the United States, fourth-grade students learn significant social studies concepts within an increasingly complex social environment. They examine fundamental concepts in geography, civics and government, and economics through the lens of Michigan history and the United States.

Fifth – Integrated American History

The fifth-grade social studies content expectations mark a departure from the social studies approaches taken in previous grades. The fifth-grade expectations begin a more disciplinary-centered approach, concentrating on the early history of the United States. Students begin their study of American history with Native Americans before the arrival of European explorers and conclude with the adoption of the Bill of Rights in 1791. Although the content expectations are organized by historical era, they build upon students’ understandings of other social studies disciplines from earlier grades and require students to apply these concepts within the context of American history.