Social Studies

BOE Approved Social Studies Curriculum

In social studies classes in District 181, students become accountable citizens, understand physical environments and global connections, and develop a sense of financial literacy while exploring a wide range of historical people, events and eras. Students develop the ability to analyze evidence and create well-reasoned positions about democratic, social, cultural and political values. Inquiry and realistic experiences allow students to learn authentically and explore historical and contemporary world problems. Students are encouraged to think creatively and critically while becoming world changers.

Inquiry Skills:
  • Construct essential questions
  • Determine helpful sources
  • Gather and evaluate sources
  • Develop claims using evidence
  • Communicate conclusions
  • Take informed action

Students will learn that we belong to different groups and have various roles inside and outside of school. As citizens, we all have responsibilities to ourselves and to each other, our roles and relationships impact others around us, and our lives are influenced by the time and place in which we live.

  • Students will explain the roles and rules within the family, school, and community.
  • Students will know that people have economic needs and wants, and explain how needs and wants determine how people spend money and make financial decisions.
  • Students will understand how people change over time and explain how people have influenced how we celebrate holidays.
1st Grade:

Students will be able to explain the roles and responsibilities we have as citizens. Everyone can make a difference in the world. People have shaped history through their actions.

  • Students will be able to explain how people and rules are important within a community.
  • Students will be able to create and use maps.
  • Students will be able to describe the economic choices people make to meet their economic needs. Students will be able to describe how events and people have influenced history.
2nd Grade:

Students will understand their roles and the roles of others within their community as to how it relates to the financial and personal decisions they make, as they broaden their perspective of their community and to other surrounding communities.

  • Students will understand the roles of others within their community and explain how governments function.
  • Students will construct and interpret maps, compare environmental and cultural characteristics of familiar and unfamiliar places, and explain how these places meet their daily needs.
  • Students will understand the economic impact of financial decisions on goods and services at the community and personal level, knowing that all choices can affect themselves and others.
  • Students will think critically about how important people and events shaped their community and explain how historical sources can be links to the past.
3rd Grade:

Students will understand how geography and the roles of citizens affect the growth of communities and cultures around the world.

  • Students will understand the rights and responsibilities of citizens in various types of communities.
  • Students will identify landforms and understand how people around the world are impacted by their environment and products.
  • Students will understand the economic impact of financial decisions at the governmental and local levels.
  • Students will analyze how important people and events shaped their community and region.
4th Grade:
  • Students will understand the roles of citizens and how the government interacts and influences change.
  • Students will understand how the movement of goods, people, information, and jobs affect change in Illinois.
  • Students will understand how goods and services are produced using a variety of resources, thus producing income.
  • Students will understand individual and group perspectives using primary and secondary sources and how they have affected events in Illinois.
5th Grade:

Students will understand the responsibilities, structure, and laws of our country's government in comparison with other governments around the world based on the development and effects of cultural and environmental characteristics, technological developments, and catastrophic and environmental events in our nation's history. Students will analyze U.S. economy/trade and its impact on other world regions.

  • Students will understand how civic and political institutions are developed and implemented as well as how rules and laws are established.
  • Students will understand how humans and the environment interact with each other in the United States and its global interconnection.
  • Students will analyze the impact of trade and incentives on national and global economy.
  • Students will construct timelines, by using historical sources and evidence, to analyze developments that happened concurrently and explain causes/effects of developments in U.S. history.
6th Grade:

The overall focus of 6th grade Social Studies is Innovation and Advancement.

  • Geography - Students will know the 5 themes of geography, how geography, climate, and natural resources affect the way people live and work, and how physical geography affect economic and cultural expansion.
  • Archeology - Students will understand how archaeologists date sources, be able to identify primary and secondary sources, and how various artifacts and sources help us understand a specific time period.
  • Development of Farming and Cities or Cities and Civilization - Students will understand the economic, political, and social changes from the rise of cities.
  • Mesopotamia - Student will define a civilization, explain how the first civilizations came to be and how geography allowed that to happen.
  • Contributions of the East - Students will explain how Chinese innovations affect our lives today, learn the main ideas of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism, and analyze primary and secondary sources to create a written argument.
  • Greece and Rome - Students will understand the impact the Greeks and Romans have had on our lives today, turning points in history from this time period, and how the geography of these locations affected their civilizations.
  • Medieval Times - Students will understand the changes faced as Europe moved from the Dark Ages into the Renaissance
  • Renaissance and Reformation - Explain why the Renaissance is described as the rebirth of cultural and intellectual pursuits and understand the changes to European religion during the Reformation.
  • Exploration - Students will learn why people explore, look at different countries and people that did explore, and the effects of exploration.
7th Grade:

The overall focus of 7th grade Social Studies is the Foundations of Government.

  • Foundations of Government - Students will explore the function of a government.
  • Age of Reason - Students will explore the influential Enlightenment thinkers and the ideas which lead to the founding of the United States.
  • Revolutions - Students will explore the various forms of revolution and the causes that sparked change.
  • U.S. Constitution - Students will explore the origins of the Constitution, the role of the 3 branches of government, and its ability to serve as a living document that applies to people of all generations.
  • Nation Building - Students will explore the difficulties that were faced in the early years of the U.S. and how the rise of political parties would shape the future of U.S.
  • Civil War - The events that contributed to the origins of the Civil War.
  • Reconstruction - Students will understand the struggle of rebuilding the nation politically, economically, and socially after the Civil War.
8th Grade:

The overall focus of 8th grade Social Studies is the American Identity.

  • American Urbanization - Students will understand the political, social, and economic impacts of the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era and explore how this progress challenged ideas about who is American.
  • The Nation Booms and Busts - Students will understand the domestic and international events that impact the growth of America in the first half of the 20th Century and how these events impact individuals.
  • Who has America become post World War II - Students will explore how the role of the United States on the world stage has changed and who America has become.