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Grade 5 - Social Studies

Social Studies in 5th Grade

 

The 5th Grade Social Studies program at Westerly is designed to students deepen students’ understanding of the world and their geographic, political, social, and historical places in it. Through their participation in the Social Studies scope and sequence, students will delve into the stories of ordinary and extraordinary people, moments, and movements to help them deeply understand the range and continuity of the human experience throughout history. With this understanding, students will be able to thoughtfully evaluate their own worldview and cultivate empathy and desire to understand people who experience the world in a manner that is different from their own.

This program also helps students develop important schema for describing and understanding their own worldview as well as human experiences that may be different from their own. As they identify themes of power and ownership in 5th Grade, the cornerstone of the curriculum is the cultivation of compassion and empathy for the human experience throughout history. 5th Grade teachers utilize an inquiry-driven, project-based approach that enables students of all learning styles to demonstrate their understanding. Students are encouraged to delve into their own passions and interests through research, demonstrating their learning at school-wide events, student showcases, and celebrations of community and diversity. California State Social Studies Standards drive the content for the curriculum scope and sequence.

  • Students describe the major pre-Columbian settlements, including the cliff dwellers and pueblo people of the desert Southwest, the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest, the nomadic nations of the Great Plains, and the woodland peoples east of the Mississippi River.
    • Students ask the essential question: “Where and how did American Indians live before the arrival of the Europeans?” 
    • Describe how geography and climate influenced the way various nations lived and adjusted to the natural environment, including locations of villages, the distinct structures that they built, and how they obtained food, clothing, tools, and utensils 
    • Describe their varied customs and folklore traditions
    • Explain their varied economies and systems of government
  • Students learn about the Native Americans from different regions and how people arrived in what is now the Americas.
    • Ask the essential question: “How did European Settlements Impact North America?”
    • Study how early English settlers cooperated and clashed with American Indians
    • Draw comparison between modern history and current events and English settlement of the Americas
    • Research life for people in New England settlements and the influences that affected settlement life
    • Describe economic impact on people in the Southern Colonies
  • Students study the Age of Exploration including Renaissance, World Travel and Trade, Columbus and early explorers and colonization

*Lessons, Activities, and Projects may include:

  • Essential Questions:
    • How did geography, climate, and proximity to water affect the lives of North American Indians? 
    • How were different groups of North American Indians organized into systems of governments and confederacies? 
    • How were family and community structures of North American Indians similar to and different from one another? 
  • Project:  
    • Group research project focusing on a region of Ancient Americans – Poster and Presentation
  • Writing Component:  
    • Historical Journal Entry #1
  • Connections:  
    • How did the cultures of the different tribes of Native Americans impact present day United States?
  • Other Essential Questions:
    • Why did Europeans explore?
    • What exchanges were established as a result of the age of exploration? 
    • How did European explorers and natives view each other? 
  • Projects:  
    • Individual Research Explorer Poster and Presentation
    • “Why Explore” Flip Books
  • Writing Components:  
    • Historical Journal Entry #2
    • “On Board the Santa Maria” note taking, outlining, and essay
  • Connections:  
    • How can we connect the challenges that past explorers faced with present day space and deep ocean exploration?
  • Students trace the routes of early explorers and describe the early explorations of the Americas. 
    • Ask the essential question: “How did European settlements impact North America?”
    • Describe the entrepreneurial characteristics of early explorers (e.g., Christopher Columbus, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado) and the technological developments that made sea exploration by latitude and longitude possible (e.g., compass, sextant, astrolabe, seaworthy ships, chronometers, gunpowder). 
    • Explain the aims, obstacles, and accomplishments of the explorers, sponsors, and leaders of key European expeditions and the reasons Europeans chose to explore and colonize the world (e.g., the Spanish Reconquista, the Protestant Reformation, the Counter Reformation). 
    • Trace the routes of the major land explorers of the United States, the distances traveled by explorers, and the Atlantic trade routes that linked Africa, the West Indies, the British colonies, and Europe. 
    • Locate on maps of North and South America land claimed by Spain, France, England, Portugal, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Russia
  • Students describe the cooperation and conflict that existed among the American Indians and between the Indian nations and the new settlers
    • Ask the essential question: “How did Early English settlers cooperate and clash with American Indians?” 
    • Describe the competition among the English, French, Spanish, Dutch, and Indian nations for control of North America. 
    • Describe the cooperation that existed between the colonists and Indians during the 1600s and 1700s (e.g., in agriculture, the fur trade, military alliances, treaties, cultural interchanges). 
*Lessons, Activities, and Projects may include:
 
Examination of:
  • How did European explorers and settlers interact with American Indians? How did American Indians change as a result of the arrival and settlement?
  • Why did American Indians fight with each other? Why did they fight with European settlers? 
  • What role did trade play in both cooperation and conflict between and among European settlers? 
  • Who moved to and settled in North America? Why did they choose to live where they did? 
  • Why did English settlers choose to live on the North Atlantic seaboard? What was daily life like for those who settled in the southern colonies? Those who settled in New England? 
  • Why did Jamestown settlers have a high mortality rate? Why did so many settlers die, and how did they eventually reverse this trend? 
  • How did people work in the colonies? Why did indentured servitude start, and how did it transition to slavery? 
  • How did the Middle Colonies differ from New England and the southern colonies in terms of geography, economic activity, religion, social structure/ family life, and government? 
  • Projects: 
    • Colonial Shop Signs
    • Create a script for a town meeting
    • Colony Brochure
  • Writing Components: 
    • Journal Entry:  Explain the colonies of Roanoke and Jamestown.  
    • How did these colonies play a role in the competition among nations for control of North America?
    • French and Dutch – outline and paragraph
    • Slavery Narrative about the Middle Passage
    • Historical Journal Entry #3
  • Connections: What have we learned about the effects of the slave trade?  How does this part of history affect us?
  • Students understand the political, religious, social, and economic institutions that evolved in the colonial era. 
    • Ask the essential question: “Why would a nation want to become independent?”
    • Understand the influence of location and physical setting on the founding of the original 13 colonies, and identify on a map the locations of the colonies and of the American Indian nations already inhabiting these areas. 
    • Identify the major individuals and groups responsible for the founding of the various colonies and the reasons for their founding (e.g., John Smith, Virginia; Roger Williams, Rhode Island; William Penn, Pennsylvania; Lord Baltimore, Maryland; William Bradford, Plymouth; John Winthrop, Massachusetts). 
    • Describe the religious aspects of the earliest colonies (e.g., Puritanism in Massachusetts, Anglicanism in Virginia, Catholicism in Maryland, Quakerism in Pennsylvania). 
    • Identify the significance and leaders of the First Great Awakening, which marked a shift in religious ideas, practices, and allegiances in the colonial period, the growth of religious toleration, and the free exercise of religion. 
    • Understand how the British colonial period created the basis for the development of political self-government and a free-market economic system and the differences between the British, Spanish, and French colonial systems. 
    • Describe the introduction of slavery into America, the responses of slave families to their condition, the ongoing struggle between proponents and opponents of slavery, and the gradual institutionalization of slavery in the South. 
    • Explain the early democratic ideas and practices that emerged during the colonial period, including the significance of representative assemblies and town meetings. 
    • Explain the increased tensions between Great Britain and the Colonists
  • Students ask the essential question: “What does the Revolutionary Era tell us about our nation today?”
  • Understand how political, religious, and economic ideas and interests brought about the Revolution (e.g., resistance to imperial policy, the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, taxes on tea, Coercive Acts). 
  • Know the significance of the first and second Continental Congresses and of the Committees of Correspondence. 
  • Understand the people and events associated with the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Independence and the document’s significance, including the key political concepts it embodies, the origins of those concepts, and its role in severing ties with Great Britain. 
  • Describe the views, lives, and impact of key individuals during this period (e.g., King George III, Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams). 
  • Understand the course and consequences of the American Revolution 
    • Identify and map the major military battles, campaigns, and turning points of the Revolutionary War, the roles of the American and British leaders, and the Indian leaders’ alliances on both sides. 
    • Describe the contributions of France and other nations and of individuals to the out come of the Revolution (e.g., Benjamin Franklin’s negotiations with the French, the French navy, the Treaty of Paris, The Netherlands, Russia, the Marquis Marie Joseph de Lafayette, Tadeusz Ko ́sciuszko, Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben). 
    • Identify the different roles women played during the Revolution (e.g., Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Molly Pitcher, Phillis Wheatley, Mercy Otis Warren). 
    • Understand the personal impact and economic hardship of the war on families, problems of financing the war, wartime inflation, and laws against hoarding goods and materials and profiteering. 
    • Explain how state constitutions that were established after 1776 embodied the ideals of the American Revolution and helped serve as models for the U.S. Constitution. 
    • Demonstrate knowledge of the significance of land policies developed under the Continental Congress (e.g., sale of western lands, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787) and those policies’ impact on American Indians’ land. 
    • Understand how the ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence changed the way people viewed slavery. 
  • Students describe the people and events associated with the development of the U.S. Constitution and analyze the Constitution’s significance as the foundation of the American republic. 
    • List the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation as set forth by their critics. 
    • Explain the significance of the new Constitution of 1787, including the struggles over its ratification and the reasons for the addition of the Bill of Rights. 
    • Understand the fundamental principles of American constitutional democracy, including how the government derives its power from the people and the primacy of individual liberty. 
    • Understand how the Constitution is designed to secure our liberty by both empowering and limiting central government and compare the powers granted to citizens, Congress, the president, and the Supreme Court with those reserved to the states. 
    • Discuss the meaning of the American creed that calls on citizens to safeguard the liberty of individual Americans within a unified nation, to respect the rule of law, and to preserve the Constitution. 
    • Know the songs that express American ideals (e.g., “America the Beautiful,” “The Star Spangled Banner”). 
    • Study and understand the French and Indian War, causes leading up to the war, Major battles of the war, The Declaration of Independence, winning the war
*Lessons, Activities, and Projects may include:
 
Essential Questions:
  • Why did colonists start to rebel against Great Britain? 
  • Who were the Patriots? What were their grievances? 
  • What were the goals of the Declaration of Independence? 
  • How did the American Revolution start?
  • How was the war fought differently, depending on where the battles took place and who was fighting? 
  • How were Natives, free blacks, slaves, and women important in the conduct of the war? 
  • What were the Articles of Confederation? Why did they ultimately fail? 
  • How did the Constitutional Convention attempt to balance the interests of all of the states? 
  • What was the purpose of the preamble to the Constitution? 
  • What was the Great Compromise? 
  • How did the Constitution get ratified with the inclusion of the Bill of Rights?
  • Projects: 
    • Boston Tea Party class mural
    • Creating Spy Tools
    • Significant Battles of the Revolution
  • Writing Components: 
    • Three  paragraph essay on the causes and effects of French and Indian War
    • Boston Massacre outline and persuasive speech
    • Boston Tea party outline and essay
    • The Midnight Ride of William Dawes – flow map, outline, and essay
    • Revolutionary Timeline
    • Historical Journal Entry #4
  • Connections: 
    • How did the ideas set in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution change the way people viewed the world?
    • Formation of Government:  Three branches of government, the Articles of Confederation, US Constitution
  • Black History Month in February – Black History Museum and play
  • Ask the essential question: “How does the Constitution Help us understand what it means to be an AMerican?”
  • Examine the Articles of Confederation and why it failed
  • Examine and study the Constitution and how it set up our government framework
  • Understand primary sources and examine the Constitution as a primary source
  • Compare and contrast the Constitution and Bill of Rights
  • Examine how the Constitution and Bill of Rights impact citizens
  • Make connections between the formation of the government and the impact of the government today
  • Ask the essential question: “How were the early years of the United States transformative for the nation?”
  • Examine how early decisions shaped the nation
  • Study advancements in technology and transportation that shaped the nation
  • Relate historical advancements in technology to modern advancements in technology that currently shape the nation
  • Examine the people living in the early United States
  • Research world influences that impacted the people living during the historical period
  • Ask the essential question: “What does the Westward Expansion reveal about the character of our nation?”
  • Study the settlers’ experience in their movement Westward
  • Examine primary sources to gain multiple perspectives on the Westward Expansion including understanding the impact on the American Indians
  • Research how California and Texas became part of the United States
  • Examine maps to visualize and deepen understanding of the expansion of the United States
  • Present findings about Western Expansion of the United States up though 1850
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