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Course Title:

6th Grade Social Studies



Course Description: Sixth graders will analyze historical sources and eras through the study of the Western Hemisphere, focusing on components of civilizations both ancient and modern, analyzing patterns in history, and looking at how the past influences the present. Emphasis is placed on resource distribution, competition, cooperation and conflict and human-environment interaction. Students will use geographic tools to analyze information and data pertaining to the Western Hemisphere. Civic and global awareness is highlighted, as is the role of the U.S. in the Western Hemisphere. Multiple perspectives and appreciation of diverse backgrounds will also be explored. Students will also study how savings and investing can contribute to financial well-being.





Units at a Glance (including suggested time frame and suggested quarter)

Unit I: Foundations of Social Studies

10 weeks

Unit II: History and Human and Physical Systems

8 weeks

Unit III: Government and Economic Systems

6 weeks

Unit IV: Civic and Global Awareness

8 weeks










Assessments (BVSD assessments will be created/revised upon approval of CDE)

Assessment I Student Created Atlas (portfolio) of Various Geographic Tools

Unit I

Assessment II Ancient Americas – Presentation of Learning

Unit II

Assessment II CIA Fact Book Entry/Create a Country

Unit IV


Suggested  Unit Outline: ( ) = possible activity, [ ] = possible resource

I.    Foundations of Social Studies – 10 Weeks, 2 + - per sub-category



  1. Introduce Social Science Frameworks – Economics, Geography, History and Civics

  1. Define, explain applications, jobs, etc.(draw a picture/make a collage illustrating each discipline and literally frame them).

  1. You and Economics: Understanding Personal Finance Now and When You’re Older.

  1. A day-in-the-life of a sixth grader, identify your economic activities (diary entries, story board, classmate interview, code text, analyze and draw conclusions and create a “pop-up” advertisement aimed at yourself )

  2. The family as an economic unit (design an interview for the parents and conduct it).

  3. The family budget (make a family budget, have parents assess it).

  1. You and Geography: Learning the Countries of the Americas and Other Important Geographic Features

  1. Sheppard Software [access on Internet – Google “Shepard Software”]

  1. Learning to use Geographic Tools [access on Internet – Google keywords below]

  1. “How Stuff Works” (map-reading activities)

  2. “World Mapper” (map-reading activities)

  3. “Google Earth” (map-reading activities)

  1. Comparing Countries in the Americas: Life Expectancy, Literacy Rate, Per Capita Income, Human Development Index, etc.

  1. Atlas of the Americas containing thematic maps, charts, diagrams and other geographic tools (produce an atlas/portfolio as a final assessment) [Wikipedia and websites used above]



Key Vocabulary/Concepts: ●Opportunity Costs ●Personal Finance ●Budget ●Checking ●Savings ●Debt ●Decision –making ●Scarcity ●Geography ●Place ●Region ●Thematic Map ●Physical Map ●Political Map ●GPS ●GIS ●Hemisphere ●Statistic ●Measurement (index) ●Life Expectancy ●Literacy Rate ●Per Capita Income ●Human Development Index

II. History of the Americas and Human and Physical Systems – 8 Weeks



  1. Introduction to His/Her-story

  1. You and history: Tell your story and order the events (story board or personal narrative +personal timeline)

  2. Investigate ways we learn about the past – primary document, secondary sources, artifacts, oral tradition (gallery walk of exemplars)

  3. Examine concept of chronology and ordering of events (student created timelines)

  1. The First Hunter/Gatherers

  1. Theorize how the first Americans arrived (write compare and contrast or persuasive essay)

  2. What life was like 99% of human’s time on Earth: Role of men and women, diet, environmental impact, human and physical systems interdependence, etc. [access political cartoons on Internet, clips from “Gods Must Be Crazy” dvd] (Student created political cartoon)

  1. Rise of Farming and the First Civilizations

  1. Identify elements of all civilizations: farming, food surplus, job specialization, etc. [dvd “Guns, Germs, Steel” part 1, ppt. access on Internet - Mr. Lurie, Casey] (Double-entry note-taking)

  2. Compare and contrast the Olmec, Maya, Inca, Aztec and other indigenous peoples [dvd “500 Nations” series, ppt. access on Internet – Mr. Lurie, Casey] (Double-entry note-taking)

  3. Spanish Conquest [dvd “Guns, Germs, Steel” part 2, ppt. access on Internet - Mr. Lurie, Casey] (Double-entry note-taking)

  4. Identify patterns in the history of all civilizations of the Americas

  5. Examine the impact of the Agricultural Revolution on human and physical systems of the Americas (Student debate – Best or Worst Turning Point in History?)

  1. Ancient History Day Presentation of Learning (poster board + interactive final performance/presentation of learning assessment)

Key Vocabulary/Concepts: ●Chronology ●Hunter/Gatherer ●Agriculture ●Domesticate ●Food Surplus ●Social Classes ●Job Specialization ●Civilization ●Conquest ●Colony ●Primary Source ●Secondary Source ●Oral Tradition ●Artifact ●Perspective ●Natural resources ●Biodiversity ●Competition ●Cooperation ●Conflict ●Global warming ●Deforestation ●Sustainable ●Resource depletion

III. Comparative Government and Economic Systems – 8 Weeks



  1. Forms of Government

  1. You and government: If you ruled the world… Who would make laws? How would they be judged to be fair? What would be examples of some important ones? (Write a class constitution [Edmodo] )

  2. Government in current events (newspaper collage of government at work)

  1. Producers, Consumers and Scarcity

  1. “The Story of Stuff” [access on Internet – Google “Story of Stuff”] (Create student version of “Story of Stuff”)

  2. Distinguish between sustainability vs. depletion [access on Internet – “Sustainable products”] (Student re-created sustainable product vs. old product, presentations)

  1. Connections Between Government and Economy

  1. Political and economic systems [ppt. access on Internet – Mr. DeLoughry, Eisenhower]

  2. CIA World Fact Book [access on Internet] (Venn diagram 3 governments and economies of the Americas)

  3. Create a new country in the Americas (create your own CIA World Fact Book Entry as a final assessment)


Key Vocabulary/Concepts: ●Government ●Political System ●Constitution ●Democracy ●Authoritarian Regime ●Power ●Election ●Citizen ●Political Party ●Economy ●Traditional Economy ●Command Economy ●Market Economy ●Mixed Economy ●Goods ●Services ●Scarcity ●Producers ●Consumers ●Supply ●Demand

IV. Civics and Global Awareness – 6 Weeks



  1. Act Locally

  1. You and community: Ways that you are involved or could be involved [access on Internet – “Center for Civic Education] (Have student complete a website scavenger hunt)

  2. Actions speak louder than words (design an action plan to get involved in a local issue)

  1. Think Globally

  1. Current issues around the world [access on Internet - NPR, New York Times, CNN] (research issues and create a mini-newscast)

  2. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals [access on Internet - United Nations] (have students jigsaw a rap about the goals, have students create an MDG awareness campaign)


Key Vocabulary/Concepts: ●National ●International ●Globalization ●United Nations ●Migration ●Immigration ●Population ●Demographics ●Rural ●Urban ●Developed ●Developing ●More Developed Country (MDC) ●Less Developed Country (LDC) ●Trade ●Import ●Export ●Millennium Development Goal


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