A. geography: people, places and environments content standard

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Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards for Social Studies



Students in Wisconsin will learn about geography through the study of the relationships among people, places, and environments.

Rationale: Students gain geographical perspectives on the world by studying the earth and the interactions of people with places where they live, work, and play. Knowledge of geography helps students to address the various cultural, economic, social, and civic implications of life in earth's many environments. In Wisconsin schools, the content, concepts, and skills related to geography may be taught in units and courses that deal with geography, history, global studies, anthropology, sociology, psychology, current events, and world religions.


By the end of grade four, students will:

A.4.1 Use reference points, latitude and longitude, direction, size, shape, and scale to locate positions on various representations of the earth's surface

A.4.2 Locate on a map or globe physical features such as continents, oceans, mountain ranges, and land forms, natural features such as resources, flora, and fauna; and human features such as cities, states, and national borders

A.4.3 Construct a map of the world from memory, showing the location of major land masses, bodies of water, and mountain ranges

A.4.4 Describe and give examples of ways in which people interact with the physical environment, including use of land, location of communities, methods of construction, and design of shelters

A.4.5 Use atlases, databases, grid systems, charts, graphs, and maps to gather information about the local community, Wisconsin, the United States, and the world

A.4.6 Identify and distinguish between predictable environmental changes, such as weather patterns and seasons, and unpredictable changes, such as floods and droughts, and describe the social and economic effects of these changes

A.4.7 Identify connections between the local community and other places in Wisconsin, the United States, and the world

A.4.8 Identify major changes in the local community that have been caused by human beings, such as a construction project, a new highway, a building torn down, or a fire; discuss reasons for these changes; and explain their probable effects on the community and the environment

A.4.9 Give examples to show how scientific and technological knowledge has led to environmental changes, such as pollution prevention measures, air-conditioning, and solar heating



Students in Wisconsin will learn about the history of Wisconsin, the United States, and the world, examining change and continuity over time in order to develop historical perspective, explain historical relationships, and analyze issues that affect the present and the future.

Rationale: Students need to understand their historical roots and how past events have shaped their world. In developing these insights, students must know what life was like in the past and how things change and develop over time. Reconstructing and interpreting historical events provides a needed perspective in addressing the past, the present, and the future. In Wisconsin schools, the content, concepts, and skills related to history may be taught in units and courses in United States and world history, global studies, geography, economics, anthropology, sociology, psychology, current events, and the humanities.


By the end of grade four, students will:

B.4.1 Identify and examine various sources of information that are used for constructing an understanding of the past, such as artifacts, documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, paintings, architecture, oral presentations, graphs, and charts

B.4.2 Use a timeline to select, organize, and sequence information describing eras in history

B.4.3 Examine biographies, stories, narratives, and folk tales to understand the lives of ordinary and extraordinary people, place them in time and context, and explain their relationship to important historical events

B.4.4 Compare and contrast changes in contemporary life with life in the past by looking at social, economic, political, and cultural roles played by individuals and groups

B.4.5 Identify the historical background and meaning of important political values such as freedom, democracy, and justice

B.4.6 Explain the significance of national and state holidays, such as Independence Day and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and national and state symbols, such as the United States flag and the state flags

B.4.7 Identify and describe important events and famous people in Wisconsin and United States history

B.4.8 Compare past and present technologies related to energy, transportation, and communications and describe the effects of technological change, either beneficial or harmful, on people and the environment

B.4.9 Describe examples of cooperation and interdependence among individuals, groups, and nations

B.4.10 Explain the history, culture, tribal sovereignty, and current status of the American Indian tribes and bands in Wisconsin



Students in Wisconsin will learn about political science and acquire the knowledge of political systems necessary for developing individual civic responsibility by studying the history and contemporary uses of power, authority, and governance.

Rationale: Knowledge about the structures of power, authority, and governance and their evolving functions in contemporary society is essential if young citizens are to develop civic responsibility. Young people become more effective citizens and problem solvers when they know how local, state, and national governments and international organizations function and interact. In Wisconsin schools, the content, concepts, and skills related to political science may be taught in units and courses dealing with government, history, law, political science, global studies, civics, and current events.


By the end of grade four, students will:

C.4.1 Identify and explain the individual's responsibilities to family, peers, and the community, including the need for civility and respect for diversity

C.4.2 Identify the documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, in which the rights of citizens in our country are guaranteed.

C.4.3 Explain how families, schools, and other groups develop, enforce, and change rules of behavior and explain how various behaviors promote or hinder cooperation

C.4.4 Explain the basic purpose of government in American society, recognizing the three levels of government

C.4.5 Explain how various forms of civic action such as running for political office, voting, signing an initiative, and speaking at hearings, can contribute to the well-being of the community

C.4.6 Locate, organize, and use relevant information to understand an issue in the classroom or school, while taking into account the viewpoints and interests of different groups and individuals



Students in Wisconsin will learn about production, distribution, exchange, and consumption so that they can make informed economic decisions.

Rationale: Individuals, families, businesses, and governments must make complex economic choices as they decide what goods and services to provide and how to allocate limited resources for distribution and consumption. In a global economy marked by rapid technological change, students must learn how to be better producers, consumers, and economic citizens. In Wisconsin schools, the content, concepts, and skills related to economics may be taught in units and courses including economics, history, government, global studies, and current events.


By the end of grade four, students will:

D.4.1 Describe and explain of the role of money, banking, and savings in everyday life

D.4.2 Identify situations requiring an allocation of limited economic resources and appraise the opportunity cost (for example, spending one's allowance on a movie will mean less money saved for a new video game)

D.4.3 Identify local goods and services that are part of the global economy and explain their use in Wisconsin

D.4.4 Give examples to explain how businesses and industry depend upon workers with specialized skills to make production more efficient

D.4.5 Distinguish between private goods and services (for example, the family car or a local restaurant) and public goods and services (for example, the interstate highway system or the United States Postal Service)

D.4.6 Identify the economic roles of various institutions, including households, businesses, and government

D.4.7 Describe how personal economic decisions, such as deciding what to buy, what to recycle, or how much to contribute to people in need, can affect the lives of people in Wisconsin, the United States, and the world

Students in Wisconsin will learn about the behavioral sciences by exploring concepts from the discipline of sociology, the study of the interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions; the discipline of psychology, the study of factors that influence individual identity and learning; and the discipline of anthropology, the study of cultures in various times and settings.

Rationale: Learning about the behavioral sciences helps students to understand people in various times and places. By examining cultures, students are able to compare our ways of life and those of other groups of people in the past and present. As citizens, students need to know how institutions are maintained or changed and how they influence individuals, cultures, and societies. Knowledge of the factors that contribute to an individual's uniqueness is essential to understanding the influences on self and on others. In Wisconsin schools, the content, concepts, and skills related to the study of psychology, sociology, and anthropology may be taught in units and courses dealing with anthropology, sociology, psychology, government, history, geography, civics, global studies, current events, and the humanities.


By the end of grade four, students will:

E.4.1 Explain the influence of prior knowledge, motivation, capabilities, personal interests, and other factors on individual learning

E.4.2 Explain the influence of factors such as family, neighborhood, personal interests, language, likes and dislikes, and accomplishments on individual identity and development

E.4.3 Describe how families are alike and different, comparing characteristics such as size, hobbies, celebrations, where families live, and how they make a living

E.4.4 Describe the ways in which ethnic cultures influence the daily lives of people

E.4.5 Identify and describe institutions such as school, church, police, and family and describe their contributions to the well being of the community, state, nation, and global society

E.4.6 Give examples of group and institutional influences such as laws, rules, and peer pressure on people, events, and culture

E.4.7 Explain the reasons why individuals respond in different ways to a particular event and the ways in which interactions among individuals influence behavior

E.4.8 Describe and distinguish among the values and beliefs of different groups and institutions

E.4.9 Explain how people learn about others who are different from themselves

E.4.10 Give examples and explain how the media may influence opinions, choices, and decisions.

E.4.11 Give examples and explain how language, stories, folk tales, music, and other artistic creations are expressions of culture and how they convey knowledge of other peoples and cultures

E.4.12 Give examples of important contributions made by Wisconsin citizens, United States citizens, and world citizens

E.4.13 Investigate and explain similarities and differences in ways that cultures meet human needs

E.4.14 Describe how differences in cultures may lead to understanding or misunderstanding among people

E.4.15 Describe instances of cooperation and interdependence among individuals, groups, and nations, such as helping others in famines and disasters

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