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Social Studies in the Fifth Grade

History and geography are distinct fields of study in the fifth grade, although they should be linked whenever possible to what is being studied in language arts and in science. By fifth grade children are able to use several different kinds of maps. Further, they are able to use primary sources -- historical records, diaries, newspapers, and the like -- to enlarge their understanding of other people and other time periods; and they have had a fair amount of experience interviewing their parents and grandparents about other times.

These skills are enhanced during the intermediate grades as children continue to work with maps and primary documents, and as they become involved in active inquiry to answer questions they have posed.

At the same time, children are helped to frame historical questions in a more conceptual fashion: Why did that happen? What are the facts? What are the interpretations? What other possibilities were there? What were the effects? How do we know? How have things changed or stayed the same since then? Whose voice is not being heard?



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