Back to School at FamilyEducation.com
Home > School and Learning > By Grade > 4th Grade > 4th Grade Social Studies > Social Studies in Fourth Grade
|

Social Studies in Fourth Grade

compass_four.gifWhat kids should already know
History and geography begin to become distinct fields of study in the fourth grade, although they should be linked whenever possible to what is being studied in language arts and in science. By fourth grade children know how 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 some 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 make use of active inquiry around questions they pose.

At the same time, children are helped to frame historical questions in a more conceptual fashion: Why did that happen? What other possibilities were there? What were the effects? How do we know? How have things changed or stayed the same since then?

What kids should learn in Social Studies
The fourth grade curriculum concentrates on state history and geography, although American history is necessarily part of these studies. But in the best classrooms, the social studies curriculum also continues to follow world events. Furthermore, the teacher uses the children's interests as the springboard for investigations into people's origins in Europe, Africa, Asia, or Latin America. Social studies also expands children's knowledge and appreciation of the literature of legends, those mythical stories that have been handed down across the generations. Children in the intermediate and middle school years tend to be attracted to the mythic, and mythic stories can teach much about various peoples and cultures. Traditional stories about King Arthur, Merlin the magician, and the Round Table are just the beginning. Children can also read legends about Atlantis, El Dorado, Romulus and Remus, Zoroaster, Yahuar Huacac, and the Native American mythic and folk heroes.

State History
Regarding state history, children generally study such subjects as the geographic environment over time; glaciers and their effect on land forms (where appropriate); the Native American inhabitants and their ways of life; the European gentry; and the development of towns, cities, and governmental structures. Children will read biographies of people who lived in their state or influenced its history. Children will also make more visits to historical sites and museums, and they will make a variety of personal investigations that might involve interviewing family and community members about past events, visiting a county courthouse to see old records, and the like. Finally, teachers will encourage the children to read the daily newspaper, watch news on television, and talk regularly with their parents or guardians about local, state, national, and world events.

Reprinted from 101 Educational Conversations with Your 4th Grader by Vito Perrone, published by Chelsea House Publishers.
Copyright 1994 by Chelsea House Publishers, a division of Main Line Book Co. All rights reserved.

More on: 4th Grade

|


stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks

get ready for school!

We’ve got your
shopping list,
lunch menu,
and more.

GO

highlights

Handwriting Headquarters
We've got handwriting practice worksheets, handwriting tips, and answers to your child's writing struggles, just in time for back to school. Brought to you by BIC.

11 Coolest Lunch Boxes for Kids
Send your child's lunch to school in style! Check out our picks for the 11 best lunch boxes with great features from BPA-free accessories to spill-resistant fabric.

7 Important Back-to-School Safety Tips
Follow these back-to-school safety tips to make sure your child stays safe on the way to school, in the classroom, and while on the playground.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

Join BIC on our mission to save handwriting and Fight For Your Write! Writing helps kids become better readers, boosts their confidence and sparks their creativity. Visit BICFightForYourWrite.com to sign our petition to save handwriting!