National Council for the Social Studies, the largest professional association for social studies educators in the world, defines social studies as:
…the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Within the school program, social studies provides coordinated, systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences. The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.
SC Social Studies Academic Standards 2011
Grade-Level Standards for Social Studies
Kindergarten: Children as Citizens
Social Studies in Kindergarten focuses on those aspects of living that affect the children and their families. The classroom serves as a model of society in which decisions are made with a sense of individual responsibility and with respect for the rules by which we all must live. The students learn about the nature of their physical environment - home, school, neighborhood, and town, including how the people in their community provide goods and services. They also learn about the role of families now and in the past; the need for rules and authority; and the values of American democracy as reflected in the traditions and history of the nation.
Grade 1: Foundations for Social Studies: Families
The focus for Social Studies in the first grade is the family in America and in other countries around the world. Students explore their own culture and then expand their study to other lands and peoples to learn about the ways that those families live and work. They also learn about the connections between families and the environment and explore the concept of government, including the role of government in making and enforcing laws.
Grade 2: Foundations for Social Studies: Communities
The focus for Social Studies in grade two is on communities and the diverse cultures that have contributed to the nation's heritage. Students examine not only the geographic locations but also the cultural characteristics and contributions that have shaped communities and regions. They continue their study of government by identifying its functions and its leaders. Additionally, students focus on the fact the public's choices about what to buy determines what goods and services are produced.
Grade 3: South Carolina Studies
The exceptional story of South Carolina is the focus of third-grade Social Studies. Building upon the economic, geographic, political, and historical concepts learned in the primary grades, students will discover how a variety of cultural influences have interacted to create a unique and diverse society within our state. Students will begin to understand South Carolina's influential role and place within the greater context of United States history. Students completing third-grade Social Studies will then be prepared to build on their learning as they move to a study of United States history in the fourth and fifth grades.
Grade 4: U.S. Studies to 1865
The Social Studies standards in grades four and five are a comprehensive history in the United States. The first part of this story, which dates from the exploration of the New World to the end of the Civil War, is the focus for grade four. Students learn about the contributions of Native Americans, the exploration and settlement by the Europeans, the beginnings of the United States as a nation, the westward expansion and its implications, and the problems that tore the nation apart and caused a civil war. Students also explore the documents, people, and events that have made the United States what it is today.
Grade 5: U.S. Studies 1865-Present
Students continue their study of the history of the United States in grade five, beginning with Reconstruction and continuing through the present day. They learn about the renewal of the country after the Civil War; the continued westward expansion; the rise of the United States as a world power; the nation's involvement in world affairs in the twentieth century; and nation's leadership role after World War II, during and after the Cold War, and into the twenty-first century. They also learn about the growing pains of the country as its citizens dealt with industrialization, the issues of women's suffrage and civil rights for all Americans, economic depression and recovery, and challenges in foreign diplomacy.
Grade 6: Early Culture to 1600
Grade 7: Contemporary Cultures: 1600 to Present
Grade 8: South Carolina: One of the United States
Global Studies I and II (Electives)
U.S. History and the Constitution (Required)
Economics (Required) and U.S. Government (Required)