Social studies involves the study of people, places, and events. Learning about social studies means learning about the world around you, your role and responsibilities in that world, and what has happened in the past to make it the world it is today. It’s about the land, the water, and the climate. It’s about the people that live in our world, how they live, and the similarities and differences in the cultures around the world. Social studies includes history, economics, government, and geography. Simply put, there is a lot involved in the subject of social studies. State standards and district curriculums vary, but grade levels tend to have similar themes and focus on similar topics in schools across the United States.
In second grade social studies, students will learn about their own community, state, and country. They’ll explore culture, family, and traditions within each of those. They’ll learn about similarities and differences within other states and areas of the country. Students will also explore what citizenship means, including what their roles are and how they can contribute. They’ll discuss what it means to be a good citizen and what the benefits of being a citizen are.
Students will learn about geography and will develop their map skills further. This includes using symbols and directions to locate places on a map, using a compass rose and map key, and identifying physical features. They’ll begin to explore how landforms influence cultures and nations and how people change their environment by doing things like clearing land and building roads. The economy will also be a topic of study in second grade social studies, investigating needs and wants and how those are met by both producers and consumers. Teachers will ask questions about the choices people make to meet their needs and wants, including working to earn money, how to pay for goods and services, and why we should also save money. Technology is an important part of learning about the economy and students will be asked to think about how people use technology and how it affects the home and work life of individuals and families.
In the classroom, students will be asked to practice social studies writing. This might include something as simple as labeling a map, but students might even be asked to respond to a question in writing. Second grade social studies vocabulary is also important and at this level there will be plenty of new words for students to learn. They’ll need to use the vocabulary base they have from kindergarten and first grade and expand on those words, phrases, and ideas.
Learning about social studies in school and at home can be fun and rewarding. There are so many topics involved in social studies, that there is bound to be something that stands out and interests a child. Parents can help by encouraging those interests and providing guidance to find other sources of information.