Social Studies is a subject that includes many different topics and themes. Some of the topics it includes are economics, history, geography, religion, and political science. It is studied in every year of school and helps to expand students’ knowledge of the world around them and how things have changed over time. Learning about social studies means learning about your role and responsibilities in the world and what you can do to help your community and be a good citizen. It means learning about the people that live in our world and how they live.
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. What students learn in fifth grade social studies will be similar from district to district, but since it covers a wide range of history, both of the United States and the world, the details schools and teachers focus on might be very different. In general, learning about social studies in fifth grade means learning about history and learning about the geography of the United States.
Students will learn about early civilizations, dynasties, and empires. They’ll learn the history of the young United States and the people that were important to the formation and growth of our country. (The colonies and Revolutionary War are usually taught in fourth grade.) From there, they’ll learn about the US economy in the mid-1800s and the differences between the northern and southern economies. They’ll explore the Civil War and how the country dealt with the aftermath of the war, known as the Reconstruction Period. Other topics discussed in fifth grade are economics, world geography, and the similarities and differences among the states.
At this level it is important for students to have a solid understanding of fifth grade social studies vocabulary. A lot of new words and phrases are introduced and vocabulary from previous years is used to help explain new concepts. This includes vocabulary in the areas of history, politics, and geography. It is also important for students to practice social studies writing at this level. This is the time of standardized and state tests where students are expected to be able to synthesize the information they read and then write about it. They’ll need to be proficient at writing short responses in answer to test questions as well as being able to answer essay questions in a complete and clear manner.
Students will be learning about social studies in school and at home as they venture through their fifth grade year. Teachers will provide lessons and additional resources in the classroom and will ask that students continue to reinforce what they’ve learned when at home. This can be done with books, magazines, newspapers, political events, projects, and with online sources.