Social Studies

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What Should Teachers Know about Social Studies


The purpose of this website is to introduce you to the concepts associated with the field of “Social Studies.” Social studies can be defined in a number of ways. The most fundamental approach is that it consist of:

  • Knowledge in the “disciplines” of social studies, which are typically categorized as
    • History
    • Geography
    • Economics,
    • Government (Civics), and
    • Social Sciences such as anthropology, sociology and psychology
  • Citizenship Education
  • Character Education

To begin your journey through social studies,, it is recommended that you navigate in the following order:

  1. Social Studies Big Ideas
  2. The NCSS Themes
  3. The NCSS Democratic Beliefs and Values
  4. The NCSS Essential Skills of Social Studies Education
  5. Sample History Textbook Content "Shaping a New Nation."
  6. Sample Geography Textbook Content "Human Geography."
  7. History
  8. Geography
  9. And, because of the importantance of children trade books to early social studies education, you can find great resources at the annotated descriptions in the NCSS Notable Trade books.

At the above associated links, you will find recommended materials and links to resources that you can use in teaching your students – from which you can gain a greater understanding of the underlying modes of reasoning in the social studies - the critical thinking skills needed to be an effective citizen.


Social Studies Big Ideas

NCSS Themes



Civics Home Page

Economics Home Page




The NCSS Democratic Beliefs and Values

The NCSS Essential Skills of Social Studies Education

National Geography Standards and Themes

National History Standards

Standards for Historical Thinking

Trade Books Sources

2006 NCSS Notable Trade books

2005 NCSS Notable Trade books

2004 NCSS Notable Trade books

2003 NCSS Notable Trade books

2002 NCSS Notable Trade books

2001 NCSS Notable Trade books