Social Studies Standards

K-2 Standards

The Social Studies Core in kindergarten to second grade has two broad components. The first component is one of expanding social themes for the child: self, family, classroom, school, neighborhood, and community.

During the course of kindergarten, students learn basic concepts of historical time sequence and geographic directions. Emphasis is placed on safe practices and the importance of following rules and respecting the rights of others. Students are also taught national symbols and songs.

3-6 Standards

The social studies core in grades three to six is essentially a modified “expanding environments” approach to social studies. This approach includes, each year, studies in history, geography, economics and civics that begins with third grade’s study of culture, the local community, and indigenous communities. In fourth grade students study the state, fifth grade the nation, and sixth grade the world. The core expectations deepen and expand as appropriate for each corresponding grade level. Students must be able to demonstrate an understanding of overarching social studies concepts, but it is essential that a small number of clear outcomes for Utah students are delineated since social studies is such an immense field of study. After careful study of the civic purpose for social studies education, after analysis of the most important themes expressed by classroom teachers and community members, and after careful consideration of the ten themes* developed by the National Council for the Social Studies, as well as national standards in geography, history, and economics, four essential understandings became the framework upon which the Utah core was built:

  • We have human rights and responsibilities
  • We are globally interconnected
  • We create systems of power, authority, and governance
  • Continuity and change over time are a part of life

7-12 Standards

Civic engagement is one of the fundamental purposes of education. It is vital that public schools fulfill their civic mission,the preparation of young people for participation in America’s democratic republic.The progress of our communities,state, nation, and world rests upon the preparation of young people to collaboratively and deliberatively address problems, to defend their own rights and the rights of others, and to balance personal interests with the common good. Social studies classrooms are the ideal locations to foster civic virtue, consider current issues, learn how to act civilly toward others, build a civic identity, and promote an awareness of global issues. These skills, habits, and qualities of character will prepare students to accept responsibility for preserving and defending their liberties.

Utah Social Studies Core Standards are organized into strands, which represent significant areas of learning within content areas. Depending on the core area, these strands may be designated by time periods, thematic principles, modes of practice, or other organizing principles. Within each strand are standards. A standard is an articulation of the demonstrated proficiency to be obtained. A standard represents an essential element of the learning that is expected. While some standards within a strand may be more comprehensive than others, all standards are essential for mastery.

- Utah State Board of Education, Social Studies Standards