The fifth grade social studies content expectations mark a departure from the social studies approach taken in previous grades. Building upon the geography, civics and government, and economics concepts of the United States mastered in fourth grade and historical inquiry from earlier grades, the fifth grade expectations begin a more discipline-centered approach concentrating on the early history of the United States. Students begin their study of American history with American Indian peoples before the arrival of European explorers and conclude with the adoption of the Bill of Rights in 1791. Although the content expectations are organized by historical era, they build upon students’ understandings of the other social studies disciplines from earlier grades and require students to apply these concepts within the context of American history.
Era 1: Beginnings to 1620
Beginning with pre-Columbian times, the expectations focus on American Indians living in North America before European exploration. The geographic concepts of spatial awareness, places and regions, human systems, and human environment interactions are addressed throughout the era as students study American history to 1620. The expectations deliberately expand upon students’ knowledge of American Indians living in Michigan and the concept of regions from previous grades. In examining European exploration and conquest, the expectations embed geographic, civics, and economic concepts, and revisit the case study method used by historians to explain the technological and political developments that made exploration possible. In deepening understanding of perspective, students also explore the goals, obstacles, motivations, and consequences of European exploration and the subsequent colonization of the Americas. The expectations also include an introduction to life in Africa as a foundation for examining interactions among Europeans, American Indians, and Africans from the 15th through the 17th centuries with a focus on how economic concepts influenced the behavior of people and nations. Students apply the tools of the historian by using primary and secondary sources to compare European and American Indian cultures, using previously established criteria. The expectations also focus on the interaction among Europeans, American Indians, and Africans, by exploring the impact of European contact on American Indian cultures, comparing the approaches of the British and French in their interactions with American Indians, and examining the Columbian Exchange and its impact on all three groups.
Era 2: Colonization and Settlement
In learning about the regional settlement patterns and significant developments of the three distinct colonial regions prior to the American Revolution, students apply their conceptual understanding of regions and the geography of the United States. They explore how the geography influenced peoples’ daily lives and economic activities as three distinct colonial regions developed. The expectations require students to apply concepts of government and economics to further understand the Southern, New England, and Middle colonies as they learn about the establishment of colonial settlements, development of colonial governments, role of religion, relationships between colonists and American Indians, and development of the institution of slavery. Using geography, students explore how human systems such as religion, movement of people, and ethnic diversity led to the establishment of other colonies within particular regions. Special attention is paid to the European slave trade and slavery in Colonial America as students explore the lives of enslaved peoples and free Africans living in the American colonies. Fifth grade students enhance their understanding of historical perspective by analyzing the perspectives of different groups living in colonial America. By comparing the different colonial regions that developed with respect to politics, economics, religion, social institutions, and human-environment interactions, the expectations prepare students for American history in middle school serving as the precursor for the regional and racial issues that culminated in the Civil War.
Era 3: Revolution and the New Nation
In studying the American Revolution and the New Nation, the expectations deliberately build upon students’ prior knowledge in government and economics. The political and economic aspects of the French and Indian War and its aftermath are stressed. Students deepen their understanding of perspective by comparing patriot and loyalist perspectives with respect to events that eventually culminated in the American Revolution. The expectations in this historical era emphasize significant ideas about government as reflected in the Declaration of Independence and the role of key individuals and groups in declaring independence. Students also apply concepts of power and authority to the perspectives of the colonists and the British during the revolutionary era. Emphasis is placed on how colonial experiences and ideas about government influenced the decision of the colonists to declare independence. Students examine the course, character, and consequences of the American Revolution using geography and economics students to compare the advantages and disadvantages of each side in the war. Students also describe the significant events and turning points during the war. In examining the challenges faced by the new nation under the Articles of Confederation, the expectations continue to build upon students’ understanding of government. By exploring the political ideas underlying the Articles of Confederation and the subsequent adoption of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights (with particular emphasis on the rights contained in first four amendments), the values and principlesof American democracy are revisited through a historical context. Students examine how the Founders sought to limit the power of government through principles of separation of powers, checks and balances, dual sovereignty (federalism), protection of individual rights, popular sovereignty, and rule of law.
Public Discourse, Decision Making, and Citizen Involvement
The expectations continue to stress the importance of citizen action in a democratic republic as students expand their ability to address public policy issues. Students address contemporary public issues related to the Constitution and identify the related factual, definitional, and ethical questions. They use graphic data and other sources to analyze information about the issue, evaluate alternative resolutions, and use core democratic values to explain why people may differ on the resolution to a constitutional issue. Students are required to demonstrate increasing sophistication in their abilities to communicate a position on more complex national public policy issue and support it with a reasoned argument.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        V . 12/07 MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
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