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New York State Social Studies

Social Studies is intended to promote civic competence through the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities. Within the school program, Social Studies provides coordinated, systematic study that draws upon such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, belief systems, and sociology, as well as upon appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences. The primary purpose of Social Studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world (adapted from the National Council for the Social Studies [NCSS] definition of Social Studies).

New York State Learning Standards for Social Studies

The five learning standards, adopted by the Board of Regents in 1996, continue to provide the overall foundation for the NYS Framework. Each Key Idea is derived from and/or aligned to one of these standards as the primary standard. In many cases, a Key Idea represents more than one standard. These standards serve as a consistent set of expectations for what students should learn and be able to do, so that we can ensure that every student across New York State is prepared to be an active and engaged citizen who is ready to pursue college or a career.

Standard 1: History of the United States and New York

Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in the history of the United States and New York.

Standard 2: World History

Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in world history and examine the broad sweep of history from a variety of perspectives.

Standard 3: Geography

Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of the geography of the interdependent world in which we live—local, national, and global—including the distribution of people, places, and environments over Earth’s surface.

Standard 4: Economics

Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of how the United States and other societies develop economic systems and associated institutions to allocate scarce resources, how major decision-making units function in the United States and other national economies, and how an economy solves the scarcity problem through market and nonmarket mechanisms.

Standard 5: Civics, Citizenship, and Government

Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of the necessity for establishing governments; the governmental systems of the United States and other nations; the United States Constitution; the basic civic values of American constitutional democracy; and the roles, rights, and responsibilities of citizenship, including avenues of participation.

Unifying Themes

These ten unifying Social Studies themes represent different lenses that can be applied to the teaching and learning of the Key Ideas and Conceptual Understandings within the NYS Framework across all grades, K-12.

Themes at a Glance

1. Individual Development and Cultural Identity
2. Development, Movement, and Interaction of Cultures
3. Time, Continuity, and Change
4. Geography, Humans, and the Environment
5. Development and Transformation of Social Structures
6. Power, Authority, and Governance
7. Civic Ideals and Practices
8. Creation, Expansion, and Interaction of Economic Systems
9. Science, Technology, and Innovation10. Global Connections and Exchange

 

Unifying Themes in Context

1. Individual Development and Cultural Identity

  • Role of social, political, and cultural interactions in the development of identity
  • Personal identity as a function of an individual’s culture, time, place, geography, interaction with groups, influences from institutions, and lived experiences

2. Development, Movement, and Interaction of Cultures

  • Role of diversity within and among cultures
  • Aspects of culture such as belief systems, religious faith, or political ideals as influences on other parts of a culture, such as its institutions or literature, music, and art
  • Cultural diffusion and change over time as facilitating different ideas and beliefs

 3. Time, Continuity, and Change

  • History as a formal study that applies research methods
  • Reading, reconstructing, and interpreting events
  • Analyzing causes and consequences of events and developments
  • Considering competing interpretations of events

 4. Geography, Humans, and the Environment

  • Relationship between human populations and the physical world (people, places, and environments)
  • Effect of human activities on the environment
  • Interactions between regions, locations, places, people, and environments
  • Spatial patterns of place and location

 5. Development and Transformation of Social Structures

  • Role of social class, systems of stratification, social groups, and institutions
  • Role of gender, race, ethnicity, education, class, age, and religion in defining social structures within a culture
  • Social and political inequalities
  • Expansion and access of rights through concepts of justice and human rights

6. Power, Authority, and Governance

  • Purposes, characteristics, and functions of various governance systems as they are practiced
  • Individual rights and responsibilities as protected and challenged within the context of majority rule
  • Fundamental principles and values of constitutional democracy
  • Origins, uses, and abuses of power
  • Conflict, diplomacy, and war

7. Civic Ideals and Practices

  • Basic freedoms and rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democratic republic
  • Role of the citizen in the community and nation and as a member of the global community
  • Civic participation and engagement
  • Respect for diversity
  • Civic ideals and practices in countries other than our democratic republic
  • Struggle for rights, access to citizenship rights, and universal human rights

8. Creation, Expansion, and Interaction of Economic Systems

  • Production, distribution, and consumption
  • Scarcity of resources and the challenges of meeting wants and needs
  • Supply/demand and the coordination of individual choices
  • Economic systems
  • Trade, interdependence, and globalization
  • Role of government in the economy
  • Personal finance

9. Science, Technology, and Innovation

  • Scientific and intellectual theories, findings, discoveries, and philosophies
  • Applications of science and innovations in transportation, communication, military technology, navigation, agriculture, and industrialization
  • Relationship between science, technology, and innovation and social, cultural, and economic change


10. Global Connections and Exchange
  • Past, current, and likely future global connections and interactions
  • Cultural diffusion; the spread of ideas, beliefs, technology, and goods
  • Role of technology
  • Benefits/consequences of global interdependence (social, political, economic)
  • Causes and patterns of migration
  • Tension between national interests and global priorities
Contact Information
By Mail:  Vanderbilt Parkway Commack, NY 11725
By Phone: 
By Email: [email protected]
Directions to Commack Schools
The Commack School District Mission Statement
Within the context of a caring community of learners, our primary mission is to provide an exemplary
learning experience that will allow each child to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes, and
values to become a successful, contributing member within our school community and greater society.
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