Read each of the articles listed below to learn how key concepts apply to students' deep understanding of social studies. As you read, look for these concepts, their definitions, and examples of each.
After you read the articles, write answers to the following questions. You can use the Reading Questions form (PDF).
- What are the key elements of the NCSS definition of social studies?
- What is the role of social studies in the general curriculum?
- Briefly describe the 10 themes of social studies. What academic discipline(s) provide the foundation for each theme?
- Describe the difference between deep and fragile knowledge.
- Describe performance-based understanding and explain how it provides evidence of deep understanding.
- Briefly describe the five elements of powerful teaching and learning.
Save your written work to submit as an assignment.
What Is Social Studies? (PDF)
Defines social studies and describes its role within the curriculum.
National Council for the Social Studies. "What Is Social Studies?" Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.
NCSS Curriculum Standards (PDF)
Outlines organization and use of the 10 themes of the social studies standards.
National Council for the Social Studies. "Executive Summary." Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.
Deep and Fragile Knowledge (PDF)
Summarizes the elements of deep and fragile knowledge.
Perkins, David. Smart Schools. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.
What Is Understanding? A Deeper Look (PDF)
Explores the relationship among teaching, learning, and understanding.
Active Learning Practices for School, What Is Understanding? A Deeper Look. Harvard University Graduate School of Education and Project Zero.
Powerful Teaching and Learning (PDF)
Describes the elements of powerful teaching and learning.
National Council for the Social Studies. "Principles of Teaching and Learning." Expectations of Excellence: Curriculum Standards for Social Studies.