5th Grade Social Studies Standards



5.1 Students describe the major pre-Columbian settlements, including the cliff dwellers and pueblo people of the desert Southwest, the American Indians of the Pacific Northwest, the nomadic nations of the Great Plains, and the woodland peoples east of the Mississippi River.


         1.             Describe how geography and climate influenced the way various nations lived and adjusted to the natural                 environment, including locations of villages, the distinct structures that they built, and how they obtained                 food, clothing, tools, and utensils.

       2.            Describe their varied customs and folklore traditions.

       3.            Explain their varied economies and systems of government.


5.2    Students trace the routes of early explorers and describe the early explorations of the Americas.


              1.           Describe the entrepreneurial characteristics of early explorers (e.g., Christopher Columbus, Francisco                          Vásquez de Coronado) and the technological developments that made sea exploration by latitude and                              longitude possible (e.g., compass, sextant, astrolabe, seaworthy ships, chronometers, gunpowder).

              2.          Explain the aims, obstacles, and accomplishments of the explorers, sponsors, and leaders of key European                     expeditions and the reasons Europeans chose to explore and colonize the world (e.g., the Spanish                                     Reconquista, the Protestant Reformation, the Counter Reformation).

              3.          Trace the routes of the major land explorers of the United States, the distances traveled by explorers,                     and the Atlantic trade routes that linked Africa, the West Indies, the British colonies, and Europe.

              4.          Locate on maps of North and South America land claimed by Spain, France, England, Portugal, the                                    Netherlands, Sweden, and Russia.


5.3    Students describe the cooperation and conflict that existed among the American Indians and between the Indian nations and the new settlers.


       1.                  Describe the competition among the English, French, Spanish, Dutch, and Indian nations for control of                          North America.

       2.                 Describe the cooperation that existed between the colonists and Indians during the 1600s and 1700s (e.g.,                     in agriculture, the fur trade, military alliances, treaties, cultural interchanges).

       3.                 Examine the conflicts before the Revolutionary War (e.g., the Pequot and King Philip’s Wars in New England,                     the Powhatan Wars in Virginia, the French and Indian War).

       4.                 Discuss the role of broken treaties and massacres and the factors that led to the Indians’ defeat, including                     the resistance of Indian nations to encroachments and assimilation (e.g., the story of the Trail of Tears).

       5.                 Describe the internecine Indian conflicts, including the competing claims for control of lands (e.g., actions                     of the Iroquois, Huron, Lakota [Sioux]).

       6.                 Explain the influence and achievements of significant leaders of the time (e.g., John Marshall, Andrew                          Jackson, Chief Tecumseh, Chief Logan, Chief John Ross, Sequoyah).


5.4     Students understand the political, religious, social, and economic institutions that evolved in the colonial era.


       1.                  Understand the influence of location and physical setting on the founding of the original 13 colonies, and                       identify on a map the locations of the colonies and of the American Indian nations already inhabiting these                     areas.

       2.                 Identify the major individuals and groups responsible for the founding of the various colonies and the                           reasons for their founding (e.g., John Smith, Virginia; Roger Williams, Rhode Island; William Penn,                                  Pennsylvania; Lord Baltimore, Maryland; William Bradford, Plymouth; John Winthrop, Massachusetts).

       3.                 Describe the religious aspects of the earliest colonies (e.g., Puritanism in Massachusetts, Anglicanism in                        Virginia, Catholicism in Maryland, Quakerism in Pennsylvania).

       4.                 Identify the significance and leaders of the First Great Awakening, which marked a shift in religious ideas,                     practices, and allegiances in the colonial period, the growth of religious toleration, and free exercise of                        religion.

       5.                 Understand how the British colonial period created the basis for the development of political self-                                government and a free-market economic system and the differences between the British, Spanish, and                         French colonial systems.

       6.                 Describe the introduction of slavery into America, the responses of slave families to their condition, the                     ongoing struggle between proponents and opponents of slavery, and the gradual institutionalization of                            slavery in the South.

       7.                 Explain the early democratic ideas and practices that emerged during the colonial period, including the                          significance of representative assemblies and town meetings.


5.5    Students explain the causes of the American Revolution.


       1.                  Understand how political, religious, and economic ideas and interests brought about the Revolution (e.g.,                        resistance to imperial policy, the Stamp Act, the Townshend Acts, taxes on tea, Coercive Acts).

       2.                 Know the significance of the first and second Continental Congresses and of the Committees of                                       Correspondence.

       3.                 Understand the people and events associated with the drafting and signing of the Declaration of                                     Independence and the document’s significance, including the key political concepts it embodies, the origins                     of those concepts, and its role in severing ties with Great Britain.

       4.                 Describe the views, lives, and impact of key individuals during this period (e.g., King George III, Patrick                        Henry, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams).



5.6     Students understand the course and consequences of the American Revolution.


       1.                  Identify and map the major military battles, campaigns, and turning points of the Revolutionary War, the                     roles of the American and British leaders, and the Indian leaders’ alliances on both sides.

       2.                 Describe the contributions of France and other nations and of individuals to the outcome of the Revolution                     (e.g., Benjamin Franklin’s negotiations with the French, the French navy, the Treaty of Paris, The                                    Netherlands, Russia, the Marquis Marie Joseph de Lafayette, Tadeusz Ko´sciuszko, Baron Friedrich                              Wilhelm von Steuben).

       3.                 Identify the different roles women played during the Revolution (e.g., Abigail Adams, Martha Washington,                     Molly Pitcher, Phillis Wheatley, Mercy Otis Warren).

       4.                 Understand the personal impact and economic hardship of the war on families, problems of financing the                       war, wartime inflation, and laws against hoarding goods and materials and profiteering.

       5.                 Explain how state constitutions that were established after 1776 embodied the ideals of the American                         Revolution and helped serve as models for the U.S. Constitution.

       6.                 Demonstrate knowledge of the significance of land policies developed under the Continental Congress (e.g.,                     sale of western lands, the Northwest Ordinance of 1787) and those policies’ impact on American Indians’                     land.

       7.                 Understand how the ideals set forth in the Declaration of Independence changed the way people viewed                       slavery.


5.7      Students describe the people and events associated with the development of the

   U.S. Constitution and analyze the Constitution’s significance as the foundation of the American    republic.


       1.                  List the shortcomings of the Articles of Confederation as set forth by their critics.

       2.                 Explain the significance of the new Constitution of 1787, including the struggles over its ratification and                     the reasons for the addition of the Bill of Rights.

       3.                 Understand the fundamental principles of American constitutional democracy, including how the government                     derives its power from the people and the primacy of individual liberty.

       4.                 Understand how the Constitution is designed to secure our liberty by both empowering and limiting central                     government and compare the powers granted to citizens, Congress, the president, and the Supreme Court                     with those reserved to the states.

       5.                 Discuss the meaning of the American creed that calls on citizens to safeguard the liberty of individual                          Americans within a unified nation, to respect the rule of law, and to preserve the Constitution.

       6.                 Know the songs that express American ideals (e.g., “America the Beautiful,” “The Star Spangled Banner”).



5.8    Students trace the colonization, immigration, and settlement patterns of the American people from 1789 to the mid-1800s, with emphasis on the role of economic incentives, effects of the physical and political geography, and transportation systems.


       1.                  Discuss the waves of immigrants from Europe between 1789 and 1850 and their modes of transportation                     into the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys and through the Cumberland Gap (e.g., overland wagons, canals,                               flatboats, steamboats).

       2.                 Name the states and territories that existed in 1850 and identify their locations and major geographical                     features (e.g., mountain ranges, principal rivers, dominant plant regions).

       3.                 Demonstrate knowledge of the explorations of the trans-Mississippi West following the Louisiana Purchase                     (e.g., Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, Zebulon Pike, John Fremont).

       4.                 Discuss the experiences of settlers on the overland trails to the West (e.g., location of the routes; purpose                     of the journeys; the influence of the terrain, rivers, vegetation, and climate; life in the territories at the                     end of these trails).

       5.                 Describe the continued migration of Mexican settlers into Mexican territories of the West and Southwest.

       6.                 Relate how and when California, Texas, Oregon, and other western lands became part of the United States,                     including the significance of the Texas War for Independence and the Mexican-American War.


5.9     Students know the location of the current 50 states and the names of their capitals.








Structural Features of Informational Materials

2.1 Identify structural patterns found in informational text (e.g., compare and contrast, cause and effect, sequential or chronological order, proposition and support) to strengthen comprehension.

Comprehension and Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text

2.2 Use appropriate strategies when reading for different purposes (e.g., full comprehension, location of information, personal enjoyment).

2.3 Make and confirm predictions about text by using prior knowledge and ideas presented in the text itself, including illustrations, titles, topic sentences, important words, and foreshadowing clues.

2.4 Evaluate new information and hypotheses by testing them against known information and ideas.

2.5 Compare and contrast information on the same topic after reading several passages or articles.

2.6 Distinguish between cause and effect and between fact and opinion in expository text.

2.7 Follow multiple-step instructions in a basic technical manual (e.g., how to use computer commands or video games).