• Unit 1 - 2
    Foundations of Social Studies

    Big Picture Graphic


    Overarching Question:  How can economics, civics, history, and the themes of geography be used to study places, problems, and issues in the Western Hemisphere?


    Previous Unit:
    Fifth Grade:  The New Nation


    This Unit:
    The Foundations of Social Studies
    Next Unit:
    North America:  People, Places and Issues


    Big Picture Graphic
     big picture graphic 



    Questions to Focus Assessment and Instruction:
    1. How does a geographer organize and analyze information?
    2. How does an economist organize and analyze information?
    3. How doe we organize and analyze information politically?
    4. How has geography influenced the way people live in the Western Hemisphere?
    5. What are some different ways the Western Hemisphere can be divided into regions?
    6. How have humans used, adapted to, and modified different environments in North America?








    Unit Abstract :
    In this unit, students draw on their previous knowledge and continue to develop their foundational knowledge of history, geography, economics, and civics by examining inquiry methods and concepts used by geographers, economists, and political scientists. The major themes of study are:
    • Discuss the spread of People in the Western Hemisphere
    • Discuss the Agricultural Revolution as a turning point in history 
    • Use a wide variety of maps from the Western Hemisphere
    • Explore a wide variety of geographic tools and technologies
    • Examine physical and cultural regions within the Western Hemisphere
    • Gather information about significant physical features
    • Anaylze land use and make predictions about future land use
    • Explore a series of maps and graphic data describing the climate regions and construct climate graphs comparing two different places
    • Identify the characteristics  of ecosystems
    • Explore types of common natural hazards
    • Describe human/environment interaction and explore places where people have modified the environment.
    • Make generalizations about population and settlement patterns
    • Introduce different Economic systems
    • Compare economic systems concerning the four basic questions: What should be produced?  How will it be produced? How will it be distributed? Who will receive the benefits of productions?
    • Explore the concept of global trade and its' impact on interdependence using examples of U.S. imports and exports
    • Discuss the characteristics of nation-states
    • Explore how nations address national issues
    • Investigate international organizations
    • Examine different political systems
    Content Expectations:

    6 – H1.1.1 Explain why and how historians use eras and periods as constructs to organize and explain human activities over time.

    6 – H1.2.1 Explain how historians use a variety of sources to explore the past (e.g., artifacts, primary and secondary sources including narratives, technology, historical maps, visual/mathematical quantitative data, radiocarbon dating, DNA analysis).
    6 – H1.2.2 Read and comprehend a historical passage to identify basic factual knowledge and the literal meaning by indicating who was involved, what happened, where it happened, what events led tothe development, and what consequences or outcomes followed.
    6 – H1.2.3 Identify the point of view (perspective of the author) and context when reading and discussing primary and secondary sources.
    6 – H1.4.1 Describe and use cultural institutions to study an era and a region (political, economic, religion/belief, science/technology, written language, education, family).
    6 – H1.4.2 Describe and use themes of history to study patterns of change and continuity.
    6 – H1.4.3 Use historical perspective to analyze global issues faced by humans long ago and today.
    6 – W1.1.1 Describe the early migrations of people among Earth’s continents (including the Berringa Land Bridge).
    6 – W1.1.2 Examine the lives of hunting and gathering people during the earliest eras of human society(tools and weapons, language, fire).
    6 – W1.2.1 Describe the transition from hunter gatherers to sedentary agriculture (domestication of plants and animals).
    6 – W1.2.2 Describe the importance of the natural environment in the development of agricultural settlements in different locations (e.g., available water for irrigation, adequate precipitation, and suitable growing season).
    6 – W1.2.3 Explain the impact of the Agricultural Revolution (stable food supply, surplus, population growth, trade, division of labor, development of settlements).
    6 – W2.1.1 Explain how the environment favored hunter gatherer, pastoral, and small scale agricultural ways of life in different parts of the Western Hemisphere.
    6 – W2.1.2 Describe how the invention of agriculture led to the emergence of agrarian civilizations(seasonal harvests, specialized crops, cultivation, and development of villages and towns).
    6 – W2.1.4 Use evidence to identify defining characteristics of early civilizations and early pastoral nomads (government, language, religion, social structure, technology, and division of labor).
    6 – G1.1.1 Describe how geographers use mapping to represent places and natural and human phenomena in the world.
    6 – G1.1.2 Draw a sketch map from memory of the Western Hemisphere showing the major regions
    (Canada, United States, Mexico, Central America, South America, and Caribbean).
    6 – G1.2.1 Locate the major landforms, rivers (Amazon, Mississippi, Missouri, Colorado), and climate regions of the Western Hemisphere.
    6 – G1.2.2 Explain why maps of the same place may vary, including cultural perspectives of the Earth and new knowledge based on science and modern technology.
    6 – G1.2.3 Use data to create thematic maps and graphs showing patterns of population, physical terrain, rainfall, and vegetation, analyze the patterns and then propose two generalizations about the location and density of the population.
    6 – G1.2.4 Use observations from air photos, photographs (print and CD), films (VCR and DVD) as the basis for answering geographic questions about the human and physical characteristics of places and regions.
    6 – G1.2.5 Use information from modern technology such as Geographic Positioning System (GPS), Geographic Information System (GIS), and satellite remote sensing to locate information and process maps and data to analyze spatial patterns of the Western Hemisphere to answer geographic questions.
    6 – G1.2.6 Apply the skills of geographic inquiry (asking geographic questions, acquiring geographic information, organizing geographic information, analyzing geographic information, and answering geographic questions) to analyze a problem or issue of importance to a region of the Western Hemisphere.
    6 – G1.3.1 Use the fundamental themes of geography (location, place, human environment interaction, movement, region) to describe regions or places on earth.
    6 – G1.3.2 Explain the locations and distributions of physical and human characteristics of Earth by using knowledge of spatial patterns.
    6 – G1.3.3 Explain the different ways in which places are connected and how those connections demonstrate interdependence and accessibility.
    6 – G2.1.1 Describe the landform features and the climate of the region (within the Western or Eastern Hemispheres) under study.
    6 – G2.1.2 Account for topographic and human spatial patterns (where people live) associated with tectonic plates such as volcanoes, earthquakes, settlements (Ring of Fire, recent volcanic and seismic events, settlements in proximity to natural hazards in the Western Hemisphere) by using information from GIS, remote sensing, and the World Wide Web.
    6 – G2.2.1 Describe the human characteristics of the region under study (including languages, religion, economic system, governmental system, cultural traditions).
    6 – G2.2.2 Explain that communities are affected positively or negatively by changes in technology(e.g., Canada with regard to mining, forestry, hydroelectric power generation, agriculture, snowmobiles, cell phones, air travel).
    6 – G2.2.3 Analyze how culture and experience influence people’s perception of places and regions(e.g., the Caribbean Region that presently displays enduring impacts of different immigrant groups – Africans, South Asians, Europeans – and the differing contemporary points of view about the region displayed by islanders and tourists).
    6 – G3.1.1 Construct and analyze climate graphs for two locations at different latitudes and elevations in the region to answer geographic questions and make predictions based on patterns. (e.g., compare and contrast Buenos Aires and La Paz; Mexico City and Guatemala City; Edmonton and Toronto).
    6 – G3.2.1 Explain how and why ecosystems differ as a consequence of differences in latitude, elevation, and human activities (e.g., South America’s location relative to the equator, effects of elevations on temperature and growing season, proximity to bodies of water and the effects on temperature and rainfall, effects of annual flooding on vegetation along river flood plains such as the Amazon).
    6 – G3.2.2 Identify ecosystems and explain why some are more attractive for humans to use than are others (e.g., mid-latitude forest in North America, high latitude of Peru, tropical forests in Honduras, fish or marine vegetation in coastal zones).
    6 – G4.1.1 Identify and explain examples of cultural diffusion within the Americas (e.g., baseball, soccer, music, architecture, television, languages, health care, Internet, consumer brands, currency, restaurants, international migration).
    6 – G4.2.1 List and describe the advantages and disadvantages of different technologies used to move people, products, and ideas throughout the world (e.g., call centers in the Eastern Hemisphere that service the Western Hemisphere; the United States and Canada as hubs for the Internet; transport of people and perishable products; and the spread of individuals’ ideas as voice and image messages on electronic networks such as the Internet).
    6 – G4.3.1 Identify places in the Western Hemisphere that have been modified to be suitable for settlement by describing the modifications that were necessary (e.g., Vancouver in Canada; irrigated agriculture; or clearing of forests for farmland).
    6 – G4.3.2 Describe patterns of settlement by using historical and modern maps (e.g., coastal and river cities and towns in the past and present, locations of megacities – modern cities over 5 million, such as Mexico City, and patterns of agricultural settlements in South and North America).
    6 – G5.1.1 Describe the environmental effects of human action on the atmosphere (air), biosphere (people, animals, and plants), lithosphere (soil), and hydrosphere (water) (e.g., changes in the tropical forest environments in Brazil, Peru, and Costa Rica).
    6 – G5.1.2 Describe how variations in technology affect human modifications of the landscape (e.g., clearing forests for agricultural land in South America, fishing in the Grand Banks of the Atlantic, expansion of cities in South America, hydroelectric developments in Canada, Brazil and Chile, and mining the Kentucky and West Virginia).
    6 – G5.1.3 Identify the ways in which human-induced changes in the physical environment in one place can cause changes in other places (e.g., cutting forests in one region may result in river basin flooding elsewhere; building a dam floods land upstream and may permit irrigation in another region).
    6– G5.2.1 Describe the effects that a change in the physical environment could have on human activities and the choices people would have to make in adjusting to the change (e.g., drought in northern Mexico, disappearance of forest vegetation in the Amazon, natural hazards and disasters from volcanic eruptions in Central America and the Caribbean and earthquakes in Mexico City and Colombia).
    6 – G6.1.1 Contemporary Investigations – Conduct research on contemporary global topics and issues, compose persuasive essays, and develop a plan for action. (H1.4.3, G1.2.6, See P3 and P4)
    6 – E1.1.1 Explain how incentives vary in different economic systems (e.g. acquiring money, profit, goods, wanting to avoid loss in position in society, job placement).
    6 – E2.3.1 Describe the impact of governmental policy (sanctions, tariffs, treaties) on that country and on other countries that use its resources.
    6 – E3.1.1 Use charts and graphs to compare imports and exports of different countries in the Western Hemisphere and propose generalizations about patterns of economic interdependence.
    6 – E3.1.3 Explain how communications innovations have affected economic interactions and where and how people work (e.g., internet-based home offices, international work teams, international companies).
    6 – E3.3.1 Explain and compare how economic systems (traditional, command, and market) answer four basic questions: What should be produced? How will it be produced? How will it be distributed? Who will receive the benefits of production? (e.g., compare United States and Cuba, or Venezuela and Jamaica.)
    Civics and Government:
    6 – C1.1.1 Analyze competing ideas about the purposes government should serve in a democracy and in a dictatorship (e.g., protecting individual rights, promoting the common good, providing economic security, molding the character of citizens, or promoting a particular religion).
    6 – C3.6.1 Define the characteristics of a nation-state (a specific territory, clearly defined boundaries, citizens, and jurisdiction over people who reside there, laws, and government), and how Western Hemisphere nations interact.
    6 – C3.6.2 Compare and contrast a military dictatorship such as Cuba, a presidential system of representative democracy such as the United States, and a parliamentary system of representative democracy such as Canada.
    6 – C4.3.1 Explain the geopolitical relationships between countries (e.g., petroleum and arms purchases in Venezuela and Ecuador; foreign aid for health care in Nicaragua).
    6 – C4.3.2 Explain the challenges to governments and the cooperation needed to address international issues in the Western Hemisphere (e.g., migration and human rights).
    6 – C4.3.3 Give examples of how countries work together for mutual benefits through international organizations (e.g. North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Organization of American States (OAS), United Nations (UN)).
    Public Dscourse and Decision Making:
    6 – P3.1.1 Clearly state an issue as a question or public policy, trace the origins of an issue, analyze various perspectives, and generate and evaluate alternative resolutions. Deeply examine policy issues in group discussions and debates to make reasoned and informed decisions. Write persuasive/ argumentative essays expressing and justifying decisions on public policy issues. Plan and conduct activities intended to advance views on matters of public policy, report the results, and evaluate effectiveness.
    • Identify public policy issues related to global topics and issues studied.

    • Clearly state the issue as a question of public policy orally or in written form.

    • Use inquiry methods to acquire content knowledge and appropriate data about the issue.

    • Identify the causes and consequences and analyze the impact, both positive and negative.

    • Share and discuss findings of research and issue analysis in group discussions and debates.

    • Compose a persuasive essay justifying the position with a reasoned argument.

    • Develop an action plan to address or inform others about the issue at the local to global


    Suggested Lessons for Unit 1-2:
    * These lessons can be used in various sequences according to your available resources and needs.  The lessons below are Unit 1 and Unit 2 of the Michigan Citizenship Collaborative Curriculum (MC3).

    Here are the lessons included in MC3 Unit One.
    1Thinking like a Geographer 
    2Fundamental Themes of Geography 
    3Geographic Tools and Technologies 
    4Exploring Maps 
    5Using Different World Scales: Global, Interregional, Regional, Local 
    6Human/Environment Interaction 
    7Thinking like an Economist 
    8Different Economic Systems 
    9Exploring a Market Economy: The Circular Flow Model 
    11Thinking like a Political Scientist 
    12Different Political Systems  
    13Putting it all Together: Analyzing a Mystery Region                                            
    14Introduction to Global Issues - The Impact  Technology                                                                                        
    15Connections: An Interdependent World
    Here are the lessons that are included in MC3 Unit 2
    1Exploring Maps of the Western Hemisphere 
    2Different Ways to Divide the Western Hemisphere into Regions                                                                                                  
    3Landforms, Bodies of Water, and Vegetation of the Western Hemisphere 
    4Climate Regions of the Western Hemisphere 
    5Human Characteristics 
    6Population Patterns of the Western Hemisphere 
    7Natural Hazards of the Western Hemisphere 
    8Exploring Ecosystems in the Western Hemisphere 
    9Human/Environment Interaction in the Western Hemisphere 
    10Creating a Project Describing the Geography of the Western Hemisphere










Last Modified on February 14, 2018