Social Studies

Social Studies instruction in Millard Public Schools prepares students to become engaged citizens in local, national, and global societies. We combine highly interactive learning experiences with exploration of informational text to help students explore multiple perspectives, think critically, and make personal and civic decisions.


We achieve state and district standards using materials from Social Studies Alive!: America’s Past published by Teachers’ Curriculum Institute (TCI). Many of the learning experiences require students to work cooperatively in small groups. Students work in heterogeneous groups to create projects that require multiple abilities so that every student can contribute. Students authentically apply language arts skills as they use interactive student notebooks to show their understanding. Student notebooks, informal observation, rubrics, and traditional quizzes and tests are utilized to inform instruction and assess student learning.


Essential questions provide the focus for units of study in history, geography, economics, civics, and current events. In fifth grade, our essential questions include:


    • How do current events influence the decisions we make?
    • What can we learn from holiday observances?
    • What information and skills can we learn and develop through historical research?
    • What can geography teach us about the United States?
    • How did American Indians adapt to different environments in North America?
    • How and why did American Indians’ cultural regions differ?
    • What did explorers take to and from the New World during the Age of Exploration?
    • How did exploration of the Americas lead to settlement?
    • What challenges face the first English Colonies?
    • How were the three colonial regions alike and different?
    • What was the impact of slavery on Africans?
    • How do economics affect our life?
    • What British actions angered the colonists in the 1700s?
    • What are the main ideas of the Declaration of Independence?
    • How did the colonists win the American Revolution?
    • What are the key features of the U.S. Constitution?
    • What are the basic rights and freedoms of the American people?
    • How did the expansion of the United States affect people inside and outside of the country?
    • What drew new settlers to the western part of the United States in the 1800s?
    • How do events affect the U.S. economy?



Each grade level is also responsible for learning about one or more holidays as outlined by Nebraska state law. In fifth grade, we learn about Constitution Day & Citizenship Day (September 17), General Pulaski Day (October 11), and Veteran’s Day (November 11).


Students will participate in the following to enhance thinking:

Socratic Seminar

Question Formulation Technique

Close Read

Grade 5 Units

Geography American Indians Exploration to the New World Early English Settlements

Comparing Colonies Slavery Tensions Between Colonies and Britain

Declaration of Independence American Revolution The Constitution The Bill of Rights

Shaping Our Economy Diverse People Civil War Industrial Revolution Modern United States

Parent Support

1. Review with students before a test or quiz