History and Social Science

Please click the triangle next to the History and Social Science menu option to the left.  This will expand the menu and provide you with access to grade-level and course-specific curriculum information.

In addition to these curriculum documents, many additional instructional resources are available on the Virginia Department of Education History and Social Science webpage.

From the Virginia Standards of Learning:
The study of history and social science is vital in promoting a civic-minded, democratic society. All students need to know and understand our national heritage in order to become informed participants in shaping our nation’s future. The History and Social Science Standards of Learning were developed with the assistance of educators, parents, business leaders, and others who have an interest in public education and a civil society.

The History and Social Science Standards of Learning are designed to
• develop the knowledge and skills of history, geography, civics, and economics that enable students to place the people, ideas, and events that have shaped our state and our nation in perspective;
• instill in students a thoughtful pride in the history of America through an understanding that what “We the People of the United States” launched more than two centuries ago was not a perfect union, but a continual effort to build a “more perfect” union, one which has become the world’s most
successful example of constitutional self-government;
• enable students to understand the basic values, principles, and operation of American constitutional democracy;
• prepare students for informed, responsible, and participatory citizenship;
• develop students’ skills in debate, discussion, and writing; and
• provide students with a framework for continuing education in history and the social sciences.

History should be the integrative core of the curriculum, in which both the humanities (such as art and literature) and the social sciences (political science, economics, and geography) come to life. Through the study of history, students can better understand their own society as well as others. Students will understand chronological thinking and the connections between causes and effects and between continuity and change. History enables students to see how people in other times and places have grappled with the fundamental questions of truth, justice, and personal responsibility, understand that ideas have real consequences, and realize that events are shaped by ideas and the actions of individuals. History shows the relationship among past, current, and future issues.

The goal of geography instruction is to provide an understanding of the human and physical characteristics of the Earth’s places and regions, how people of different cultural backgrounds interact with their environment, and how the United States and the student’s home community are affected by
conditions and events in distant places. Geographic themes include location, place, human-environment interaction, movement, and region. Geographic skills include the ability to use maps, globes, and aerial imagery; interpret graphs, tables, diagrams, and pictures; observe and record information; and assess information from various sources.

The goal of civics instruction is to develop in all students the requisite knowledge and skills for informed, responsible participation in public life. Civics instruction should provide regular opportunities at each grade level for students to develop a basic understanding of politics and government and to practice the skills of good citizenship. It should instill relevant skills so that students can assess political resources, deal intelligently with controversy, and understand the consequences of policy decisions. Students should develop an understanding of the values and principles of American constitutional democracy and of some of the key issues in the functioning of a democratic republic. They should be aware of their rights; be willing to fulfill their responsibilities; be able to obtain, understand, and evaluate information relating to the performance of public officials; and be willing to hold those officials accountable. They should understand the consequences of political and policy decisions at the local, state, national, and
international levels.