Social Studies Vocabulary

Worksheet # 1

Name (print first and last) ___________ class #_____________

DIRECTIONS: Always read the directions very carefully. Copy these words and meanings

School has begun and we are off to business. The business of this class is to learn and learn how to learn. When you leave this class the end of this year, you will be an educated person, educated to the world around you, and how you got to be who you are. This class will require some memorization. Like it or not, that is the way it is. The following vocabulary list is a new language- the language of Social Studies World History. We will be using these words all year. You MUST know them.

This paper is a vocabulary list, and worksheet. It is probably very different than what you are used to. So here are the directions in three parts:
PART ONE- Copy the vocabulary below NEATLY into your composition books. This will be a 3 day assignment.

PART TWO- Do the exercise (part B) according to directions.
PART THREE- Study the vocabulary over the next few days, as there will be a test on the material.

Words and phrases will be added as the weeks go on.


Word or phrase


1.       History

The study of what humans believe to be true about what has happened in the universe. 

2.       Prehistory

Time before invention of writing.

3.       Primary source

An eye witness account.

4.       Secondary source

A historical story taken from written and unwritten records.

5.       Unwritten records

Objects found that are not written down, such as bones, artifacts, geological discoveries, etc

6.       Written records

Ideas and stories about history that are written down.

7.       Artifacts

Man-made articles such as tools and clothing.

8.       Oral tradition

Stories about a certain group of people that are often memorized and told again and again from generation to generation.

9.       Holy books

Books that hold the stories, rules, and sacred ideas of a religion.

10.   Religion

An organized way that people explained the unexplainable, and defined who they believe to be their god or gods

11.   Codex

Fancy name for a bound book with pages. Codex is an invention within the past 2 thousand years.

12.   Scroll

Early writers often attached parchment into long sheets and then rolled them on a wooden stick to keep them neat and safe.  

13.   Gregorian calendar

The calendar, made in 1582 AD, used in most of the world today.

14.   Earth time

The study of how long it takes the earth to revolve around the sun.

15.   BCE

Reading a date that happened before the birth of Jesus Christ. BCE means Before the Common Era.

16.   AD

Anno Domini which is Latin and means “In the year of our Lord”, or is supposed to mean any year following the birth of Jesus Christ. In some books, this date is written as CE or Common Era.

17.   Days in a year

365 and almost ¼ days in a year.

18.   Solar year

Time it takes the earth to take one full trip around the sun.

19.   Weeks in the year

52 weeks

20.    Decade

10 years

21.   Century

100 years

22.    Millennium

1000 years.

23.    Archaeology

Study of the past by using written and unwritten records

24.    Anthropology

Study of humans and their behavior.

25.    Myths

Stories that explains the unexplainable, or explains certain parts of human life. Myths usually 1) explain natural phenomena such as thunder being the hammer of the gods, 2) the gods and humans have superhuman powers 3) contain magic  4) contain violence  

26.    Folktales or folklore

Fiction stories that are usually about a certain group of people or region (Paul Bunyan, or Pecos Bill)

27.    Legends

 People, places, or history may be true, but the story is not. (Do not copy this example) The movie Gladiator was a legend.  Rome, and the rulers were real, Maximus was not. The emperor in real life murdered his own sister.

28.    Pompeii

City in Italy discovered about 200 years ago that had been totally covered in volcanic ash in 79 AD. Most of the city was perfectly preserved as though it was frozen in time.

29.    Excavate

To dig up

30.    Decipher

To figure out

31.   Translate

Change from one language to another.

32.    Culture

The way a group of people lives together. In other words, what do they do or believe that is similar?

33.    Civilization

Group of people that have similar customs, cities, and have writing.

34.    Cities

Place where large groups of people live with organized system of trade and government. Most of what they get they barter or trade for it.

35.    Carbon 14 dating

Way of dating (telling how old they are) objects that were once alive. Can date back in time about 30,000 years.

36.    Radiocarbon dating and other methods

Modern way of dating all things

37.    Ages

Way to measure certain amounts of time 

38.    Calendar

Uniform way of measuring time- usually one year.

39.    Longitude

Line on map that runs north to south that helps person find location

40.    Latitude

Line on map that runs east to west that helps person find location

41.   Time zones

Invented about 140 years ago to keep trains from running into one another. There are 4 time zones in the USA – Pacific, Mountain, Central, and Eastern.

42.    Infer

A thinking skill that means you figure out the conclusion on your own…..it may not be in front of you.

43.    HOTS

Means Higher Order Thinking Skills. These skills actually make you smarter. It means that the answer is not obvious, and you need to figure out what the author is really saying.

44.    “History is written in sand not stone.”

With new discoveries, what we thought was true may not be true.

45.    “Those who do not know or remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”

.If we are smart, we learn from the stories of history and do not repeat the mistakes of the past. .


46.     “History is stranger than fiction”

Story of “Ring Around the Rosey”

47.    Fact

What is believed to be true, and can usually be proven.

48.    Opinion

What a person thinks is true

49.   Fiction

What humans believe to be false

50.    Nonfiction

A story based on fact and real event

51.  Biography

Story about a real person based on facts

52.   Autobiography

Factual story written about oneself

53.     Continents –be able to label-

North America, South America, Europe , Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica

54.     Countries

Group of people that live within borders that are ruled by one government.  

55.     Oceans of the world

 Know where the Atlantic, Pacific, Mediterranean, and the Indian Oceans are. Know where the Black Sea and Dead Sea are connecting seas



Y    -->PASSION-care about something so much, that one has to share it with the world

Y    -->POWER/MONEY- many humans will do anything for power and money

Y    -->NATURE/GEOGRAPHY- things happen that change history like the wildfires in the West

Y    -->RELIGION-history changes because people have beliefs about what they see and do not see in the world- These beliefs often bring about reading, writing, invention and many other things.



1.    All timelines in this class are based on the Gregorian calendar. In other words, the zero date is supposed to be Jesus Christ’s birth.

2.    All dates that are to the LEFT of the zero, are dates BEFORE Jesus was born or BCE or Before the Common Era. The further distance left you move from the zero, the larger the date numbers become. These dates are earlier in history (very confusing).

3.     All dates that are to the RIGHT of the zero, are dates AFTER Jesus was born or AD or Anno Domini. The further distance right you move from the zero, the larger the date numbers become. These dates are earlier in history (very confusing).

              BCE                       AD