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Archived Information

History and Social Science
Curriculum Framework

V. Commonly taught subtopics related
to core knowledge in United States
and world history, geography,
economics, and Civics and Government

The World:

1. Human Beginnings and Early Civilizations (Prehistory to 1000B.C.)

  • Human beginnings probably in Africa (the fossils that the Leakeys and Johanson found)
  • Geography of Africa (waters, mountains, deserts, rain forests, savannah, animals)
  • Early people (tools for hunting, fire, weapons; kept graves and made cave paintings-- Lascaux; Neolithic man: invented language, domesticated animals, produced agricultural surplus and gathered in cities, made pottery)
  • Tigris and Euphrates and the Mesopotamian peoples: used wheel, built cities and palaces (ziggurat and hanging gardens of Babylon, one of the "seven wonders of the world"), developed codes of law (code of Hammurabi) and cuneiform writing
  • Chief features of Middle Eastern geography
  • Egypt and the Nile (hieroglyphic writing, pyramids, and religious arts)
  • 2. Classical Civilizations of the Ancient World (1000B.C. to ca. 500A.D.)

  • Hebrew belief in one God and teachings about God's law for people (the Ten Commandments, given to Moses); the kings, David and Solomon; the city of Jerusalem
  • Greek myths and Homer's Iliad and Odyssey; what archaeologists--Heinrich Schliemann and Arthur Evans--found
  • Greek city-states: Athens and Sparta (different views of the citizen); the Olympic games; slavery; how the Greeks resisted the Persians and remained a free people (Marathon, Xerxes, and Salamis); Parthenon; Greek science; Greek knowledge of world geography
  • Alexander the Great
  • Virgil's Aeneid and Romulus and Remus (the mythical origins of Rome); republican citizenship, Horatius at the Bridge; Julius Caesar; roads--the Appian Way, aqueducts, and baths; the teachings of Christianity first suppressed, then adopted by Rome
  • Jesus of Nazareth (the Sermon on the Mount and the Golden Rule; the parable of the good Samaritan)
  • Chief features of European geography
  • India (Indus River valley; Hinduism; the zero; Buddhism and its spread; Islam in India)
  • China (Confucius on mutual responsibilities of parents and children, brother and brother, friend and friend, husband and wife, ruler and subject; arts and technology, such as paper-making and invention of gunpowder; the Silk Road)
  • Chief features of Asian geography

3. Growth of Agricultural and Commercial Civilizations (500 to 1500A.D.)

  • Muhammed and the teachings of Islam (Islamic medicine, arabic numerals--from India-- Scheherazade, the Alhambra palace)
  • Charlemagne and the Saracens (Muslims), The Song of Roland
  • Monks and monasteries; illuminated manuscripts
  • Celtic and Saxon England (legend of King Arthur and Knights of the Round Table, the Anglo Saxon legend of Beowulf)
  • Viking invasions of Europe and Anglo-Saxon England and explorations of Eric the Red and Leif Erikson to Greenland, Newfoundland, and "Vinland"--the Vinland Saga
  • Norman Conquest, 1066 (William the Conquerer, Battle of Hastings, Bayeux Tapestry)
  • Lords and ladies, knights, vassals and serfs; castles and manors
  • Cathedrals (romanesque and gothic)
  • Crusades to recapture Jerusalem from Islam (Richard the Lionhearted and Saladin)
  • King John and Magna Carta, 1215; the legend of Robin Hood
  • Medieval towns, guilds, and commerce; Marco Polo's travels to China for silks and spices
  • Japan (samurai warrior-knights; Shinto and Buddhism)
  • Empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai; city-states of East Africa

4. Emergence of a Global Age (1450 to 1750)

  • Renaissance: new interests in ancient learning and in the world around us (the art of Florence: Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci)
  • Gutenberg printing press, 1454, and Bible reading; Martin Luther
  • Explorations for discovery and trade--around Muslim-controlled trade routes (Prince Henry the Navigator's support for Diaz and da Gama; Ferdinand's and Isabella's support for Columbus; the conquistadores, Pizzaro and Cortes)
  • Incan, Mayan, and Aztec societies
  • Elizabeth I; the Spanish Armada; ships and sail
  • Copernicus and Galileo

5. The Age of Revolutionary Change (1700 to 1914)

  • Great scientific discoveries: William Harvey and the circulatory system; Newton and light, motion, gravity; van Leeuwenhoek and the microscope
  • Enlightenment ideas: natural rights to life, liberty, and property
  • French Revolution (Bastille Day, July 14, 1789; Robespierre; Napoleon)
  • Charles Darwin and the voyage of the Beagle; Louis Pasteur

6. The World in the Era of Great Wars (1900 to 1945)

  • World Wars of the 20th century (World War I and II)
  • Great Depression (worldwide)
  • Great statesmen and tyrants of 20th century (Winston Churchill, Gandhi; Hitler and Stalin)
  • Great scientists and discoveries of 20th century (Marie Curie, Einstein, penicillin, polio vaccine)


Last Updated: September 1, 1997
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