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History and Social Science
Curriculum Framework

IX. Learning Standards and Examples,

Strand One: History

Learning Standard 1: Chronology and Cause.

Students will understand the chronological order of historical events and recognize the complexity of historical cause and effect, including the interaction of forces from different spheres of human activity, the importance of ideas, and of individual choices, actions, and character.

Learning Standard Components
(Core Knowledge and Skills)
Students put events in temporal order.
Students learn to use the calendar. They make timelines of days, weeks, months, years, and decades, showing the order and relations of people and events, such as the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere's ride, and the Valley Forge winter, that are important or interesting to them.

They identify the people, events, and times, such as the Pilgrims' first harvest, at the origins of holidays observed in Massachusetts.
Students understand cause and effect, the relations between events. They explain how people and events caused us to celebrate these holidays.
They examine buildings, parks, and streets of their community, and explain forces that have changed, or preserved, their built environment.

They explain forces that caused Native American people to change their locales and economic life before the coming of the Europeans.
Students grasp importance of individual action and character. From a biographical excerpt, they explain how a single historical character, such as John Chapman ("Johnny Appleseed") or Sojourner Truth, made a difference to other people.
Grades 5-8
Students understand multiple causes, how forces from different spheres of life can cause or shape an event.
Students explain the economic, social, cultural, and political causes for the American Revolution.

They explain the various factors that shaped the main compromises in the writing of the U. S. Constitution.

They compare and contrast the causes for the decline and fall of the Han and Roman empires.

They explain the causes of our Civil War, both long term and short term, and the several reasons for the defeat of the Confederacy.
Students understand the power of ideas behind important events. They explain why John Adams said the American Revolution was "made in the minds and hearts of the people" before hostilities commenced.

They explain why democratic revolutionaries from 1776 to Prague and Beijing in recent times have repeatedly quoted Jefferson's words in the Declaration of Independence.

They discuss how the ideas of Moses, Jesus and Muhammed could motivate entire peoples to action.

They describe historians' views of the effects on Northern opinion of Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Students recognize the importance of individual choices, action, and character.They explain the reasons that guided Jefferson's decision to undertake the Louisiana Purchase, despite his doubts about its constitutionality.

They explain the significance of the choices of career made by Horace Mann, Dorothea Dix, and Frederick Douglass.
Grades 9-10
Students grasp the multiplicity of factors from each sphere of life in both the long term and short term causes of historical turning points.
They explain how a revolution in religion -- the Protestant Reformation -- was hastened and shaped by economic, cultural, social, and political influences, as well as by the individual acts of Martin Luther and his protector, Frederick the Wise of Saxony.

They distinguish between the long- developing explosive forceseconomic, social, religious, politicalbuilding up over the long term, and the immediate "sparks" that ignited them to launch the French Revolution or World War I.
Students recognize the role of chance, accident, or confusion in important events, when seemingly minor acts bring forth enormous consequences. They describe the succession of personal feelings, casual decisions, confusions, and mistakes that resulted in the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, the "spark" setting off World War I.

They discuss the tragic consequences of the sheer length and casualties of World War I to hundreds of millions of ordinary men, women, and children down through the end of the century, in the postwar flu epidemic, and during the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the Cold War.
Grades 11-12
Students recognize the occasions on which the collaboration of different kinds of people, often with different motives, has accomplished important changes.
They explain the successes of the Progressive movement as well as its limits and failures by the degree to which it succeeded or failed to win and keep a broad coalition of allies.

They describe the combination of ideas, events, conditions, and leaders that won the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Learning Standard 2: Historical Understanding.

Students will understand the meaning, implications, and import of historical events, while recognizing the contingency and unpredictability of history - how events could have taken other directions - by studying past ideas as they were thought, and past events as they were lived, by people of the time.

Learning Standard Components
(Core Knowledge and Skills)
Students understand that people often have good evidence for predicting the outcome of their actions but that actions can also have unintended consequences.
From tales and biographies, students explain how good intentions have sometimes yielded good results and sometimes led to unexpected, contrary, and unhappy results. They discuss the likely consequences of choices they make.

From their study of early life in Massachusetts, they describe the kinds of behavior English settlers could hope or fear from the Indians, and what the INdians could hope or fear from the newcomers.
Students consider ideas and concerns expressed by thoughful individuals of the past that may differ from their own. They read peices from Benjamin Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack that seem contrary to prevailing ideas today and consider Franklin's reasons for holding his views.

They explain why John Adams took on the task of defending the British silders who took part in the Boston Massacre.
Grades 5-8
Students understand how people in the past could believe themselves justified in excluding others from their community or privileges.

Students explain the reasons why the citizens of Athens, under the circumstances of their time, con convict Socrates of impiety and corrupting the young and put him to death. They contrast freedom of religion in the United States with govermentally sanctionedreligion in ancient Athens and comtemporary theocracies such as Iran; and they discuss current Massachusetts laws and regulations against educational malpractice.

They explain why, in the 18th century, despite the fact that by 1789 the United States was the most democratic large nation in the world, most political leaders believed it was reasonable to exclude women, Native Americans, slaves, and men without property from voting and public office. They discuss the power of the Declaration of Independence to show the injustice of slavery, oppression, and discrimination; and they discuss reasonable contemporary qualifications for voting, including age, citizenship, and absence of felony convictions.
Students recognize the contingency of history and how it must have taken into account when passing judgement on people and actions of the past. They explain references to historical contingency in Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, and how his words demonstrate both empathy and strict moral judgement.

They explain both the intended and the unintended consequences of Radical Republican activism in the defeated South, early in Reconstruction years.
Grades 9-10
Students understand past ideas as they were thought, and past events as they were lived, by people at different times and places.
Students explain why particular scientific discoveries of the 17th century encouraged Enlightenment thinkers toward more confidence in the possibility of peace, harmony, and practicability in human affairs.

From sources published in 1900, students explain why American and European writers and leaders were so optimistic over hte coming of the 20th century, and how our expections of the 21st century are both similar and different.

Students explain how appeasement of Hitler's Germany in the 1930s by the leaders of Britain and France arose in part from their memories of World War I and their ideas about its causes.

Grades 11-12
Students understand the use of historical events as warnings to us, and the dangers of regarding them as lessons to copy as we confront our own problems.
Students describe the advocates and the reasons for passing the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, establishing Prohibition, explain the unexpected consequences of this attempted reform, and debate what warnings they may have for us today.

They review arguments for American entry into the Vietnam War that were based on the lessons of appeasement in the 1930s, and explain the extent to which they were a) accurate history, and b) applicable to 1960s Asia, in the context of expansionary international communism.

Learning Standard 3: Research, Evidence, and Point of View.

Students will acquire the ability to frame questions that can be answered by historical study and research; to collect, evaluate, and employ information from primary and secondary sources, and to apply it in oral and written presentations. They will understand the many kinds and uses of evidence; and by comparing competing historical narratives, they will differentiate historical fact from historical interpretation and from fiction.

Learning Standard Components
(Core Knowledge and Skills)
Students differentiate among the kinds of texts they read.
From various narratives, students explain the difference between statements of fact and statements of opinion, and between factual and fictional scenes. They understand the use of artifacts in studying the past. They describe different kinds of evidence we have from both Native American and English settlements in Massachusetts that show how each people lived.
Grades 5-8
Students explain differences in the points of view in historical accounts of controversial events.
Students explain how Americans and the British gave differing accounts of the Boston Massacre, and how portions of each might be used to reconstruct the event as it most likely happened.

They describe conflicting views of pre-Civil War Northern and Southern authors and statesmen on slavery as an institution and its effects on the lives and thoughts of slaves.
Students understand ways of finding and testing evidence from societies leaving no written records. They explain methods of archaeologists, and what may be learned from their discoveries of human remains, artifacts, and cave paintings.
Students recognize relationships between primary and secondary sources, and the uses of each. They explain the conflicting views of historians on the reasons for the decline and fall of the Roman Empire, and how some Roman writers viewed the major dangers and identified major problems facing the Empire.
Grades 9-10
Students understand how various historical interpretations can vary according to prevailing orthodoxies of the period of their writing.
They examine and explain historians' arguments over Columbus and about the positive and negative effects of the European discovery of America.

They examine and explain changing historical viewpoints on the motives and effectson conquered and conquering peoples alike of European imperialism of the 19th century.
Students compose a research paper, using conflicting primary sources, and explain the degree to which they are able, or unable, to establish which is the more credible source. They choose among the following:
  1. a Christian and a Muslim account of an episode in the Crusades;
  2. a Calvinist and a Catholic view of the causes of the Reformation;
  3. a Royalist and a Puritan view of the beheading of Charles I, 1649;
  4. a French and a German memoir on the outbreak of either World War.
Grades 11-12
Students recognize the need to identify and account for partisan pleading in competing accounts of the past.

They examine and evaluate present-day debates over the justification and merits of Franklin D. Roosevelt's policies on business and labor in the New Deal.

They examine and evaluate historians' and political scientists' debates over the origins and responsibilities for the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the Western democracies.

Students weigh the usefulness and relative credibility of newspaper accounts of an historical event against those of eyewitnesses and of historians writing after the time. Examples might be drawn from:
  1. the Haymarket Riot of 1886;
  2. 1915 sinking of the Lusitania;
  3. Stock Market Crash, 1929;
  4. Cuban missile crisis, 1962;
  5. Watts riot, Los Angeles, 1965.

Learning Standard 4: Society, Diversity, Commonality, and the Individual.

As a vast nation, the overwhelming majority of whose population derives from waves of immigration from many lands, the United States has a citizenry that exhibits a broad diversity in terms of race, ethnic traditions, and religious beliefs. The history of the United States exhibits perhaps the most important endeavor to establish a civilization founded on the principles that all people are created equal, that it is the purpose of government to secure the inalienable rights of all individuals, and that government derives "its just powers from the consent of the governed." It is also true, however, that federal, state, and local governments, as well as the people themselves, have often fallen short in practice of actualizing these high ideals, the most egregious violation being the acceptance of slavery in some states until the Civil War. Students should be expected to learn of the complex interplay that has existed from the beginning of our country between American ideals and American practice in the pursuit of realizing the goals of the Declaration of Independence for all people. While attending to the distinct contributions that immigrants from various lands and of various creeds, along with Native Americans, have made to our nationhood, students should be taught above all the importance of our common citizenship and the imperative to treat all individuals with the respect for their dignity called for by the Declaration of Independence.

Learning Standard Components
(Core Knowledge and Skills)
Students learn about the diversity of backgrounds of American citizens. They learn of their similarities and differences in likes, dislikes, skills, favored activities, names, and experience; and teachers help them to learn from one another and compare experiences.
PreK-2: Students hear stories of immigrant children in successive immigrant groups: the difficulties and successes they experience in their lives in a new country. They look for differences, likenesses, and similarities of thought, feeling, and action among the characters.
Students learn about the contributions of all parts of the American population to the nation's economic and political development and to its cultural store. They learn that when working in groups, they have individual and shared responsibilities, and that it is important not to let others down. Grades 3-4: Students hear about the correspondence of Benjamin Banneker, surveyor, and Thomas Jefferson on preparation of the Washington D.C. site.

Students read narratives of people who, like Harriet Tubman, have been illtreated because of prejudice against them and who have defended the cause of equality and justice.
Students learn that their school is a community in which they are equals, and that all must be considerate of others for the school to be a good place to play, work, and learn. Students prepare a report explaining the need for mutual trust in a community and the means by which mutual trust can be achieved.
Grades 5-8
Students learn the nature of stereo typing, commonly from racial, ethnic, religious identifications; they learn the reasons stereotypes are logically and factually mistaken, and the reason stereotyping is morally wrong. They consider the capacity of determined individuals sometimes to achieve success even amidst adversity and in the face of unjust treatment.
Students read "The Education of Frederick Douglass" and write essays on Douglass' success in covertly learning to read and write, despite all efforts to prevent literacy among slaves.
Students explain the importance of our common citizenship in the United States and imperative of the Declaration of Independence to treat all individuals as equals and with respect for their dignity and rights. Students write essays explaining both the meaning of "all men are created equal" and the reasons this proposition does not mean or imply that everyone is equal to everyone else in every respect.
Drawing on studies in history, geography, and economics, students learn of religious, ethnic, gender, and class persecution, of individual and group achievements despite adversity, of unjust laws and their reform, and of patterns of emigration from other lands in search of liberty and equality. Students memorize the inscriptions on the Statue of Liberty and the Iwo Jima Memorial ("Uncommon Valor Was A Common Virtue"), explain the meaning of each, and consider each in the light of E Pluribus Unum. Students consider the unifying bonds of American citizenship appealed to by James Madison in Federalist l4.
Grades 9-10
Students understand the rights of individuals in conjunction with the ideals of community participation and public service.
A student reads the autobiography of Golda Meir and describes and analyzes the conclusions she drew from suffering anti- Semitic persecution in Russia, gaining educational opportunity in the United States, and becoming a political leader of profound international stature.
In considering the individual and societal benefits and difficulties of homogeneous and heterogeneous populations and traditions, students study, offer, and test hypotheses for causes of hostility, prejudicial contempt, intolerance, exploitation, and indifference to the common good; assess the complicity of government and private institutions in perpetuation of economic injustice and affronts to liberty; and contrast them with the history of individual, civic, institutional, and political efforts to frame government, law, and civil society so as to advance justice. Students read, analyze, and present reports on essays that attempt to address our common humanity and the fact that we sometimes overlook the points of view and feelings of others, such as William James' "On A Certain Blindness in Human Beings."
Students recognize the transmission of learning and enlightenment through geographical exploration and cultural interactions. Students describe European learning from Islamic science, mathematics, and medicine, and Islamic preservation of ancient Greek works. Students prepare a report on how the 19th century European exploration of central Africa, by making Europeans aware of the slave trade and slave markets in Khartoum and Zanzibar, contributed to the abolition of slavery there under British pressure.
Grades 11-12
Students consider how the cardinal American principles of respect for the rights of all individuals and constitutionally limited government can coexist fruitfully with the flourishing of particular religious and ethnic traditions among our population.
Students read and present reports on autobiographies and correspondences of individuals such as Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy, Frederick Dougglass, Richard Rodriguez, and Anne Frank, whose lives testify to our common humanity amidst differences.
Students understand the political, civic, and moral principles underpinning written constitutions and laws, that need to be widely observed in order to extend liberty, equality, and justice to all citizens: principles of respect for the individual and property rights of others, and of active participation in the political life of the nation (jury service. informed voting, contributions to one's community).

Students return to the principle of the Declaration of Independence that "all men are created equal'' and explain how this principle provides the foundations of our common citizenship. They appraise the truth in principle and in practice of alternative claims about the fundamental purpose of government and civic society.

Learning Standard 5: Interdisciplinary Learning: Religion, Ethics, Philosophy and Literature in History.

Students will describe and explain fundamental tenets of major world religions; basic ideals of ethics, including justice, consideration for others, and respect for human rights; differing conceptions of human nature; and influences over time of religion, ethics, and ideas of human nature in the arts, political and economic theories and ideologies, societal norms, education of the public, and the conduct of individual lives.

Learning Standard Components
(Core Knowledge and Skills)
Students learn formulations of the Golden Rule as expressed in major religions and ethical teachings; they practice applying it in their treatment of others.
PreK-2: Students read, discuss, and make up stories and fables, such as Aesop's, in which some characters do and some do not treat others as they would wish to be treated.

Grades 3-4: Students discuss and then write paragraphs on the point of asking ourselves, when deciding what to do and not do, "How would I feel if someone treated me that way?" and "What if everyone behaved like that?"
Grades 5-8
Students learn and compare basic tenets of world religions and their influence on individual and public life as well as the course of history.
Following a three-part lecture in which the teacher a) identifies the major religions in world history; b) describes the research and scholarship on which the lecture is based; and c) explains the criteria for a religion, and for a world religion, students form small study groups. Each group selects a religion to study and conducts research on its basic tenets, spiritual leaders, and sacred documents. The groups prepare reports for other students to read. The class as a whole then discusses the meaning of the word "religion" and identifies similarities and differences in the tenets of the religions studied.
Grades 9-10
Returning to the study of world religions, students examine the influences of religions in law, education, the arts, and social norms.

Students conduct research on the religious history and meaning of scenes depicted in paintings. They visit museums to study paintings, or study reproductions of paintings, in detail, writing essays explaining the depiction of religious themes in specific paintings.

Students explain the attempts of the clergy in Medieval and Reformation Europe to apply the Mosaic Code and Christian Gospels to business and trade through principles such as "just price" and "just wage."

Students contrast accounts of human nature given in defense of tyranny with accounts of human nature that underlie government by consent of the governed. Students explain and assess Machiavelli's assertion, "the only durable bond among men is fear," and its implication for government in the light of conflicting evidence that human beings, while not angels, can govern themselves.
Grades 11-12
Students recognize limits to the pursuit of individual happiness and gratification implicit in the ideals of justice and respect for the human dignity and rights of others.
Students understand the use of the principles of justice and human dignity in identifying forms of conduct as right or wrong, and as tolerable or intolerable. They distinguish toleration from respect and assess alternatives for addressing, through law, policy, and personal engagement, persistent but intolerable conditions, circumstances, practices, and behavior. Students explore and explain the meaning of "absolutely wrong" and consider in discussion and writing whether any form of conduct by individuals or institutions - drunk driving, slavery, genocide, perjury - is absolutely wrong.

Learning Standard 6: Interdisciplinary Learning: Natural Science, Mathematics, and Technology in History.

Students will describe and explain major advances, discoveries, and inventions over time in natural science, mathematics, and technology; explain some of their effects and influences in the past and present on human life, thought, and health, including use of natural resources, production and distribution and consumption of goods, exploration, warfare, and communication.

Learning Standard Components
(Core Knowledge and Skills)
Students learn the story of inventions and discoveries that make their lives different from lives of people of long ago and of even the recent past.

PreK-2: Students compare the tools they use in schools for projects and assignments with the tools available to children in times past and learn how and by whom the older and newer tools were invented.

Grades 3-4: Students study and explain how paved roads, motorized vehicles, electric lights, printed books, color reproductions of paintings and sculpture, computers, and other inventions have changed distribution of educational opportunity for the public as well as life in schools. They examine advances tin medicine, such as vaccination against dread diseases, and their effects on health.
Grades 5-8
Students understand the importance of technological advances for the spread of literacy in the Republic, and for citizen access to information.
Students read Abraham Lincoln's 1858-59 address, "Discoveries and Inventions"; reconstruct his arguments about the effects of printing and literacy on the aspiration of members of the broad public; and assess his view on fundamental purposes of education of the public.
Drawing on their studies in geography, students learn of inventions that have revolutionized exploration --such as the compass, the mechanical clock, the sextant, the telescope --and how they are used. From accounts of voyages of explorers and traders, students explain the uses of navigational instruments.
Students understand the effects of inventions and discoveries that have altered, for better or worse over time, working and safety conditions in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and transportation; and discoveries and inventions that have transformed medicine, education, daily life, and free time. Students study the effects of technology on the availability and uses of free time and consider the extent to which they use free time for selfimprovement as distinguished from mere amusement.
Grades 9-10
Students learn of technological advances in food production and distribution and test hypotheses to explain the persistence of hunger, starvation, and localized famine.
Three student groups identify through research countries where famine persists; each group selects one country for study. The groups then report their findings and evidence for their hypotheses as to natural and man-made causes, and propose feasible remedies.
Students understand essentials and effects of major 19th and 20th century scientific theories. The Origin of Species
Grades 11-12
Students learn of the technology by which news media broadcast live coverage of events worldwide and assess the effects of such coverage.
Students conduct research on types of events and phenomena most frequently covered in television news; establish criteria for genuine newsworthiness; and test the extent to which actual news coverage meets the criteria.

Last Updated: September 1, 1997
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