The goals and objectives within the North Carolina Social Studies Essential Standards closely parallel the National Council for Social Studies Curriculum Standards. The national content standards for history, geography, civics and government, economics, and psychology support this document and provide guidance for implementing thematic strands across the disciplines. The North Carolina Social Studies Essential Standards establish competency goals and objectives for the teaching and learning of social studies in our state. It is the foundation upon which teachers and curriculum specialists in each school system develop course content, select instructional materials and plan for instruction.
The North Carolina Social Studies Essential Standards are designed to ensure that our state prepares students to become informed, productive citizens. This requires an understanding of the content and skills of our discipline within the five lenses of the Social Studies (including History, Geography, Culture, Civics and Government and Personal Financial Literacy)
Learners in early grades gain experience with sequencing to establish a sense of order and time. They enjoy hearing stories of the recent past as well as those of long ago. They enjoy learning about history through the autobiographies and biographies of important people in history. In addition, they begin to recognize that individuals may hold different views about the past and understand the link between human decisions and consequences. This develops the foundation of historical knowledge, skills, and values within both our local and global communities.
In the middle grades, students continue to expand their understanding of the past and of historical concepts and inquiry. They also begin a more in depth study of World History which begins with the study of early humans in sixth grade and extends up to to modern day current events in the seventh grade. In eigth grade, students focus on the study of United States History from exploration through modern day current events. Students begin to understand and appreciate differences in historical perspectives by recognizing that individual experiences, societal values, and cultural traditions influence interpretation of historical events. They discover that science and technology bring changes that can affect values and beliefs.
High school students engage in a more sophisticated analysis and reconstruction of the past, examining its relationship to the present and its implications for the future. They integrate individual stories about people, events, and situations to form broader concepts in which continuity and change are linked in time and across cultures. At the high school level, students are able to think systematically about personal, national, and global decisions, interactions, and consequence. They learn to address critical issues such as peace, human rights, trade, and global ecology. Students also learn how to draw on their knowledge of history in order to make informed choices and decisions in the present.