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Social Studies

Social Studies

MCS Social Studies Philosophy:

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Children must understand their past and present in order to make intelligent decisions for the future. Indeed, it is the role of the public school to enable children to think critically, to develop their social and academic skills and to expose them to the complexities of their world, so that they are able to participate actively in society.

For many years, social studies has been at the core of children’s learning at the Marion Cross School. Social studies is interdisciplinary by nature and lends itself to varied and creative investigation. For example, as part of the study of a culture, students may research an aspect of personal interest. Since children learn in different ways, projects allow them to demonstrate their learning through their passion. Perhaps this explains why these units are among those which former students remember most vividly. Teachers are attached to these social studies units as well. For many years our faculty has developed challenging and age-appropriate, integrated curricula, centered on a personal passion or expertise. In order to maintain this high degree of excitement and involvement, it is essential to allow for individual initiative.

Above all, the aim of our program is to make social studies come alive for students. Throughout the grades, students are involved with a variety of experiences, including field trips, exhibits, drama, music, dance, creative writing, audio-visual presentations, group projects, simulations, interviews, cuisine, map-making, and original research. They glean and evaluate information from a variety of sources, such as guest speakers, primary documents and artifacts, maps, art, architecture, material culture, and historical fiction. This varied program provides children with diverse experiences to prepare them for participation as citizens in a democratic society.

Essential Questions

1. How does my knowledge of the past connect to how I understand my present and inform my future?

2. How are people a product of their time and place?

3. Who writes history? What does perspective and/or bias play in interpreting history?

4. Whose story is included and whose is left out?

Enduring Understandings

1. Everyone’s history is important.

2. We are all the products of our past, time and place.

3. There are many different sources for learning history.

4. Sifting through various historical perspectives is necessary to grasp truth.

By Grade Level


Social studies topics include identity of self, family and culture, class rules, school rules, responsibility, needs and wants, winter traditions, maps and mapmaking.

Grade 1

Community, African Cultures, Children of Other Lands, Continents and Oceans

Grade 2

Awareness of self & family and culture, class rules, school rules, address, Map vs. globe, spatial terms intro to service learning

Grade 3

Native America. Globe study, physical features, history of Norwich, Trails West

Grade 4

Vermont Studies, Ancient Egypt, Japan

Grade 5

U.S. Regional Studies,  Civics and Current events (U.S. & International), Ancient Greece, 
Europe of the Middle Ages, Epic Cycle coverage: Homeric & non-Homeric, U.S.: landforms, regions, states, landmarks, capitals & demographics, Europe and Mediterranean: historical

Grade 6

Historical Perspectives and Sources, World History: Atlantic World (1500-1800), U.S. History: “From Colonies to Country”

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