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 SOCIAL STUDIES          TreeSign-Bench.jpg (14766 bytes)

Michigan Department of Education - Social Studies
Version on this website as of summer, 2001


Strands are in GREEN and indented.
Standards are in BROWN.
Benchmarks are in RED.

Strand I. Historical Perspective

Students use knowledge of the past to construct meaningful understanding of our diverse cultural heritage and to inform their civic judgments.

A rich historical perspective begins with knowledge of significant events, ideas, and actors from the past. That knowledge encompasses both our commonalities and our diversity exemplified by race, ethnicity, social and economic status, gender, region, politics, and religion. Meaningful understanding of the past involves the integration of historical knowledge and thinking skills. Neither historical knowledge nor thinking develops independently of the other. If our decisions in contemporary life are to be guided by knowledge of the past, we must learn to engage in historical reasoning, to think through cause-effect relationships, to reach sound historical interpretations, and to conduct historical inquiries. Over time and in varying contexts, students develop an increasingly sophisticated historical perspective by drawing upon the following fields of historical thinking:

Standard I.1 Time and Chronology
All students will sequence chronologically the following eras of American history and key events within these eras in order to examine relationships and to explain cause and effect: The Meeting of Three Worlds (beginnings to 1620); Colonization and Settlement (1585-1763); Revolution and the New Nation (1754-1815); Expansion and Reform (1801-1861); and Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877); The Development of the Industrial United States (1870-1900); The Emergence of Modern America (1890-1930); The Great Depression and World War II (1929-1945); Post War United States (1945-1970); and Contemporary United States (1968-present). (Time and Chronology).

Chronological thinking is at the very heart of historical reasoning. Without a clear sense of historical time we are bound to see events as one great tangled mess. Events must be sequenced in time in order to examine relationships among them or to explain cause and effect.

SS.I.1.ms1    Construct and interpret timelines of people and events from the history of Michigan and the United States through the era of Reconstruction and from the history of other regions of the [sic].

Standard I.2   Comprehending the Past
All students will understand narratives about major eras of American and world history by identifying the people involved, describing the setting, and sequencing the events.

Reading accounts of human events with understanding requires recognition of chronological sequence--the beginning, middle, and end of a story. Comprehension also requires identification of the characters involved, the situation or setting in which the narrative takes place, and the sequence of events through which the story unfolds, including the initiating event(s) and the results.

SS.I.2.ms1   Use narratives and graphic data to describe the settings of significant events that shaped the development of Michigan as a state and the United States as a nation during the eras prior to Reconstruction.

SS.I.2.ms2   Identify and explain how individuals in history demonstrated good character and personal virtue.

SS.I.2.ms3   Select conditions in various parts of the world and describe how they have been shaped by events from the past.

SS.I.2.ms4   Use historical biographies to explain how events from the past affected the lives of individuals and how some individuals influenced the course of history.

Standard I.3 Analyzing and Interpreting the Past
All students will reconstruct the past by comparing interpretations written by others from a variety of perspectives and creating narratives from evidence. History is not a succession of facts marching to a settled conclusion. Written history is a human construction and conclusions about the past are tentative and arguable. Documents, eyewitness accounts, letters, diaries, artifacts, photos, historical sites, and other fragments of the past are subject to analysis and interpretation. Credible reconstruction of the past draws upon a variety of records and compares interpretations that reveal more than one perspective on events. One can engage in "doing history" by assessing historical narratives written by others or by creating a narrative from evidence that has been compiled, analyzed, and interpreted.

SS.I.3.ms1   Use primary and secondary records to analyze significant events that shaped the development of Michigan as a state and the United States as a nation prior to the end of the era of Reconstruction.

SS.I.3.ms3    Show that historical knowledge is tentative and subject to change by describing interpretations of the past that have been revised when new information was uncovered.

SS.I.3.ms4    Compose narratives of events from the history of Michigan and of the United States prior to the era of Reconstruction.

Standard I.4   Judging Decisions from the Past
All students will evaluate key decisions made at critical turning points in history by assessing their implications and long-term consequences.

At critical turning points in history, we sometimes encounter key decisions that were made at the time. By entering personally into such moments, we can confront important issues of an era. When revisiting these issues, we can analyze the interests and values held by those caught up in the situation, consider alternative choices and their consequences, assess the ethical implications of possible decisions, and evaluate the decision made in light of its long-term consequences revealed in the historical record.

SS.I.4.ms1   Identify major decisions in Michigan and the United States history prior to the end of the era of Reconstruction, analyze contemporary factors contributing to the decisions and consider alternative courses of action.

SS.I.4.ms2    Identify major decisions in the history of Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe and Latin America, analyze contemporary factors contributing to the decisions and consider alternative courses of action.

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Strand II. Geographic Perspective

Students will use knowledge of spatial patterns on earth to understand processes that shape human environments and to make decisions about society.

Knowledge of geography enables us to analyze both the physical features and the cultural aspects of our world. By helping us understand relationships within and between places, a geographic perspective brings an understanding of interdependence within local, national, and global communities. Over time and in varying contexts, students construct an increasingly sophisticated geographic perspective organized by the following themes:

Standard II.I "Diversity of People, Places, and Cultures"
All students will describe, compare, and explain the locations and characteristics of places, cultures, and settlements.

The mosaic of people, places, and cultures expresses the rich variety of the earth. Natural and human characteristics meld to form expressions of cultural uniqueness, as well as similarities among peoples. Culture is the way of life of a group of people including language, religion, traditions, family structure, institutions, and economic activities.

SS.II.1.ms3    Benchmark not on MDE MCF website.

Standard II.2     Human/Environment Interaction
All students will describe, compare, and explain the locations and characteristics of ecosystems, resources, human adaptation, environmental impact, and the interrelationships among them.

Understanding human/environment interaction enables one to consider how people rely on the environment, how they alter it, how it may limit what they are able to do, and the consequences of actions for both people and the natural environment.

SS.II.2.ms1    Locate, describe, and compare the ecosystems, resources, and human environment interactions of major world regions.

SS.II.2.ms2    Locate major ecosystems, describe their characteristics, and explain the process that created them.

SS.II.2.hs2    Assess the relationship between property ownership and the management of natural resources.

SS.II.2.ms3    Explain the importance of different kinds of ecosystems to people.

SS.II.2.ms4    Explain how humans modify the environment and describe some of the possible consequences of those modifications.

SS.II.2.ms5    Describe the consequences of human/environment interactions in several different types of environment.

Standard II.5 Global Issues and Events
All students will describe and explain the causes, consequences, and geographic context of major global issues and events.

Places are interconnected by global processes. Throughout the world, people are increasingly linked by physical and human systems. Interdependence can be understood through the study of events that have significance beyond regional or national boundaries.

SS.II.5.ms1   Describe how social and scientific changes in regions may have global consequences.

SS.II.5.ms3    Explain how elements of the physical geography, culture, and history of the region may be influencing current events.

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Standard III   

Standard III.2  



Standard IV     Economic Perspective

Students will use knowledge of the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services to make personal and societal decisions about the use of scarce resources.

Knowledge of economics enables us to understand and consider potential implications of the basic scarcity problem faced by all societies: unlimited wants in pursuit of limited resources. This problem requires economic decisions on matters ranging from personal finance to international trade. Each decision involves both short- and long-term benefits as well as costs. When we act upon our choice, the loss of the next best alternative is our opportunity cost. Individuals, households, businesses, and governments all face choices in attempting to satisfy unlimited wants from scarce resources. Successful economic decisions require a thorough examination of alternative choices and the anticipation of both intended and unintended consequences.

Standard IV.I     Individual and Household Choices
All students will describe and demonstrate how the economic forces of scarcity and choice affect the management of personal financial resources, shape consumer decisions regarding the purchase, use, and disposal of goods and services, and affect the economic well-being of individuals and society.

The quality of individual decision-making is crucial to the effective operation of the economic system and to the personal well-being of its members. Consumer decisions regarding the purchase, use, and disposal of goods and services are shaped by economic forces. As workers, consumers, savers, and investors, individuals confront scarcity and the opportunity costs (loss of the next best alternative) of their choices.

SS.IV.1.ms1   Use economic reasoning when comparing price, quality and features of goods and services.

SS.IV.1.ms2   Evaluate employment and career opportunities in light of economic trends.

SS.IV.1.ms3   Analyze the reliability of information when making economic decisions.

Standard IV.2   Business Choices
All students will explain and demonstrate how businesses confront scarcity and choice when organizing, producing, and using resources, and when supplying the marketplace.

Businesses confront both scarcity and opportunity costs. They make decisions in organizing production, using resources, and supplying the marketplace that have individual and societal consequences. Their choices are affected by the incentives they face and the conditions in which they operate.

SS.IV.2.ms2   Compare various methods for the production and distribution of goods and services.

SS.IV.2.ms3   Describe the effects of a current public policy on businesses.

SS.IV.2.ms4  Examine the historical and contemporary role an industry has played and continues to play in a community.

Standard IV.3   Role of Government
All students will describe how government decisions on taxation, spending, public goods, and regulation impact what is produced, how it is produced, and who receives the benefits of production.

Government decisions on taxation, spending, public goods, and regulation all impact what is produced, how it is produced, and who receives the benefits of production. Governments also make efforts to resolve economic disputes and problems.

SS.IV.3.ms2    Identify and describe different forms of economic measurement.

Standard IV.4   Economic Systems
All students will explain how a free market economic system works, as well as other economic systems, to coordinate and facilitate the exchange, production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.

Individuals, businesses, and governments construct systems for producing, distributing, and consuming goods and services. These systems coordinate economic decisions, facilitate exchange, and encourage specialization in the marketplace. They are constantly evolving as we continue to confront scarcity.

SS.IV.4.ms3   Use case studies to exemplify how supply and demand, prices, incentives, and profits determine what is produced and distributed in the American economy.

Standard IV.5   Trade
All students will describe how trade generates economic development and interdependence and analyze the resulting challenges and benefits for individuals, producers, and government.

The voluntary exchange of goods, services, and payments between individuals, regions, and nations is the basis for economic development. The resulting interdependence creates both benefits and challenges for individuals, producers, and governments.

SS.IV.5.ms2    Examine the role of the United States government in regulating commerce as stated in the United States Constitution.

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Strand V.  Inquiry

Students will use methods of social science investigation to answer questions about society.

Inquiry, an essential component of effective decision-making, is the process of investigating problems of significance to society. Some problems can be sufficiently examined through the lens of a single discipline. Other problems, by their very nature, encompass more than one discipline. If citizens are to make sound decisions in efforts to solve social problems, they must learn how to pursue data, think critically, and communicate their findings effectively. Over time and in varying contexts, students will improve their ability to use the following procedures:

Standard V.2     Conducting Investigations
All students will conduct investigations by formulating a clear statement of a question, gathering and organizing information from a variety of sources, analyzing and interpreting information, formulating and testing hypotheses, reporting results both orally and in writing, and making use of appropriate technology.

Social science investigations usually begin with the clear statement of a question meaningful to the investigator. Gathering and organizing information from a variety of sources, interpreting and analyzing information, formulating and testing of hypotheses, and reporting of results are subsequent steps of the inquiry process. Computers and other electronic technology may be used to access and manage information during an investigation and to report results. Investigations can be carried out by individuals or groups.

SS.V.2.ms1    Pose a social science question about a culture, world region, or international problem.

SS.V.2.ms2    Gather and analyze information using appropriate information technologies to answer the question posed.

SS.V.2.ms3    Construct an answer to the question posed and support their answer with evidence.

SS.V.2.ms4    Report the results of their investigation including procedures followed and possible alternative conclusions.

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Strand VI.   Public Discourse and Decision Making

Students will analyze public issues and construct and express thoughtful positions on these issues.

Public issues are unresolved questions of policy that require resolution if people are to govern themselves coherently. They arise in all communities where members make decisions collectively. In order to foster informed consent of the governed, the social studies curriculum engages students in efforts to deliberate local, national, and international public policy issues of enduring importance. Over time and in varying contexts, students improve their ability to produce the following kinds of discourse:

Standard VI.I     Identifying and Analyzing Issues
All students will state an issue clearly as a question of public policy, trace the origins of the issue, analyze various perspectives people bring to the issue, and evaluate possible ways to resolve the issue.

Whether a public issue is local or global in scope, the process of resolution begins by stating the issue clearly as a question of policy. The origins of the issue are then traced: How did it become a matter of disagreement or dispute? In tracing the origins of the issue, various perspectives that people bring to it are acknowledged. Analysis then moves to identifying subordinate ethical, factual, and definitional issues that must be settled in order to resolve the policy issue.

SS.VI.1.ms1   State public policy issues and their related ethical, definitional, and factual issues as questions.

SS.VI.1.ms3   Explain how culture and experiences shape positions that people take on an issue.


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MSUElogo.tif (16254 bytes) This website was developed and created by Michigan State University Extension for the teachers of the State of Michigan.  The website is maintained by the Delta-Schoolcraft Independent School District in support of the Michigan Forests Forever CD-ROM from the Michigan Forest Resource Alliance.

Page Name:  MCF/SocStudies.htm
Please provide comments to Bill Cook: or 786-1575