Social studies is the integrated study of human society and its
contributions, influences and impact on the world. There are many
content areas which combine to create the overarching concept of social
studies. The commonwealth of Pennsylvania has delineated the disciplines
and developed academic standards in the social studies areas to be
civics and government, economics, geography, history and student
Social Studies Academic Standards
Pennsylvania Academic Standards describe
what students should know and be able to do at specific points in time.
The standards increase in complexity and sophistication as students
progress through school. The academic standards serve as a framework
from which districts develop their specific curriculum.
The Pennsylvania Academic Standards are part of the Standards Aligned System (SAS).
SAS is the Pennsylvania Department of Education's digital curriculum
and instruction resource site. SAS is comprised of six distinct
elements which provide a common framework for continuous student,
teacher, and school and district growth. The elements are Standards,
Assessment, Curriculum Framework, Instruction, Materials and Resources,
and Safe and Supportive Schools.
Available on SAS are
resources for teaching and developing high quality social studies
programs. The Pennsylvania Academic Standards, which can be found on
SAS, that relate to social studies are:
Civics and Government
is the teaching and presentation of the principles and ideals of the
American republican representative form of government as portrayed and
experienced by the acts and policies of the framers of the Declaration
of Independence, Constitution of the United States and Bill of Rights.
is concerned with the behavior of individuals and institutions engaged
in the production, exchange, and consumption of goods and services.
Students will learn how economic activity impacts the forces of everyday
life which is essential as they become adults entering the work force.
is the science of space and place on Earth's surface. Its subject
matter is the physical and human phenomena that make up the world's
environments and places. Geography helps students understand spatial
contexts, recognize places and regions as human concepts, understand
physical processes that have shaped the Earth's surface and the patterns
resulting from those processes.
provides a framework that helps instill in each student an ability to
develop historical comprehension, to evaluate historical interpretation
and to understand and conduct historical research.
Certification and Staffing Policy Guidelines (CSPG)
that pertain to social studies certification and course assignment
include: CSPG 35 – Citizenship Education; CSPG 52 – Middle Level Social
Studies; CSPG 58 – Social Sciences; and CSPG 59 – Social Studies.
Questions regarding certification requirements should be directed to the Pennsylvania Department of Education's Bureau of School Leadership and Teacher Quality.
Resources for Educators
Civics Toolkit: This civic knowledge toolkit is designed to assist school
entities in the development of an assessment that both satisfies the required
elements of Act 35 and aligns with State Academic Standards for Civics and
Government, Economics, Geography, and History.
A premier site for resources if teaching economics which is integrated
into geography, history, and civics and government lessons or a focused
Founded by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, iCivics is designed to teach
students civics and inspire them to be active participants in democracy.
iCivics presents government in an interactive game format with
activities pertinent and relatable to students' lives.
History resources abound on this website. This site is designed to
help K-12 teachers access resources and materials to improve U.S.
history education in the classroom. History content, teaching
strategies, resources, and research are easily accessible to teachers.
USCIC: Visit the United
States Citizenship and Immigration Services website to practice the civics test
and access other resources.