Social Studies Fifth Grade

Social Studies
THEME: People of the Americas : Age of Exploration Through Westward Expansion
ALASKA THEME: Knowing About Alaskan Government
 Grade 5

This list may be customized for individual lesson plans and records.  Alaska Content Standards (in geography, government, and history) should be recorded as they are addressed throughout the year.  For your convenience, each item in the Mastery and Developmental lists on the following pages is matched to the Content Standard (in geography, government, history) that it supports.   Items that meet the Alaska Cultural Standards are marked with an asterisk (* ).

CONTENT LISTGeographyGovernmentHistoryCultural
Alaskan government     
Basic map and globe reading skills     
Democratic principles of the United States      
Exploration of America      
Explorers in the United States      
Human adaptation to physical environments     
Regions of the United States      
Southcentral region of Alaska     
Time period of early American people to mid 19th century     

The fifth grade program focuses on the development of the United States as a nation in the Western Hemisphere, with particular emphasis on those principles on which this nation was founded and that guided its development.  The diverse cultural, ethnic, and racial origins of the American people should be included.  Attention should be directed to individuals and groups who have contributed to the political, social, economic, and cultural life of the nation.  The inclusion of literature of people and events is essential to highlight the development of our country.  The historical timeline will extend from early American peoples through the mid 19th century.  Inclusion of the Civil War is optional.  A strand covering Alaskan statehood and government should be interwoven at this grade level.

** The bold print indicates items that are new to the Mastery or Developmental strand at each grade level, but they may appear in earlier grades in the Enrichment strand.


• Use a spatial perspective to study the world by examining, making, comparing, and interpreting maps and globes. (A1, A2)
• Analyze and understand earth’s geographical systems, such as land and water forms, and geological systems as they impacted exploration and westward expansion. (C1)
• Understand that maps are changing documents and recognize the impact of westward expansion and exploration. (A5)

• Describe the sharing of power among people, branches, and levels of government (federal, state, local). (B4)

• Identify significant ideas, institutions, people, and events of the exploration of America. (B2, 4)
• * Organize early American history into time periods. (B4, D1)
• Recognize that human experience is recorded in different voices representing different experiences. (A5)

• Map and analyze the movement of people, products, and resources through exploration. (E)
• Evaluate and discuss the impact of human modifications to the environment and the environment’s impact on humans. (E5)
• Discuss how conflict and cooperation shape social, economic, and political use of space. (D5)
• Examine how people view the attainment and loss of land as a result of exploration and expansion. (D4, 5)

• Examine and apply the fundamental ideas of equality, authority, power, freedom, justice, privacy, property, and responsibility.  (B3)
• Analyze the rights, responsibilities, and roles of citizenship.  (E1, 2)
• Explore the economic factors that influenced westward expansion and exploration.  (F, G)
• Explore the role of the individual in creating and evaluating rules and laws, selecting political leaders, and resolving conflicts.  (E)
• Explore the concepts of individualism, state, and national identity.  (B)
• Explore ideals as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, including the Bill of Rights.  (B)
• Investigate causes, consequences, and possible solutions to current issues.  (D)
• Discuss the interdependence of local, state, and national governments and economies, past and present.  (G)

* Meets Cultural Standards

• Use geographical perspective to analyze the causes, consequences, and possible solutions to current and emerging global issues.
• Use graphic tools and technology to depict and interpret the world’s human and physical systems.

• Examine persisting issues involving the rights, roles, and status of individuals and groups in relation to the general welfare.
• Study, observe, and participate in government action.
• Discuss the causes, consequences, and possible solutions to current issues.
• Relate the importance of individuals, media, public opinion, diversity, law, and dissent to school and local issues.
• Identify the relationships among local, tribal, state, and federal governments.
• Discuss how the policies and actions of states, nations, and international organizations influence each other.  

• Explore causes, consequences, and possible solutions to persisting contemporary and emerging global issues.
• * Compare/contrast family traditions and customs.  (A6, B1)
• Identify cultural diversity.  (C1, A1, C)
• Compare and contrast how groups, societies, and cultures address similar needs and concerns. (A5)
• Understand that cultural elements include language, literature, the arts, and customs, and reflect the attitudes/beliefs of a specific time.  (A6)
• Demonstrate that history is a bridge to understanding self, groups of people, and their relationship to society.  (A8)
• * Demonstrate understanding that history is composed of key turning points.  (A7)
• * Differentiate between historical interpretation and historical fiction.  (C2)
• * Apply critical thinking to examine history.  (C3)
• * Discuss the consequences of peace and violent conflict.  (B1)
• Define personal positions on issues.  (D3)
• * Discuss the changing patterns of society.  (B1)

* Meets Cultural Standards 

• Identify the four main Indian regions and compare the geographical and cultural characteristics that influenced them (e.g., Pueblo, Eastern Woodland).
• Map the theory of how the first Natives got to North or South America.
• Construct Alaska population maps and relate them to representation in state government.
• Determine the climatic factors that influenced travel during westward expansion (e.g., Oregon Trail).
• Examine how various land and water forms affected westward expansion (e.g., Rocky Mountains, Mississippi River).
• Explain how and why different regional environments affect the way of life of people (e.g., Southern vs. Northern colonies).
• Consider how water availability affected population growth (e.g., river, ocean).
• Choose a physical system and determine all the factors that affect humans (e.g., Mississippi River, Rocky Mountains).
• Suggest reasons for the distribution of people on Earth (e.g., a few people live where it is very dry or cold) by comparing maps of population distribution with maps that show climate, precipitation, length of growing season, natural resources, and other physical features.

• Participate in a school or community service project.
• Explore how decisions are made in the Alaska State Legislature.
• Follow the process of making a law.
• Diagram the three branches of government.
• Follow a local or state current event.  Find articles and letters to the editor, and follow the issue to resolution.
• Hold mock or real elections.
• Examine a current event in Alaska and determine how it is influenced by and influences other states or the nation (e.g., ANWR, aerial wolf hunting).
• Determine the revenue sources for the State of Alaska and how those moneys affect individual and borough economics (e.g., past:  boycotting of tea, Shay’s rebellion; present:  oil revenue and taxation).
• Analyze and discuss both sides of issues/events (e.g., the French and Indian War, England’s late 1700’s trade laws’ effect on the colonies, Triangular Trade Route).
• Compare and contrast how colonists provided for their needs in comparison to people today.
• Use weekly news magazine/newspapers, current events, and Internet.


• Use a timeline to explore a specific period of exploration.
• Place significant events in the proper time frame (e.g., Declaration of Independence, Revolutionary War).
• Select a specific position and defend/debate your point of view (e.g., Patriots vs. Loyalists).
• Describe key turning points from a historical stand point (e.g., the downfall of the Aztec nation, English rule in America).
• Determine the factors that cause a need for change in society (e.g., Bill of Rights, immigration, technology).
• Evaluate the effects of different groups as they interacted (e.g., European claims and the effects on Native Americans).
• Choose a contemporary issue and relate it to a similar event in history (e.g., acquisition of new lands, taxation, recreation, technology).
• Choose an issue, event, or person in history and incorporate other disciplines into your presentations (e.g., research project, poster, diagrams).
• Anecdotal records
• Content testing
• Construction of a “personal” budget
• Diagram of “your” economic system
• Group and individual multimedia projects and presentations scored by a rubric
• Maps and journals
• Opinion paper
• Participation in an economic simulation
• Participation in discussions and activities – mock situations and role playing
• Personal history writing, such as pictures and journals
• Projects, work samples, and presentations (group or individual) scored on a rubric
• Record of civic/community service
• Research projects
• Rubrics
• Self and peer assessment with a rubric
• Timeline
• Written report