Social Studies Sixth Grade

Social Studies
THEME: Alaska, The Crossroads of World Geography
ALASKA THEME: Knowing About Alaska History, Geography, and Economics.
 Grade 6

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
Alaska and National government    
Alaska statehood    
Alaska’s place in global issues    
Alaskan history and cultures    
Democratic principles in the development of the United States    
Multi-cultural literature – Alaska culture emphasis    
Regions of Alaska    

The focus of the sixth grade program is the study of Alaskan history and the interdependence among the people and cultures of the Pacific Rim.  Instruction should provide students with hands-on, in-depth experiences; exposure to high quality, relevant multi-cultural literature; and essential knowledge related to the state's past and present.  Analyzing movement patterns and relationships of Alaska's cultures will provide students the necessary awareness to understand and interpret Alaska's interaction with Pacific Rim cultures.  Students should study Alaska's unique geographic location and realize how this condition challenges Alaskans to better know, understand, and work cooperatively with other Pacific Rim nations.

** 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 Alaska by examining, making, comparing, and interpreting maps and globes. (A1, A2)
• Identify the distinct geographic and geological characteristics of Alaska’s regions as defined by cultural and/or physical features. (B2, 7)
• Examine and compare Alaska’s cultures and investigate individual and regional identity, including past, present, and future. (D4, 5)

Describe the fundamental ideas of responsibilities and limits by rule of law. (B8)
• Analyze the rights, responsibilities, and roles of citizenship. (E1, 2)

• Demonstrate understanding that history is composed of key turning points. (A7)
• * Demonstrate that history is a bridge to understanding self, groups of people, and their relationship to society. (A8)
• * Compare and contrast how groups, societies, and cultures address similar needs and concerns. (A5)

• Map and analyze the movement of people, products, and resources within the state of Alaska. (A5)
• Evaluate and discuss the impact of human modifications to the environment and the environment’s impact on humans within Alaska. (E5)
• Discuss how conflict and cooperation shape social, economic, and political use of space. (D5)
Use graphic tools and technology to depict and interpret Alaska’s human and physical systems. (B)
• Investigate diversity and the productivity of Alaskan environments. (C3)
Use a geographic perspective to analyze the causes, consequences, and possible solutions to Alaskan global issues. (A6, F4)

• Examine the meaning of fundamental ideas, such as equality, authority, power, freedom, justice, privacy, property, responsibility, and sovereignty. (B3)
• Analyze the interdependence of local, state, and national governments and economies, past and present. (G)
• Analyze the causes, consequences, and possible solutions to current issues. (D5)
• Analyze the forces and influences of economics, such as environmental issues, resources, transportation, communication, money, personal wants and needs, and natural disasters. (F, G)
• Identify cultural diversity as it relates to the community, Alaska, the United States, and such issues as Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA), the Statehood Act, and subsistence. (C2, 3, 4)
• Study, observe, and participate in government action (e.g., state, local). (E)

* Meets Cultural Standards

• * Compare/contrast family traditions and customs. (A6, B1)
• Identify cultural diversity. (C2, A1, C)
• Understand that cultural elements include language, literature, the arts, and customs, and reflect the attitudes/beliefs of a specific time. (A6)
• Apply critical thinking to examine history. (C3)
• * Define personal positions on issues. (D3)
• * Understand that societies, communities, and environments experience continuity and change through time. (A8)
• * Differentiate between historical interpretation and historical fiction. (C2)
• * Classify the changing patterns of Alaskan culture. (A1)
• * Understand and organize Alaska history through a chronological framework. (A1)
Explore history as a fundamental connection that unifies human experiences. (A9)

* Meets Cultural Standards

• Use grid coordinates to locate features on maps of local areas.
• Create a map.
• Identify locations suited to specific activities or functions.
• Construct a community model and incorporate local geographic and human features.
• Use samples from local ecosystems to convey information about ecosystems and their changes.
• Investigate origins of local street names.
• Plan changes in street names, community features, and structures to be more consistent with the cultural, historical, and geographic features of the local area.
• Visit a local community. Compare and contrast it with own community.
• Develop reciprocal relationships with students from another community. Create projects to teach students from other areas about the cultural and physical systems of communities.
• Investigate physical systems (e.g., water cycle, erosion, and glaciation).
• Identify and describe physical landforms in your area, including how they were formed or changed by physical systems or events (e.g., rivers, glaciers, earthquakes, volcanoes).
• Examine different habitats of your local area.
• Examine local resources and the ways they are used in local communities.
• List different modes of transporting goods, information, and services in your community and what types of jobs are needed for them.
• Use technology to gather, sort, and organize information for a variety of purposes.
• Judge the accuracy, value, and relevance of information gathered from a variety of sources (e.g., media, newspapers, Internet).

• Describe the purpose of government agencies (e.g., Department of Fish and Game, the Fisheries Board, State School Board).
• Explain conditions, actions, and motivations that contribute to conflict and cooperation within and among Alaskan communities.
• Examine controversial issues such as commercial and sport fishing, and debate a hypothetical legislative bill such as the banning of commercial fishing in Cook Inlet.
• List those powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, which are reserved to states (e.g., Alaska retains the right and power to pass laws governing actions of people).
• Participate in a school or community service project.
• Debate from the position of different user groups, the issue of “over-fishing” in the Gulf of Alaska and Northern Pacific waters.
• Explain the contributing forces that led to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA).
• Develop a diagram tracing the life cycle of Alaskan salmon:  how they are produced, caught, commercially prepared, distributed, and consumed throughout the world.
• Identify the ways Alaskan gold was located and extracted in 1900 versus the processes utilized today.
• Explore Native subsistence economy and traditional trade routes.
• Describe how the depletion of seals led to the near extinction of an animal family.
• Describe the environmental deterioration around the Pacific Rim related to industrial growth and economic prosperity.
• Explain how surplus world oil influences the value of a barrel of Alaskan crude oil, which in turn impacts all Alaskans.
• Develop a list of careers that are impacted by the Alaskan oil economy.
• Use economic reasoning to compare different proposals for dealing with contemporary social issues such as unemployment, acid rain, or quality education.

• Read various accounts of Alaskan history through the years (e.g., Paleontology along the Colville River, The Land Bridge and Early People, Russian Discovery, The Klondike, Homesteading, World War II).
• Chart significant Alaskan events by using an Alaskan timeline (e.g., Land Bridge, Russian America, American Exploration).
• Explore and debate past events/issues and compare how they were viewed in the past to how they are viewed today (e.g., evacuation of Native Alaskans from Aleutians, statehood vs. territorial status, the missionary movement in rural Alaska, construction of the pipeline).
• Interview original homesteaders to obtain original stories of settlement conditions.
• Analyze impact of migration patterns on local Alaskan environment (e.g., Klondikers from the lower 48, commercial fishermen from the Pacific Rim countries such as Japan and Korea, Russian Old Believers, Native Alaskans).
• Identify three Pacific Rim nations or cities to compare and contrast patterns of human activity. 
• Partition Alaska into Native cultural regions based on societal similarities.
• Discuss how the third voyage of Captain James Cook influenced European understanding of the world.
• Analyze how man has interacted with natural resources such as oil, gold, and fishing.
• Compare and contrast life in Bering Coast Alaska to that found along the coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia.
• Determine those factors that contributed to the near extinction of several Pacific Rim animals.  What can we learn from this?  Are there current issues that might have similar results?
• Research and formulate an opinion on the appropriateness of opening ANWR to oil production.

• Content testing
• Group and individual multimedia projects and presentations scored by a rubric
• Identification of geographic themes in news articles
• Opinion paper
• Personal history writing, such as pictures and journals
• Personal maps and journals
• Possible portfolio inclusion
• Pre and Post drawn maps
• Projects, work samples, and presentations (group or individual) scored on a rubric
• Research projects
• Rubrics
• Self and peer assessment with a rubric
• Timeline
• Written reports