Wachusett Regional School District
Wachusett Mountain

 History and Social Science
Curriculum Frameworks K-12 

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Civics and Government

History/Social Science Learning Standards


Historical time is the lens through which we see change and continuity in human affairs.  The study of history is central to the history and social science framework because an understanding of the past is essential for citizens of democratic societies.   Knowledge of history allows us to compare our own lives and ideals to those of people in other eras and circumstances; ignorance of history isolates us from human realities and predisposes us to accept simplistic solutions to complex problems.

History is the story of men, women, and children of the past.  We read original sources and historians’ accounts to discover what people have accomplished, how they have made sense of the world around them, and how they have suffered and persevered.   Their ideas, character, and contingency, intended an unintended consequences, and points of view, gain meaning only when they are applied to the historical narratives of particular times and places.

As they study history, students practice the principles and techniques of the discipline: maintaining standards of objectivity, working with primary documents, differentiating between historical fact, historical interpretation, and historical fiction, weighing evidence, and forming and testing hypotheses. 


The science of geography provides a framework for exploring the varied physical and human features of Earth’s surface in a spatial context.  A geographic perspective helps individuals better understand the distribution of features and conditions in the world about us-where things are, what they are like, why they are in a particular place, and why they are important.

Geography is in integrative discipline that encompasses both the physical and social sciences.  It differs from other sciences because it is identified by its spatial methodology rather than by its content.  The chief spatial, or geographic, question is “where?”  Organizing and analyzing furthers students’ knowledge of Earth’s locations and places; features and conditions; movements, interrelations and interactions; and regional distributions and patterns.

The study of geography should emphasize basic map reading skills because the ability to read and interpret maps is essential to geographic study.  Students should also know the locations of Earth’s major physical and cultural features that give its varied places their unique character.  Finally, because of the basic relationships that exist between humans and the natural environments they occupy, students should recognize the different ways by which humans inhabit, adapt to, use, and change Earth’s varied natural conditions.  Students achieve these geographic understandings by addressing standards that embed five major geographic concepts: location, place, human interaction with the environment, movement, and region.

History and Geography

Standard:  As a result of activities in grades K-5, students should develop the ability to:

  • Identify sequences such as chronological order.
  • Identify temporal sequences such as days, weeks, months, years and seasons. 
  • Tell or show what a map is and what a globe is. 
  • Identify direction(s). 
  • Define and locate North and South Pole. 
  • Define and give examples of a continent, mountain, river, and ocean. 
  • Use a calendar. 
  • Read globes and maps and follow narrative accounts on them. 
  • Identify direction(s) and apply them to maps and other locations such as a classroom. 
  • Explain the meaning of time periods and/or dates in historical narratives (decade, century) and use them correctly in speaking and writing. 
  • Observe visual sources such as historic paintings and photographs, and describe details such as clothing, setting, and action. 
  • Use directions to identify locations in New England and Massachusetts. 
  • Use map and globe skills to determine absolute locations (latitude and longitude) of places studied. 
  • Identify locations of the North and South Poles, Equator, Prime Meridian and the four Hemispheres. 
  • Interpret a map using a compass. 
  • Observe and describe national historic sites. 
  • Interpret time line of events. 
  • Distinguish between political and topographical maps. 
  • Compare maps of the modern world with historical maps.

Standard:  As a result of activities in grades 6-7, students should develop the ability to:

 Use map and globe skills learned in pre k-grade five to interpret different kinds of projections, as well as topographic, land form, political climate.
 Use geographical terms correctly.
 Interpret geographic information from a graph of chart and construct a graph or chart that conveys geographic information.
 Explain the difference between absolute and relative location.
 Explain the organization of an atlas.
 Explain what time zones are.
 Use demographics correctly:  ethnic group, religious group.
 Compare information shown on modern and historical maps of the same region.
 Use correctly the words or abbreviations for identifying time periods or dates in historical narrative: decade, era.
 Construct and interpret timeliness of events and civilizations.
 Distinguish between primary and secondary sources.
 Identify cause and effect when explaining historical events.
 Describe ways of interpreting archaeological evidence.


Standard:  As a result of activities in grades 8-12, students should develop the ability to:

 Understand the Anglo-American political heritage: Greco-Roman history, Magna Carta, Evolution of Parliament, Mayflower Compact, the English Revolution, colonial governments, and the ideas of the Enlightenment.
 Understand expansion and the conflict surrounding the Louisiana Purchase and the War of 1812.
 Trace the industrialization of New England invention and enterprise.
 Trace the emergence of distinctly American religion, art, and literature.
 Identify new immigrants, migration patterns, and nativist hostility.
 Trace westward migration, Indian removals, and the war against Mexico.
 Understand slave life, families, religion, and resistance in the American South.
 Understand the causes of a nation divided, the failed attempts at compromise over slavery, Abraham Lincoln’s beliefs, election, secession, and war.
 Comprehend the scenes of war: battlefield, farm factory, home, and hospital.
 Relate the Civil War to Massachusetts soldiers: Ft. Wagner and the Wilderness.
 Identify and explain leaders, deciding factors, turning points, and human toll of the Civil War.
 Interpret Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, second inaugural, and reasons for assassination.
 Trace and compare the growth of agricultural and commercial civilizations (500-1500 A.D.).
 Trace and compare the emergence of a global age (1450-1750) through events of the Italian Renaissance, China under Ming and Manchu dynasties, Japan, and European conquests, colonization, and consequences in the Americas.
 Trace the scientific revolution, enlightenment in Europe and America, as well as the origins, stages and consequences of the American and French Revolutions.
 Understand the age of revolutionary change including the Latin American wars for independence, the agricultural and industrial revolutions in the western world, cities and urban life in the 19th century, democratic and social reforms in Europe, Chinese revolution, and Japan’s modernization.