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Social Studies Department

Social Studies Department Information

Social Studies instruction in Donegal School District aligns with PA Standards and the district’s mission of “developing each learner as a productive citizen who thoughtfully meets personal, community, and global challenges.” Instruction in civics and government, economics, geography, and history helps to prepare our students for their roles as future citizens.

From kindergarten through grade three, basic concepts are developed in the standards that fall under the social studies umbrella. As students move through higher grades, these concepts are developed more fully. For example, kindergarten students learn why rules and consequences are necessary in the classroom, while third graders learn why good citizens follow community, state, and national laws.

Planned social studies instruction in grades four through six addresses similar content in the same standards, but the knowledge and skills become more complex. Upon entering fourth grade, a student should be able to “identify how nations work together to solve problems," while a student exiting grade six should be able to “explain how nations work together on common environmental problems, natural disasters, and trade."

In grades seven through nine, standards are divided into course specific instruction. A geographic focus in grade seven helps students explain physical and human characteristics of places and regions. Economic principles of geography are also explored. Students in grade eight learn Pennsylvania and United States history from 1787 to 1914, and they analyze principles and documents of government.   Ninth graders are instructed in world history before 1500 as they investigate impacts of continuity and change as well as conflict and cooperation.

Sophomores continue their study of world history by focusing on the modern world (since 1450), while juniors return to Pennsylvania and United States history from 1890 to the present. Since the department recognizes that an understanding of geography is crucial to an understanding of history, geographic content is integrated in history classes.   Finally, to help seniors “thoughtfully” meet “personal, community, and global challenges”, instruction in political and economic systems is required. Electives in human geography, sociology, psychology, and advanced placement United States history complete the high school planned instruction.

Emphasis on historical analysis and skills development is an integral part of the department’s mission, and we are very enthusiastic about the role of the Shared Inquiry Method to increase literacy at the secondary level. Preparing graduates to be active, productive citizens in our free society is the ultimate goal of the social studies department.

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