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Elementary Social Studies

Overview and Philosophy

The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) PreK-12 social studies program has changed considerably over the past 20 years, and has been influenced by national standards documents in multiple disciplines within the social studies (History, Geography, Civics, Economics, Peoples of the Nation and World, and Social Studies Skills and Processes), by the Maryland State Department of Education Social Studies Standards, by The College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Inquiry in Social Studies, by research findings, and by the changing nature of standardized assessments.

Social Studies skills and content are interwoven throughout the program. Exemplar lessons are designed to actively engage students in the content of social studies by interacting with a variety of resources and then showing what they have learned through various performance-based assessments. This approach has an internal support structure for students with various learning strengths and provides natural opportunities for differentiated instruction and assessments that are guided by the principles of Universal Design for Learning. In addition, lessons have been designed with the purposeful integration of English Language Arts standards in order to allow students to reinforce and practice these skills in an authentic setting.

Beyond the goals and objectives of the curriculum lies the true mission of social studies, to provide those experiences that develop in students the knowledge, concepts, strategies, and skills needed to promote citizenship in a diverse and changing world. Good social studies instruction is meaningful, engaging, and challenging.

View more about how our social studies curriculum connects students with multiple disciplines while focusing on specific time periods and topics.

Simulated Congressional Hearings

The Simulated Congressional Hearing (SCH) is a culminating activity for fifth grade social studies. The SCH is an authentic, performance-based assessment where students demonstrate their understanding of the U.S. Constitution. Students display their expertise on topics ranging from colonial life and government to the contemporary rights and responsibilities of citizens in our country. The students present prepared oral statements before a panel of simulated congressional committee members (“judges”). Following the formal presentations, students respond to follow-up questions from the panel. For more information about this program, visit: sch.hcpss.org

Social Studies Advisory Board

The mission of the Social Studies Advisory Board is to:

  • Serve as a community sounding board for issues related to Social Studies education in Howard County.
  • Serve as an advisory group for the adoption of new Social Studies textbooks and curricula.
  • Advocate for the Social Studies program in a wide range of arenas, both public and private.

The purpose of this committee is to offer staff advice from multiple perspectives on social studies decisions and future directions aligned with the Bridge to Excellence Master Plan. Committee members will review curriculum and new textbooks, participate in long range planning and goal setting, provide support for the social studies budget, and receive updates on professional development and student programs.

The Social Studies Advisory Committee meets three times during the school year. Anyone interested in service on this committee should contact Kim Eggborn, Coordinator of Elementary Social Studies or Robert Coffman, Instructional Facilitator of Secondary Social Studies.

Contact: Kim Eggborn, Elementary Social Studies Coordinator

Family and Community Resources

These resources have been created to provide parents with support in Elementary Social Studies instruction.