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Social Studies - 3rd Grade

Enduring Understanding: B.F. Skinner said, "Education is what survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten." This statement explains enduring understandings. In Understanding by Design, by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, enduring understandings are defined as "specific inferences, based on big ideas, that have lasting value beyond the classroom." These are typically written as full-sentence statements about what, specifically, your students will understand and be able to use later on in life, even when the small details of what they learned have been forgotten.

Enduring understandings are also transferable in new situations. Wiggins and McTighe explain that, because enduring understandings are often abstract, "they require uncoverage through sustained inquiry rather than one-shot coverage. The student must come to understand or be helped to grasp the idea, as a result of work. If teachers treat an understanding like a fact, the student is unlikely to get it."

Essential Question: An essential question is "a question that lies at the heart of a subject or a curriculum (as opposed to being either trivial or leading) and promotes inquiry and uncoverage of a subject. Essential questions thus do not yield a single straightforward answer (as a leading question does) but produces different plausible responses, about which thoughtful and knowledgeable people may disagree." An essential question can be either overarching or topical (unit-specific) in scope.
(Source: Understanding by Design, by Grant P. Wiggins and Jay McTighe; ISBN: 416600353.)

Standard I       Standard II       Standard III

Standard 1 Students will understand how geography influences community location and development.
Essential Questions Essential Questions
  • Why do geographic features influence where and how a community develops?

Objective 1:
Determine the relationships between human settlement and geography.

Essential Questions Essential Questions

  • How can you determine the relationships between human settlement and geography?

Indicators:

  1. Identify the geographic features common to areas where human settlements exist.
  2. Use map features to make logical inferences and describe relationships between human settlement and physical geography (e.g. population density in relation to latitude, cities’ proximity to water, utilization of natural resources).
  3. Compare the shapes and purposes of natural and human-made boundaries of cities, counties and states.

Objective 2:
Describe how various communities have adapted to existing environments and how other communities have modified the environment.

Essential Questions Essential Questions

  • Explain why various communities have adapted to existing environments and why other communities have modified the environment.

Indicators:

  1. Describe the major world ecosystems (i.e. desert, plain, tropic, tundra, grassland, mountain, forest, wetland).
  2. Identify important natural resources of world ecosystems.
  3. Describe how communities have modified the environment to accommodate their needs (e.g. logging, storing water, building transportation systems).
  4. Investigate ways different communities have adapted into an ecosystem.

Objective 3:
Analyze ways cultures use, maintain, and preserve the physical environment.

Essential Questions Essential Questions

  • How does a culture influence the physical environment around them?

Indicators:

  1. Identify ways people use the physical environment (e.g. agriculture, recreation, energy, industry).
  2. Compare changes in the availability and use of natural resources over time.
  3. Describe ways to conserve and protect natural resources (e.g. reduce, reuse, recycle).
  4. Compare perspectives of various communities toward the natural environment.
  5. Make inferences about the positive and negative impacts of human-caused change to the physical environment.
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Standard II Students will understand cultural factors that shape a community.

Essential Questions Essential Questions

  • How do cultural factors influence the shape of a community?

Objective 1:
Evaluate key factors that determine how a community develops.

Essential Questions Essential Questions

  • What is a community?  How do communities develop?

Indicators:

  1. Identify the elements of culture (e.g. language, religion, customs, artistic expression, systems of exchange).
  2. Describe how stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture.
  3. Compare elements of the local community with communities from different parts of the world (e.g. industry, economic specialization )
  4. Identify and explain the interrelationship of the environment (e.g. location, natural resources, climate) and community development (e.g. food, shelter, clothing, industries, markets, recreation, artistic creations).
  5. Examine changes in communities that can or have occurred when two or more cultures interact.
  6. Explain changes within communities caused by human inventions (e.g. steel plow, internal combustion engine, television, computer).

Objective 2:
Explain how selected indigenous cultures of the Americas have changed over time.

Essential Questions Essential Questions

  • Why do cultures change over time?

Indicators:

  1. Describe and compare early indigenous people of the Americas (e.g. Eastern Woodlands, Plains, Great Basin, Southwestern, Arctic, Incan, Aztec, Mayan).
  2. Analyze how these cultures changed with the arrival of people from Europe, and how the cultures of the Europeans changed.
  3. Identify how indigenous people maintain cultural traditions today.
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Standard III Students will understand the principles of civic responsibility in classroom, community, and country.

Essential Questions Essential Questions

  • What can you as students do to understand and promote the principles of civic responsibility in classroom, community, and country?

Objective 1:
Describe the rights and responsibilities inherent in being a contributing member of a community.

Essential Questions Essential Questions

  • How does community service enrich your life?

Indicators:

  1. Identify how these rights and responsibilities are reflected in the patriotic symbols and traditions of the United States (i.e. Pledge of Allegiance, flag etiquette).
  2. List the responsibilities community members have to one another.
  3. Identify why these responsibilities are important for a functioning community (e.g. voting, jury duty, taxpaying, obedience to laws).

Objective 2:
Identify ways community needs are met by government.

Essential Questions Essential Questions

  • How are personal and community needs the same/different?

Indicators:

  1. Differentiate between personal and community needs.
  2. Identify roles of representative government (e.g. make laws, maintain order, levy taxes, provide public services).
  3. Research community needs and the role government serves in meeting those needs.

Objective 3:
Apply principles of civic responsibility.

Essential Questions Essential Questions

  • What factors influence a person’s viewpoints, how can you effectively cooperate with diverse ideas?

Indicators:

  1. Engage in meaningful dialogue about the community and current events within the classroom, school, and local community.
  2. Identify and consider the diverse viewpoints of the people who comprise a community.
  3. Demonstrate respect for the opinions, backgrounds, and cultures of others.
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