Social Studies - 4th Grade

Standard I       Standard II       Standard III

Standard 1 Students will understand the relationship between the physical geography in Utah and human life.

Objective 1:
Classify major physical geographic attributes of Utah.

Assessment Assessment Ideas

  • What do you know about Utah?
    Materials: Blank map of Utah
    Complete this activity at the first of the year and at the end of the year. This is a great assessment that shows growth and progress throughout the entire year. Hang on to the first map all year and compare it with the last map at the end of the year. Your students will love seeing how much they’ve learned.

    Hand out a blank map of Utah. Ask the students… "What do you know about Utah? (Minimum of 10 things) Where is your city, your school and your home? Can you locate other cities? What rivers and lakes can you identify?"


  1. Identify Utah’s latitude, longitude, hemisphere, climate, natural resources, landforms, and regions using a variety of geographic tools.
  2. Examine the forces at work in creating the physical geography of Utah (e.g. erosion, seismic activity, climate change).

Objective 2:
Analyze how physical geography affects human life in Utah.

Assessment Assessment Ideas


  1. Identify population concentrations in the state and infer causal relationships between population and physical geography.
  2. Classify the distribution and use of natural resources.
  3. Compare the development of industry and business in Utah as it relates to its physical geography (e.g. mining, oil, agriculture, tourism).
  4. Make inferences about the relationships between the physical geography of Utah and the state’s communication and transportation systems (e.g. trails, roads, telegraph, rail lines).
  5. Examine the interactions between physical geography and public health and safety (e.g. inversions, earthquakes, flooding, fire).
  6. Explain how archaeology informs about the past (e.g. artifacts, ruins, excavations).

Objective 3: Analyze how human actions modify the physical environment.

Assessment Assessment Ideas

  • Environmental Issues
    Have students work in groups of 3 to create a brochure explaining a viewpoint regarding an environmental issue.  (endangered animals, land use, pollution, mass transit, transportation, irrigation, tourism)  A great book to introduce this assignment would be The Lorax by Dr. Seuss.  Work together as a class to create a sample brochure that students can use as a guide for what you expect of them.


  1. Describe how and why humans have changed the physical environment of Utah to meet their needs (e.g. reservoirs, irrigation, climate, transportation systems and cities).
  2. Explain viewpoints regarding environmental issues (e.g. species protection, land use, pollution controls, mass transit, water rights, trust lands).
  3. Outline the development of recreation in Utah since 1900 (e.g. sports, tourism, state, and national parks).
  4. Make data-supported predictions about the future needs of Utahns and the natural resources that will be necessary to meet those needs.
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Standard II Students will understand how Utah’s history has been shaped by many diverse people, events, and ideas.

Objective 1:
Describe the historical and current impact of various cultural groups on Utah.

Assessment Assessment Ideas

  • Cultural Contributions
    Materials: Web Sample (pdf)
    Have students complete a web listing cultural contributions a specific group of people have contributed to the development of Utah (Prehistoric Native Americans, Native Americans, Explorers, Trappers, Pioneers, Various Ethnic Groups) – Ideas that their web might include:  language influences, reasons for coming/settling, food, economics, community, religion, traditions/celebrations, recreation.


  1. Chart the routes that diverse cultural groups took from their places of origin to Utah, using maps and other resources.
  2. Explore points of view about life in Utah from a variety of cultural groups using primary source documents.
  3. Explore cultural influences from various groups found in Utah today (e.g. food, music, religion, dress, festivals).
  4. Identify and describe leaders from various cultures who exemplify outstanding character and life skills.
  5. Explain the importance of preserving cultural prehistory and history, including archaeological sites and other historic sites and artifacts.

Objective 2:
Describe ways that Utah has changed over time.

Assessment Assessment Ideas

  • What Do You Think it was Like?

    Objective: Students will become aware of what life was like during key points of Utah history.

    Class Discussion: What do you think it would be like to be a 10 year old in 20 years? What about when the pioneers were making their way west? Do you think that it was easy, hard?

    Year-long Journal:
    What would life be like for you as a 10 year old during the various phases of History?

    As you study different areas of Utah history, keep a year-long journal from the perspective of a 10 child. i.e.: what did/do/would you wear, eat, family life, chores, type of home you lived in, lifestyle future predictions, fears of the future and present.

    Times to focus on (suggestions):

    • American Indian settlement
    • European exploration
    • Mormon Settlement
    • West ward expansion
    • American Indian Relocation
    • Statehood
    • Development of Industry
    • World wars
    • Olympics in Salt Lake City
    • Terror attack on 9/11


  1. Identify key events and trends in Utah history and their significance (e.g. American Indian settlement, European exploration, Mormon settlement, westward expansion, American Indian relocation, statehood, development of industry, World War I and II).
  2. Compare the experiences faced by today’s immigrants with those faced by immigrants in Utah’s history.

Objective 3:
Investigate the development of the economy in Utah.

Assessment Assessment Ideas

  • Bazaar
    Students will participate in a classroom bazaar.  Each student or pair of student will work to create a good or service that they can sell to their classmates for classroom currency.  At the end of the bazaar have students write about what they noticed:
      • What was the most popular item?
      • Did it run out quickly?
      • Would people pay more than they had to for this particular item?
      • How does this relate to supply and demand?
      • If people have a large amount of money to spend, how can that affect the community?


  1. Explain the relationship between supply and demand.
  2. Describe the role of producers and consumers.
  3. Identify examples of producers and consumers in the local community.
  4. Research the development of Utah’s economy over time.
  5. Identify the factors which bring about economic changes (e.g. natural resource development, new technologies, new market development, globalization, global conflicts, education).
  6. Examine how economic development affects communities (e.g. dams, sports, tourism, power plants, mining, etc.).
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Standard III Students will understand the roles of civic life, politics, and government in the lives of Utah citizens.

Objective 1:
Describe the responsibilities and rights of individuals in a representative government as well as in the school and community.

Assessment Assessment Ideas

  • Service Learning Project
    As a class design/develop and complete a service learning project.  At the end of the project have students write a reflective paragraph about their experience and what they learned from the project.
    Books that may be helpful:
    • Kids Care! 75 Ways to Make a Difference for People, Animals and the Environment, by Rebecca Olien; ISBN: 0-82496-793-3
    • The Complete Guide to Service Learning, by Cathryn Berger Kaye; ISBN: 1-57542-133-X
    • Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth, by LLC Andrews McMeel Publishing & The EarthWorks Group; ISBN: 0-59044-249-X
    Questions to help you get started (taken from 4th grade Interconnections 2001):
    • What issues in your community/school are you concerned with?
    • What are some possible service projects that could address these concerns?
    • What curriculum areas would be involved in participating in this service project?
    • What do students need to know or understand first before you begin the project?
    • How much time will the project take to plan, and carry out?
    • What can you do with students after the project to evaluate the success of the project?


  1. Identify rights of a citizen (e.g. voting, peaceful assembly, freedom of religion).
  2. Identify responsibilities of a citizen (e.g. jury duty, obeying the law, paying taxes).
  3. Determine how and why the rights and responsibilities of various groups have varied over time (e.g. Chinese railroad workers, Greek miners, women, children, Mormons, Japanese-Americans at Topaz, American Indians, African-Americans).
  4. Explain how the influence and power of individuals is affected when they organize into groups.
  5. Describe and model ways that citizens can participate in civic responsibilities (e.g. current issue analysis, recycling, volunteering with civic organizations, letter writing).
  6. Contribute to and practice classroom goals, rules and responsibilities.
  7. Recognize and demonstrate respect for United States and Utah symbols (i.e. Pledge of Allegiance, flag etiquette).

Objective 2:
Analyze the different ways people have organized governments in Utah to meet community needs.

Assessment Assessment Ideas

  • UTopia Project

    Background Information : Ask someone to define community and the definition is broad. It could include the influence of geography, the governing structure, and the cultural aspects. This project asks to students to look at all of these aspects in order to create their own UTopia.


    1. Run copies of the project requirements (pdf)
    2. Assure that students have the proper background knowledge to complete the project. This project requires the application of much of the fourth grade core social studies curriculum. This would be a great cumulating project for fourth grade social studies.
    Group Size: small groups of 3 or 4

    Congratulations! You are now a Community Planner.

    All over the United States and the world planned communities have taken shape. A planned community is a community in which multiple aspects including business locations, recreation, housing, even the community governing structure is carefully planned from the community’s inception. Examples of these communities include Disney’s Celebration, or the town of Highlands Ranch in Colorado.

    Project Rules:

    1. You must place your UTopia in the state of Utah. However you may place your community anywhere you like in the state.
    2. When you begin your area in wilderness. Even if you are choosing the Salt Lake Valley you must pretend that the area is in a predevelopment or natural state. There are no roads and no shopping malls.
    3. There are no people living in the state. However, there are native animals. Keep this is mind as you build your community.
    4. The natural resources and geographical formations must remain consistent with reality. For example, there is no ocean in Utah. However, you may choose to irrigate or alter the landscape as long as you take into consideration environmental concerns and have a reason to justify your decision.
    5. You are building your community in the year 2009. All current technology is accessible to you. You have no budget.


  1. Identify the forms of government found in Utah in different eras (i.e. historic and current American Indian government, State of Deseret, Utah Territory, statehoodera, present).
  2. Compare how these governments addressed community needs.
  3. Compare the roles and responsibilities of state, county, and local officials.
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