The specific social studies topics studied in 1st grade classrooms typically vary according to state standards. Different states may focus on their own history, geography, and communities, as well as slightly vary the focus of their learning. However, in most 1st grade classrooms, students begin to explore their communities and the world around them more deeply, enhancing their research skills, general knowledge of the world around them, and ability to compare and contrast different groups. This is done in a variety of ways through group projects, group research, read-alouds, class trips, and exploratory activities. In addition, 1st graders continue to have class meetings where they learn about the calendar and discuss class events. In The U.S., American holidays are studied, as well.
In order to build social studies skills, your 1st grader:
- Learns and talks about his own family, different types of families in the present and in history, and his community.
- Uses and studies maps to locate his own community as well as others.
- Develops communication and conversation skills.
- Creates both group and individual work to represent what he has learned, using writing, illustrations, and graphic organizers such as Venn diagrams and T-charts.
- Begins to explore the role of technology and media.
- Gains an understanding of the importance of rules, citizenship, and democracy in the classroom and in his community.
- Learns about American holidays and important events and days.
Social Studies Activities
- Make the Rules Together: Talk about the rules in your house and write them down together. Talk about why you have the rules and ask your child if she would like to change, add, or make new rules.
- Make a Community Collage: Ask relatives or friends who live in different places to send you newspapers, magazines, or pictures of their communities. Talk with your child about the similarities and differences with your own community and make a poster of the pictures that compares the two and shows what’s different and what's the same. Use a chart such as a T-chart or Venn diagram.
- Find a Pen-Pal: If you know of another child who lives somewhere else, coordinate with a parent to set your children up as pen-pals, using technology, when possible. Your child can use email, letters, pictures, and video calling to communicate—all under your supervision. Have the children send pictures of their communities to each other.
- Make a Map of People You Know: Take either an international or national map and mark the places where other family members or friends live. Mark the places with a picture of the person or write their names. Talk about where each person lives and the distance between the different places.