Social Studies: 4th Grade

Learn the social studies topics covered in 4th Grade and help your child with activities you both can do at home.
By Shira Ackerman, MA



Social Studies: 4th Grade

Social studies in the 4th grade encourages students to deepen their reading, writing, and analytical skills, as well as expand knowledge and appreciation of their own local and American history. Students compare different perspectives using both primary and secondary texts. They then write both informative pieces and essays. Fourth graders also use technology to research both past and current events. In all of their work, 4th graders are taught to analyze the reasons why things occur and form strong supported opinions and ideas, which encourages them to think more deeply about the world. Since most social studies curricula are specific to a location, consult your child’s teacher or your state’s social studies standards to find out which specific communities and aspects of the community will be covered. While many curricula differ according to state, many 4th grade classes study the founding and early years of American society and government.

In order to build social studies skills, your 4th grader:

  • Studies and uses maps to gain a deeper understanding of geography and how geography affects a community.
  • Researches, organizes, and presents his research on various topics, events, and figures.
  • Discusses topics focusing on explaining his opinion using specific details, facts, and reasons to support his opinion.
  • Writes essays that state an opinion; includes supporting facts for that opinion.
  • Reads primary and secondary sources about different events, people, and topics.
  • Uses technology to research both past and current events and topics. 
  • Deepens his understanding of government and civic responsibility.
  • Deepens his understanding of basic economic principles and how one’s community affects his or her economy and business.
  • Uses and creates multiple types of sources including art, film, poetry and fiction to learn and show what he has learned about historical events and social studies topics.
  • Understands different concepts, such as cause and effect, in order to explain and learn why things happen or happened.
  • Compares different events and retellings of the same event.
  • Discusses American holidays and important days and events as they approach.

Social Studies Activities

  • Stay Current: Encourage your child to read news magazines for kids, such as Scholastic Kids. Ask and talk to her about current events. Encourage her to share her opinion and ideas about the events.
  • Imagine That: Help your child see things from different perspectives. Read or learn about a moment, adult, or child in history and talk about how your child would feel if he were in their shoes. Your child can even dress up as the figure or a person living during that time and act out how he felt.
  • Compare Perspectives: Your child can interview a person who lived during an important historical or current event. Then read about the moment in a secondary source and compare the two perspectives.
  • Watch, Read, and Listen: Compare different sources (books, movies, art, songs, poems) about an event and talk about how they treat one topic or moment differently.
  • Visit Historical Places: Visit both local and national historical landmarks.  Local landmarks are particularly important, as they will help your child relate to events that occurred near to her own home. 
Age 9