In this part of the session, you will experience an instructionally sound and highly literate social studies classroom exemplar. Within this experience, you will understand how to integrate the five strands of Social Studies, how to use a conceptual focus in instruction, how to actively engage all students, and how to promote inquiry based learning. In accomplishing the objectives of this part of the session, you will work individually, as well as in a small and whole group.

The learning objectives associated with this part of the session are:
1. What resources are available to assist with the implementation of the NCSCoS.

2. What it means to be literate in Social Studies.
3. How to help my students become more competent in disciplinary literacy skills.
4. How to use data to meet the instructional needs of all students.
5. How to effectively embed technology into instructional planning.
7. How to apply the North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards in the Social Studies classroom.

Aligned North Carolina Professional Teaching Standards
Standard I - Teachers demonstrate leadership
Standard II - Teachers establish a respectful environment for a diverse population of students.
Standard III - Teachers know the content they teach.
Standard IV - Teachers facilitate learning for their students.
Standards V - Teachers reflect on their practice.

Learning Targets
After this part of the session, participants will be able to do the following statements:
  • I can understand how to assess a learning experience through formative assessment and performance tasks.
  • I can envision the five strands of Social Studies and the Common Core State Literacy Standards in History/Social Studies in a learning experience.
  • I can collaborate as a group and whole class to engage in a highly literate Social Studies learning experience.

Part One

Welcome to 3rd Grade!

Unit Title: My Community, My Voice: People Making A Difference

Lesson: Effective Decision-Making

Learning Experience: The Social Scientist Experience
I. Opening Activity (15 minutes)
As a table group, answer the following question: If you were given the opportunity to move to any place in the world, what information would you need to help you make your decision? Record your thoughts on chart paper.

II. The Learning Experience (30 minutes)

Guiding Questions:
  • What questions do social scientists ask to gather data about the world?
  • What are the primary tools of a social scientist?
  • How does using the lens of a social scientist help you become a more effective citizen?


  • Each table represents a different social scientist. Your first task is to engage in a learning experience in order to better understand the work of a geographer, economist, historian, cultural anthropologist, or a government official.
  • Each person at your table should find the learning experience below that represents your assigned social scientist and answer the provided guiding questions.
  • Once each of you have answered the guiding questions, you will meet with the larger community of social scientists to discuss the questions and material. You will use this experience to assist you with completing a performance task.

Using the Document Analysis questions, view the documents and respond to the questions. Then, answer the guiding questions above.

Click on your assigned social scientist to begin!

The Historian

The Economist

The Geographer

The Cultural Anthropologist

The Political Scientist

Part Two

I. Share Out (10 minutes) –

  • As a group, share your answers to the guiding questions and reach a consensus on what you in your particular social scientist learned from the documents. Be prepared to share one thing you learned with someone not in your current group.

  • Using the numbered card that you were given, rotate to the group with your assigned number. There should be at least one historian, one political scientist, one economist, one cultural anthropologist, and one geographer in each group.

  • Each member of the mixed group will have one minute to share what they learned.

You will remain in these groups for the next stage of the lesson! It’s time to collaborate as a social scientist team and work on a performance challenge that needs all of you!

II. Performance Task Example (30 minutes) -

As a team of social scientists, you have been asked to assist the principal and the PTA with making a very important decision. Download the performance task document here to discover your performance challenge. Each team member is responsible for lending their expertise to rise to the challenge!

Part Three

I. Disciplinary Literacy and Common Core ELA (25 Minutes)

We began the day by defining social studies and its purpose. We then spent some time considering the key components of effective social studies teaching and learning, the implementation of which may require us to change how we approach the field. What are those key components and changes?

To implement those changes, we really need to dig beyond the definition of social studies and explore a deeper goal: helping our students (and teachers!) become literate in the social studies! So, when you hear the term disciplinary literacy, what come to mind?

Click here and let’s explore disciplinary literacy!

Welcome Back! Now that we have explored disciplinary literacy, take a few minutes and discuss the following question in your small group or team:

"How does the learning experience and sample performance task illustrate disciplinary literacy in your strand?"
We will stand and share our thoughts from each group.

Common Core State Standards for English/Language Arts

As a group, use the graphic organizer provided here to illustrate where you see reading, writing, speaking, and listening in this learning experience.


Digital tools used during the course of this presentation have been helpful to some educators across the state. However, due to the rapidly changing digital environment, NCDPI does not represent nor endorse that these tools are the exclusive digital tools for the purposes outlined during the presentation.

------------------------------------------------------------------------Return to Day 1 Agenda