Inquiry Paves the Path to Social Studies

Inquiry Paves the Path to Social Studies
Posted on 09/26/2019
Ms. Streips is a 7th grade social studies teacherNew model has students digging deeper to develop understanding

The new social studies curriculum is intended to weave inquiry and literacy skills with course content in civics, geography, economics and history in a way that engages students to think critically and consider multiple perspectives.

Four teachers, Ronit Shapiro, Technology Coach; David Krauter, third-grade teacher; Laura Scott, fourth-grade teacher, and Katrina Streips, seventh-grade social studies teacher, joined Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kris Raitzer to discuss the social studies curriculum changes being implemented this year at the Board of Education meeting. Click to view their slide presentation.

“We want students to think about age-appropriate, compelling questions starting in kindergarten,” Mrs. Shapiro said. “Learning content in context and applying to their lives with authentic learning tasks empower learners to be knowledgeable, thoughtful, and involved citizens, which is our ultimate goal of teaching social studies.”

A curriculum committee that included teachers from every grade level and school along with district administrators worked closely with Dr. Kathy Swan, professor at the University of Kentucky and project director and lead writer of the College, Career and Civic Education (C3) Framework, a model adopted by the state for the Illinois Learning Standards.

Inquiry-based learning will prompt students to dig deeper in their thinking, develop critical analysis skills, consider multiple perspectives, improve literacy skills and develop persuasive writing skills.

Inquiry is an approach to learning that allows students to:
· Deeply engage with interesting topics through focused study and in-depth questioning,
· Thoroughly examine the subsets of circumstances that led to a problem or event in history, and
· Contemplate answers to compelling questions, such as Does it take a tragedy to make a change?, when studying the Triangle factory fire.

As part of the implementation, the district adopted new content resources, including an updated textbook for K-5 and an online resource, Discovery Education, for grades 6-8, which is rich with video and other multimedia supports.
Ms. Streips is a 7th grade social studies teacher
Ms. Streips, a 7th grade social studies teacher, created a display of the many questions students will tackle this year. The new inquiry-based curriculum is supported with new classroom resources and a multi-media tech book by Discovery Learning for grades 6-8.