K–12 teaching and learning · from the UNC School of Education

  1. Introduction
    1. Preamble
    2. Meeting the needs of all students in the 21st century
  2. Grades K–8
    1. Kindergarten
    2. Grade 1
    3. Grade 2
    4. Grade 3
    5. Grade 4
    6. Grade 5
    7. Grade 6
    8. Grade 7
    9. Grade 8
  3. High School Courses
    1. World History
    2. United States History I
    3. United States History II
    4. Civics and Economics
  4. Electives
    1. The Cold War
    2. Twentieth Century Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
    3. Turning Points in American History
    4. Psychology
    5. Sociology
    6. 21st Century Global Geography
    7. World Humanities
    8. American Humanities

Continuing the history, geography, civics and government, economics and culture strands from previous grades, fifth grade expectations will address change and continuity in United States history. Students begin the study of United States history with American Indian groups indigenous to the United States before the arrival of European settlers and conclude with the Civil War and Reconstruction period. Students will focus their study on the same time period as in fourth grade, but will transfer their understanding from the state to the national level. Learned concepts will be applied within the context of American history. Teachers are encouraged to guide students in drawing parallels between contemporary issues and their historical origins. Using primary and secondary sources, fifth grade students will compare founding documents of the United States with those of North Carolina such as the United States Constitution and the North Carolina Constitution. Students will learn about the “Founding Fathers” who envisioned the path for our democratic republic, while also exploring the contributions of diverse groups to the building of our nation. Speeches that laid the foundation of American ideals and institutions will be studied along with the examination of everyday life during the Pre-Colonial period through Reconstruction. Students expand their knowledge of human systems as they understand push/ pull factors of migration and immigration and their influence on culture in the United States. Students deepen their understanding of humanenvironment interactions by assessing positive and negative effects of human activities on the physical environment of the United States. Building on their knowledge of economic principles, students focus on economic growth in the United States and develop an understanding of production, specialization, and the division of labor. Students begin to apply economic principles to their own lives as they learn to make responsible financial choices in spending and saving.


  1. 5.H.1 Analyze the chronology of key events in the United States.
    1. 5.H.1.1 Evaluate the relationships between European explorers (French, Spanish and English) and American Indian groups, based on accuracy of historical information (beliefs, fears and leadership).
    2. 5.H.1.2 Summarize the political, economic and social aspects of colonial life in the thirteen colonies.
    3. 5.H.1.3 Analyze the impact of major conflicts, battles and wars on the development of our nation through Reconstruction.
  2. 5.H.2 Understand the role of prominent figures in shaping the United States.
    1. 5.H.2.1 Summarize the contributions of the “Founding Fathers” to the development of our country.
    2. 5.H.2.2 Explain how key historical figures have exemplified values and principles of American democracy.
    3. 5.H.2.3 Compare the changing roles of women and minorities on American society from Pre-Colonial through Reconstruction.

Geography and Environmental Literacy

  1. 5.G.1 Understand how human activity has and continues to shape the United States.
    1. 5.G.1.1 Explain the impact of the physical environment on early settlements in the New World.
    2. 5.G.1.2 Explain the positive and negative effects of human activity on the physical environment of the United States, past and present.
    3. 5.G.1.3 Exemplify how technological advances (communication, transportation and agriculture) have allowed people to overcome geographic limitations.
    4. 5.G.1.4 Exemplify migration within or immigration to the United States in order to identify push and pull factors (why people left/why people came).

Economics and Financial Literacy

  1. 5.E.1 Understand how a market economy impacts life in the United States.
    1. 5.E.1.1 Summarize the role of international trade between the United States and other countries through Reconstruction.
    2. 5.E.1.2 Explain the impact of production, specialization, technology and division of labor on the economic growth of the United States.
  2. 5.E.2 Understand that personal choices result in benefits or consequences.
    1. 5.E.2.1 Explain the importance of developing a basic budget for spending and saving.
    2. 5.E.2.2 Evaluate the costs and benefits of spending, borrowing and saving.

Civics and Governance

  1. 5.C&G.1 Understand the development, structure and function of government in the United States.
    1. 5.C&G.1.1 Explain how ideas of various governments influenced the development of the United States government (Roman, Greek, Iroquois, European and British).
    2. 5.C&G.1.2 Summarize the organizational structures and powers of the United States government (legislative, judicial and executive branches of government).
    3. 5.C&G.1.3 Analyze historical documents that shaped the foundation of the United States government.
  2. 5.C&G.2 Analyze life in a democratic republic through rights and responsibilities of citizens.
    1. 5.C&G.2.1 Understand the values and principles of a democratic republic.
    2. 5.C&G.2.2 Analyze the rights and responsibilities of United States citizens in relation to the concept of “common good” according to the United States Constitution (Bill of Rights).
    3. 5.C&G.2.3 Exemplify ways in which the rights, responsibilities and privileges of citizens are protected under the United States Constitution.
    4. 5.C&G.2.4 Explain why civic participation is important in the United States.


  1. 5.C.1 Understand how increased diversity resulted from migration, settlement patterns and economic development in the United States.
    1. 5.C.1.1 Analyze the change in leadership, cultures and everyday life of American Indian groups before and after European exploration.
    2. 5.C.1.2 Exemplify how the interactions of various groups have resulted in borrowing and sharing of traditions and technology.
    3. 5.C.1.3 Explain how the movement of goods, ideas and various cultural groups influenced the development of regions in the United States.
    4. 5.C.1.4 Understand how cultural narratives (legends, songs, ballads, games, folk tales and art forms) reflect the lifestyles, beliefs and struggles of diverse ethnic groups.