fourth grade standards - social studies

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Fourth Grade Standards - Social Studies

These are from the Washington State Learning Standards


The student understands and applies knowledge of government, law, politics, and the nation’s fundamental documents to make decisions about local, national, and international issues and to demonstrate thoughtful, participatory citizenship.

  • (1.1) Understands key ideals and principles of the United States, including those in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and other fundamental documents.
    • (1.1.1) Understands the key ideal of rights set forth in Article I of the Washington State Constitution.
    • (1.1.2) Evaluates the effectiveness of a law or policy by explaining how it promotes ideals.
  • (1.2) Understands the purposes, organization, and function of governments, laws, and political systems.
    • (1.2.1) Understands that governments are organized into local, state, tribal, and national levels.
    • (1.2.2) Understands how and why state and tribal governments make, interpret, carry out policies, rules, and laws.
  • (1.4) Understands civic involvement.
    • (1.4.1) Understands that civic participation involves being informed about public issues and voting in elections.


The student applies understanding of economic concepts and systems to analyze decision making and the interactions between individuals, households, businesses, governments, and societies.

  • (2.1) Understands that people have to make choices between wants and needs and evaluate the outcomes of those choices.
    • (2.1.1) Understands and analyzes the costs and benefits of people’s decisions to move and relocate to meet their needs and wants.
  • (2.2) Understands how economic systems function.
    • (2.2.1) Understands the basic elements of Washington State’s economic system, including agriculture, businesses, industry, natural resources, and labor.
    • (2.2.2) Understands that the economy in Washington State relies on trade with Pacific Rim countries.
  • (2.3) Understands the government’s role in the economy.
    • (2.3.1) Understands how geography, natural resources, climate, and available labor contribute to the sustainability of the economy of regions in Washington State. 


The student uses a spatial perspective to make reasoned decisions by applying the concepts of location, region, and movement and demonstrating knowledge of how geographic features and human cultures impact environments. 

  • (3.1) Understands the physical characteristics, cultural characteristics, and location of places, regions, and spatial patterns on the Earth’s surface.
    • (3.1.1) Constructs and uses maps to explain the movement of people.
    • (3.1.2) Understands the physical, political, and cultural characteristics of places, regions, and people in the Pacific Northwest, including the difference between cities, states, and countries.
  • (3.2) Understands human interaction with the environment.
    • (3.2.3) Understands that the geographic features of the Pacific Northwest have influenced the movement of people.
  • (3.3) Understands the geographic context of global issues. 
    • (3.3.1) Explains that learning about the geography of Washington State helps us understand global trade.


The student understands and applies knowledge of historical thinking, chronology, eras, turning points, major ideas, individuals, and themes of local, Washington State, tribal, United States, and world history in order to evaluate how history shapes the present and future. 

  • (4.1) Understands historical chronology. 
    • (4.1.1) Understands and creates timelines to show how historical events are organized into time periods and eras.
    • (4.1.2) Understands how the following themes and developments help to define eras in Washington State history from time immemorial to 1889: 
      • Growth of northwest coastal and plateau tribes prior to treaties (time immemorial to 1854). 
      • Maritime and overland exploration, encounter, and trade (1774—1849). 
      • Immigration and settlement (1811—1889). 
      • Territory and treaty-making (1854—1889). 
  • (4.2) Understands and analyzes causal factors that have shaped major events in history.
    • (4.2.1) Understands and analyzes how individuals caused change in Washington State history.
  • (4.3) Understands that there are multiple perspectives and interpretations of historical events.
    • (4.3.1) Understands that there are multiple perspectives regarding the interpretation of historical events and creates an historical account using multiple sources.
  • (4.4) Uses history to understand the present and plan for the future.
    • (4.4.1) Understands that significant historical events in Washington State have implications for current decisions.

Social Studies Skills

The student understands and applies reasoning skills to conduct research, deliberate, and form and evaluate positions through the processes of reading, writing, and communicating.

  • (5.1) Uses critical reasoning skills to analyze and evaluate positions.
    • (5.1.1) Understands the concepts used in documents and sources.
    • (5.1.2) Evaluates the accuracy of primary and secondary sources.
  • (5.2) Uses inquiry-based research.
    • (5.2.1) Creates and uses a research question to conduct research on an issue or event.
    • (5.2.2) Understands the main ideas from an artifact, primary source, or secondary source describing an issue or event.
  • (5.4) Creates a product that uses social studies content to support a thesis and presents the product in an appropriate manner to a meaningful audience.
    • (5.4.1) Draws clear, well-reasoned conclusions, and provides explanations that are supported by artifacts and/or primary sources in a paper or presentation.
    • (5.4.2) Prepares a list of resources, including the title, author, type of source, date published, and publisher for each source.