Social Science Seminar
Course Standards and Benchmarks

KUSD SS Standard 2: Understands the historical perspective

  • Analyzes the values held by specific people who influenced history and the role their values played in influencing history
  • Analyzes the influences specific ideas and beliefs had on a period of history and specifies how events might have been different in the absence of those ideas and beliefs
  • Analyzes the relationship between time and place as context for historical events
  • Understands that specific historical events can be interpreted differently based on newly uncovered records, information, or perspectives 
  • Understands how the past affects our private lives and society in general
  • Knows how to perceive past events with historical empathy
KUSD SS Standard 3: Understands that the individual is connected to home, school, neighborhood, and community
  • Understands how the diverse elements that contribute to the development and transmissions of culture (e.g., language, literature, the arts, traditions, beliefs, values, behavior patterns) function as an integrated whole
KUSD SS Standard 4: Understands that interactions among learning, inheritance, and physical development affect human behavior
  • Understands that language and tools enable human beings to learn complicated and varied things from others
  • Understands that expectations, moods, and prior experiences of human beings can affect how they interpret new perceptions or ideas
  • Knows that people can produce many associations internally without receiving information from their senses
  • Understands that there are differences among people
KUSD SS Standard 5: Understands conflict, cooperation, and interdependence among individuals, groups, and institutions
  • Understands that conflict between people or groups may arise from competition over ideas, resources, power, and/or status
  • Understands how various institutions (e.g., social, religious, political) develop and change over time and how they further both continuity and change in societies
  • Understands that the decisions of one generation both provide and limit the range of possibilities open to the next generation
  • Understands that mass media, migrations, and conquest affect social change by exposing one culture to another, and that extensive borrowing among cultures has led to the virtual disappearance of some cultures but only modest change in others
KUSD Standard 6: Understands that group and cultural influences contribute to human development, identity, and behavior
  • Understands that cultural beliefs strongly influence the values and behavior of the people who grow up in the culture, often without their being fully aware of it, and that people have different responses to these influences
  • Understands that punishment for unacceptable social behavior depends partly on beliefs about the purposes of punishment and about its effectiveness
  • Understands that social distinctions are a part of every culture, but they take many different forms (e.g., rigid classes based solely on parentage, gradations based on the acquisition of skill, wealth, and/or education)
KUSD SS Standard 7: Understands various meanings of social group, general implications of group membership, and different ways that groups function
  • Understands that while a group may act, hold beliefs, and/or present itself as a cohesive whole, individual members may hold widely varying beliefs, so the behavior of a group may not be predictable from an understanding of each of its members
  • Understands that groups have patterns for preserving and transmitting culture even as they adapt to environmental and/or social change
  • Understands that social groups may have patterns of behavior, values, beliefs, and attitudes that can help or hinder cross-cultural understanding
KUSD SS Standard 13: Understands the beginning of human society 13.1 Understands biological and cultural processes that shaped the earliest human communities   13.2 Understands the processes that contributed to the emergence of agricultural societies around the world
  • Understands the role of agriculture in early settled communities ( e.g., differences between wild and domestic plants and animals; how patterns of settlement were influenced by agricultural practices; how archaeological evidence explains the technology, social organization, and cultural life of settled farming communities in Southwest Asia)
  • Understands the development of early agricultural communities in different regions of the world (e.g., differences between hunter-gatherer, fishing, and agrarian communities; social cultural, and economic characteristics of large agricultural settlements and their unique problems; the development of tropical agriculture in Southeast Asia)
  • Understands the bases for the argument that agricultural life was an advance in human social development
KUSD SS Standard 14: Understands early civilizations and the rise of pastoral peoples, 4000-1000 BCE 14.1 Understands the major characteristics of civilization and the development of civilizations in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley
  • Understands environmental and cultural factors that shaped the development of Mesopotamia, Egypt and the Indus Valley (e.g., demands of the natural environment; development of religious and ethical belief systems and how they legitimized political and social order; different characteristics of urban development; how written records such as the Epic of Gilgamesh reflected and shaped the political, religious, and cultural life of Mesopotamia)
  • Understands the role of economics in shaping the development of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley (e.g., the commercial trade routes between the three civilizations; the economic and cultural significance of the trade routes between Egypt, India, and Mesopotamia in the 3rd millennium)
14.2 Understands how agrarian societies spread and new states emerged in the 3rd and 2nd millennium BCE
  • Understands how environmental conditions influenced civilizations in the Tigris, Nile, and Huang He valleys (e.g., the prevailing wind, current, and flooding patterns)
  • Understands how different agrarian societies developed (e.g., what archaeological evidence suggests about the growth of agricultural societies in West Africa and Southeast Asia, the origins of domesticated rice in Southeast Asia and the routes of its spread throughout the rest of Asia)
  • Understands the impact of various technologies (e.g., the wheel, pottery, the sail, weaving, bronze casting, the plow) upon social organization and the political and economic power of the groups that used them
  • Understands interaction between urban centers of Southwest Asia, Egypt, and the Aegean Basin, and the Eastern Mediterranean coast (e.g., the important urban centers of Southwest Asia, Egypt, and the Aegean basin; the role of cities along the Mediterranean coast as commercial bridges between the trading networks of Southwest Asia, Egypt, and the Mediterranean)
14.3 Understands the political, social, and cultural consequences of population movements and militarization in Eurasia in the second millennium BCE
  • Understands the probable geographic homeland of Indo-European language speakers and the approximate dates of their arrivals in new locations
  • Understands possible causes of the decline and collapse of Indus Valley civilization (e.g., technical inferiority, disease, famine, environment)
KUSD SS Standard 15: Understands classical traditions, major religions, and giant empires, 1000 BCE -300 CE
    15.1 Understands technological and cultural innovation and change from 1000 to 600 BCE
  • Understands the legacy of Greek thought and government (e.g., essential ideas in Plato’s Republic and the influence of this work on modern political thought; the importance of participatory government in Greek city-states for the development of Western political thought and institutions; Athenian ideas and practices related to political freedom, national security, and justice; how the maturing democratic institutions in Greece resulted in greater restrictions on the rights and freedoms of women)
  • Understands different forms and methods of social stratification in Greek city-states such as Athens, Corinth, Sparta, and Thebes
  • Knows significant Greek writings and literature (e.g., the prominent ideas of Greek philosophers; the significance and major works of Greek historians; significant Greek tragedies and comedies, and the values and lessons they transmitted; aspects of daily life in Greece between 600 and 200 BCE as they are represented by playwrights of the time)
  • Understands how conquest influenced cultural life during the Hellenistic era (e.g., the cultural diffusion of Greek, Egyptian, Persian, and Indian art and architecture through assimilation, conquest, migration, and trade; the benefits and costs of Alexander’s conquests on numerous cultures, and the extent to which these conquests brought about cultural mixing and exchange)
15.3 Understands how major religious and large-scale empires arose in the Mediterranean Basin, China, and India from 500 BCE to 300 CE
  • Understands the political legacy of Roman society (e.g., influences of the Roman Constitution on the modern U.S. political system)
  • Understands the spread of Christianity and how it related to other belief systems (e.g., comparisons between Jewish and Christian approaches to monotheism; the extent and consequences of Christian expansion in Asia, Africa, and Europe to the 4th century, and the events and circumstances, including the role of the martyr, that helped this expansion; the influence of other faiths upon the development of Christianity and those teachings that are distinctive to Christianity; the fundamental teachings of Christianity as set forth by Jesus and Paul)
KUSD SS Standard 16: Understands expanding zones of exchange and encounter, 300-1450 CE 16.1 Understands the Imperial crises and their aftermath in various regions 300 to 700 CE
  • Understands how the spread of different religions influenced political and social conditions in various regions (e.g., the Apostle Paul’s views and their influence on the spread of Christianity, the spread of religious Taoism and Buddhism in China, possible causal relationships between the spread of Christianity and Buddhism, and the expansion of international trade, royal patronage of religion and the desires of a growing middle class for 'peace' to enable commercial expansion)
  • Understands Indian contributions to Southeast Asia (e.g., how art and architecture revealed the spread of Indian influence in Southeast Asia, the adaptation of Buddhist-Hindu culture in Southeast Asia, the Indian concept of ideal kingship and its introduction and spread throughout the emerging states of Southeast Asia)
16.6 Understands the rise of centers of civilization in Mesoamerica and Andean South America in the 1st millennium CE
  • Understands the role of art and architecture in Mayan culture (e.g., the Mayan cosmic world and the role of Mayan deities as revealed in art and architecture, the place of archaeological evidence such as the Long Count calendar in the interpretation of Mayan history, the descriptions of social and religious life inferred in Mayan [Bonampak] glyphs and murals)
KUSD Standard 17: Understands global expansions and encounter, 1450 - 1770
    17.5 Understands patterns of crisis and recovery in Afro-Eurasia between 1300 and 1450
  • Understands perceptions of the Black Death from diverse, contemporaneous sources (e.g., from Boccaccio in Europe and Ibn Battuta in Egypt and Syria)
  • Understands immediate and long-term consequences of the plague on European society (e.g., the medical, administrative, and psychological measures taken to cope with the plague in the 14th century; long-term consequences of recurrent pandemics in the 14th and 15th centuries on Europe society)
  • Knows ways in which long-term climatic change contributed to Europe’s economic and social crisis in the 14th century
  • Understands how economic conditions influenced the political and social climate in post- 14th- century Europe (e.g., the impact of climatic change on the European agricultural system and the social and political consequences; how decreasing revenues led to competition between nobles for other sources of income, which increased the occurrence of Civil Wars; the relationship between economic changes and population decline in the 14th and 15th centuries)
17.6 Understands expansion of civilizations in the Americas between 1000 and 1500
  • Understands political, social, and economic features of Aztec society (e.g., the locations and geographic limits of different phases of the Aztec Empire, the role and status of women in Aztec society and how this compares to the Incan and Mayan societies, the complex structure and features of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlán)
  • Knows the technology (e.g., engineering of roads, bridges, irrigation systems) and urbanism of the Incas (in Cuzco), the Aztecs (in Tenochtitlan), and of North American mound-builders
KUSD Standard 18: Understands an age of revolutions, 1750 - 1914
    18.1 Understands how the transoceanic interlinking of all major regions of the world between 1450 and 1600 led to global transformations
  • Understands the consequences of the spread of disease globally and regionally (e.g., which diseases spread through colonization and exploration in the 16th and 17th centuries, how they were spread, and the effects of these diseases on individual societies, world trade, political expansion, and political control; the demographic changes wrought by disease on specific indigenous populations; fundamental plantation systems brought to the New World and how these may be connected to the spread of disease on the continents)
  • Understands the effects that knowledge of the peoples, geography, and natural environments of the Americas had on European religious and intellectual life (e.g., through such ideas as the romanticized "noble savage," systems of human classification, natural history, and cartography)
18.4 Understands the economic, political, and cultural interrelations among peoples of Africa, Europe, and the Americas between 1500 and 1750
  • Understands how slavery was defined by different groups of people (e.g., key differences between the understanding of slavery by Africans and by European settlers in the Americas, the character of the Atlantic slave trade and how it compared to bondage practices in other regions)
  • Understands how the African slave trade influenced the lives of slaves in both Africa and the Western Hemisphere (e.g., how the slave trade affected family life and gender roles in West and Central Africa; the institutions, beliefs, and practices of slaves working on plantations in the Western Hemisphere, and how they preserved their African heritage; the history of open slave rebellion and resistance in the Western Hemisphere; how the English and Spanish subdued slave rebellion in their colonies)
    18.10 Understands the causes and consequences of the agricultural and industrial revolutions from 1700 to 1850
  • Understands reasons why various countries abolished slavery (e.g., evangelical arguments against slavery, and the economic, evangelical, and 'Enlightened' reasons for Britain’s abolition of slavery; why Brazil was the last nation to abolish slavery and the slave trade; the consequences of the Haitian Revolution for the slave trade; the importance of Enlightenment thought, Christian piety, democratic revolutions, slave resistance, and changes in the world economy in bringing about the abolition of the slave trade and emancipation of the slaves in the Americas) 
18.11 Understands patterns of global change in the era of Western military and economic domination from 1850 to 1914
  • Understands the diverse factors (e.g., variations in birth and death rates, infant mortality rates) that contributed to the peaking and then leveling off of European population growth from the 17th to the 20th centuries
KUSD SS Standard 19: Understands the 20th Century 19.6 Understands the promises and paradoxes of the second half of the 20th century
  • Understands the causes and effects of population growth and urbanization (e.g., why the population growth rate is accelerating around the world, and how this growth has affected economic and social development in many countries; the global proliferation of cities and the rise of the megalopolis, as well as the impact of urbanization on family life, standards of living, class relations, and ethnic identity; how the specific factors of population growth, urbanization, warfare, and the global market economy have contributed to the alteration and degradation of the environment)
  • Understands the importance or meaning of the natural environment for societies around the world
KUSD Standard 24: Understands the interaction between humans and the environment
    24.1 Understands the nature and complexity of Earth’s cultural mosaics
  • Knows how cultures influence the characteristics of regions (e.g., level of technological achievement, cultural traditions, social institutions)
  • Understands how communication and transportation technologies contribute to cultural convergence or divergence (e.g., convergence created by electronic media, computers and jet aircraft; divergence created by technologies used to reinforce nationalistic or ethnic elitism or cultural separateness and independence)
    24.2 Understands how human actions modify the physical environment
  • Understands the role of humans in decreasing the diversity of flora and fauna in a region (e.g., the impact of acid rain on rivers and forests in southern Ontario, the effects of toxic dumping on ocean ecosystems, the effects of over fishing along the coast of northeastern North America or the Philippine archipelago)
  • Understand the global impacts of human changes in the physical environment (e.g., increases in runoff and sediment, tropical soil degradation, habitat destruction, air pollution; alterations in the hydrologic cycle; increases in world temperatures; groundwater reduction)
    24.3 Understands how physical systems affect human systems
  • Knows changes in the physical environment that have reduced the capacity of the environment to support human activity (e.g., the drought-plagued Sahel; the depleted rain forests of central Africa; the Great Plains Dust Bowl; the impact of the economic exploitation of Siberia’s resources on a fragile sub-Arctic environment)
  • Knows factors that affect people’s attitudes, perceptions and responses toward natural hazards (e.g., religious beliefs, socioeconomic status, previous experiences)
    24.4 Understands the changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution and importance of resources
  • Understands the relationships between resources and exploration
  • Understands programs and positions related to the use of resources on a local to global scale
  • Understands the impact of policy decisions regarding the use of resources in different regions of the world
KUSD Standard 25: Understands the movement of people, goods and ideas
    25.1 Understands the nature, distribution and migration of human populations on Earth’s surface
  • Understands population issues (e.g., the ongoing policies to limit population growth; economic considerations such as a country’s need for more or fewer workers)
    25.3 Understands the patterns of human settlement and their causes
  • Understands the physical and human impact of emerging urban forms in the present-day world (e.g., the rise of megalopoli, edge cities and metropolitan corridors; increasing numbers of ethnic enclaves in urban areas and the development of legislation to protect the rights of ethnic and racial minorities; improved light-rail systems within cities providing ease of access to ex-urban areas)
25.4 Understands the forces of cooperation and conflict that shape the divisions of Earth’s surface
  • Understands how cooperation and/or conflict can lead to the allocation of control of Earth’s surface
  • Knows the causes of boundary conflicts and internal disputes between culture groups
KUSD Standard 31: Understands the relationship of the United States to other nations and to world affairs 31.2 Understands the impact of significant political and nonpolitical developments on the United States and other nations
  • Understands the impact of major demographic trends on the United States (e.g., population growth, increase in immigration and refugees)
KUSD Standard 32: Understands that scarcity of productive resources requires choices 
  • Understands that scarcity of resources necessitates choice at both the personal and the societal levels
  • Knows that all decisions involve opportunity costs and that effective economic decision making involves weighing the costs and benefits associated with alternative choices
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