Grade 4 Social Studies Content Standards


Engage in Democratic Processes 

Analyze and Address Authentic Civic Issues 

Acquire, Apply, and Evaluate Evidence 

Read Critically and Interpret Informational Sources 

Engage in Evidence-

Based Writing 

4th Grade Content Standards

4.1 The student will describe the features of self-government and the role of citizens of the United States. 


4.1.1   Describe the concepts of democracy and representative government, including the rule of law, equality, the common good, and individual rights.

A.  Explain the concept of civic responsibilities, including respect for the law, the necessity for compromise, civic participation, and public service.

B.  Understand the necessity of respect for diversity of the individual and diversity of groups comprising American society.

4.1.2   Compare powers exercised by the local, state, and national levels of governments, recognizing tribal sovereignty as a tribal nation’s inherent right to self-govern.

4.1.3   Summarize the role of citizens as responsible stewards of natural resources and the environment.

A.  Describe the benefits of participation in recycling and anti-littering activities.

B.  Identify present-day examples to conserve natural resources and the development of alternative, sustainable energy sources.

4.2 The student will examine the physical geography and environments of the United States.  


4.2.1   Use maps and other geographic representations (such as globes and graphs), tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective.

A.  Use and describe various elements of maps, including keys/legends, scale, cardinal, and intermediate directions.

B.  Interpret aerial photographs, satellite images and thematic maps to locate and identify physical and human features of the United States and North America.

C.  Use latitude and longitude to identify the location of physical and human features of the United States.

4.2.2   Identify major physical features in the United States and analyze how physical processes shape places.

A.  Identify and describe the physical characteristics of places, including the major landforms, bodies of water, vegetation and climates in the United States.

B.  Describe the location and characteristics of the major ecosystems in the United States.

4.2.3   Explain how people create regions using common geographic characteristics. 

A.  Identify and describe the major physical, cultural, and economic regions of the United States, comparing one’s own region to the other regions. 

B.  Explain how and why regions change over time by comparing regions in the past with life in the same regions in the present. 

4.2.4   Describe how physical processes of the Earth’s surface impact humans and their environment. 

A.  Identify and describe the different climates in the United States using maps, globes, and graphs.

B.  Explain how climate and natural processes including floods, wind, and storms impact how we live. 

4.2.5   Identify and locate on a political map the fifty states and the United States capitol. 

4.3 The student will analyze the human characteristics of the United States and how geography impacts historic events. 


4.3.1   Identify and describe early settlement patterns of regions in the United States.

A.  Draw conclusions from maps to show how climate, vegetation, natural resources, and historic events affect the location and growth of settlements.

B.  Identify major American Indian groups and their ways of life in each region, including economic activities, customs, and viewpoints on land usage and ownership.

C.  Summarize the reasons for key expeditions of North America by Spain, France, and England and their impact on the development of each region.

D.  Identify push and pull factors of human migration.

E.  Evaluate the impact of the Columbian Exchange on American Indian groups, African slaves and European settlers, including agriculture, trade, culture, military alliances, control of territory, and the sudden and significant decline of indigenous peoples.

4.3.2   Examine the characteristics of culture, including the distribution and complexity of the regions of the United States. 

A.  Identify the characteristics of culture (language, customs, beliefs, food, clothing, shelter) and compare the cultural characteristics of different regions of the United States.

B.  Explain how the characteristics of culture affect the ways in which people live.

4.4 The student will identify basic economic activities of the United States. 


4.4.1   Analyze how humans adapt to and modify their environments in order to survive and grow.

A.  Explain how humans depend upon the physical environment for food, shelter, and economic  activities.               

B.  Distinguish between renewable and nonrenewable resources.

C.  Explain how physical environments can provide both opportunities and limitations for human activity.

4.4.2   Describe the patterns and networks of economic interdependence among regions of the United  States.

A.  Identify and locate on a map the major cities of the United States, including their relative location to natural resources and transportation routes.

B.  Identify the major economic activities of each region of the United States by comparing how 

people satisfy their basic needs through the production of goods and services.    

C.  Describe the relative location of natural resources, such as fossil fuels, minerals and soils, and their relationship to each region’s major economic activities, including agriculture, manufacturing, transportation, energy, and services.

4.4.3    Explain how economic activities can threaten the physical environment.           
            A. identify ways in which humans can change ecosystems, such as clearing forests, draining wetlands, and diverting waterways,
                 by examining present-day
 issues related to the use of resources.           
            B. Identify examples of changes in land use in local communities and how the physical environment can be stressed by human activities.