Essential Questions for Third Grade Social Studies

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Essential questions are the crux of what children should know in a particular academic field. So for third grade social studies, essential questions would be developed from a state's social studies standards, which vary by state. Each state has standards for each grade level and subject, making it difficult to list essential questions that would cover all third graders. However, there are a few generalizations that fit most state standards.

Geography

    1. How did geography influence the student's community?
    2. How does geography influence community development?
    3. Why do some communities influence their environment (such as putting up dams) and others adapt their communities to fit the environment?
    4. How does culture influence local geography?
    5. What are the major geographical features of our world?

Culture

    1. What factors influence a culture over time?
    2. What are the important aspects of a different culture? (different states
      choose different cultures for third graders to study)
    3. How did this culture interact with its environment?
    4. How does this culture interact with the world?
    5. How do people of different cultural backgrounds and ways of life find ways to work together?
    6. What are the similarities and differences between American and Native American culture?

Government

    1. What is government?
    2. Why do people have governments?
    3. What are the branches of our government?
    4. What is civic responsibility?
    5. What is the difference between personal and community goals?
    6. Why is community service important?

History

    1. What influence did my community have on events that shaped our country, such as the Revolutionary War or the Civil War?
    2. How have various cultural groups each influenced the history of the world?
    3. How did my ancestors come to this country?

Map Skills

    1. What is the equator and prime meridian and where are they on a map?
    2. Where are longitude and latitude lines?
    3. Where is my state and country on a world map?
    4. How do I locate geographical features on a map?

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