Office of Elementary Social Studies

Grade 4 Social Studies: Our Country’s Heritage: Beginnings

Social studies instruction is intended to provide the knowledge of content and appropriate skills so students can become active, involved citizens of the community. In Grade 4 Social Studies, students study the following units. 

Unit 1: Geography and Economics in the United States

In Unit 1, students learn how the geography of a place affects the lives of people who live there. In social studies, students will examine how geographic characteristics, such as natural resources, access to transportation networks, climate, and landforms, impact the ways that people live, work, and play. They will develop skills for interpreting a variety of maps as they analyze the regions of Maryland and of the United States.

Students will research a state to determine how its physical and human characteristics impact the lives of citizens. They will use a case study to determine the impact of geographic characteristics on the economy. Students will draw conclusions about the impact that humans have on the environment by examining the effect of pollution on the Chesapeake Bay.

Unit 2: The Earliest Americans

In Unit 2, students learn about the development of early Native American cultures prior to the arrival of European settlers. Students will examine the impact of early technology and agriculture. They will analyze ancient Native American civilizations. Students will describe the government of the Iroquois. They will also research a Native American culture, including its traditions, customs, government, and technology.

Unit 3: Age of Encounters

In Unit 3, students learn about early European exploration and settlement of the world. In social studies, students will examine motives, goals, and consequences of exploration by Europeans. They will learn about voyages of Columbus, Caboto, Vespucci, Balboa, and Magellan. Students will examine perspectives of conquistadors, missionaries, Native Americans, and Spanish Royalty in order to draw conclusions about the impact of Spanish exploration in North and South America. They will also investigate the establishment of early English settlements at Roanoke and Jamestown.  

Unit 4: The English Colonies

In Unit 4, students learn about the early settlement of the thirteen English colonies. In social studies, students will examine ways in which early English colonies were established in North America. They will determine whether the English colony at Jamestown could be considered a success or failure. Students will examine the development of the first legislature in America.

Students will explore the Massachusetts Bay Colony and the role of religion and religious freedom in founding colonies. They will evaluate the democratic ideals that developed in the early colonial period. Students will also use a case study of the early settlement of Maryland to compare political, economic, social, and religious institutions in Maryland with the other colonies.

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