Vermont's Sixth Grade Standards
(Note: By the completion of sixth grade, Vermont students are expected to master the following standards.)
Vermont Academic Content Standards: History and Social Sciences
H&SS5-6:1—Social and Historical Questioning
Students initiate an inquiry by:
- Asking relevant and focusing questions that will lead to independent research based on what they have seen, what they have read, what they have listened to, and/or what they have researched (e.g., How will global warming affect me and my community? Does intolerance exist in my school or community?).
Students develop a hypothesis, thesis, or research statement by:
- Using prior knowledge, relevant questions, and facts to develop a prediction and/or propose an explanation or solution.
Students design research by:
- Identifying the quality and quantity of information needed, including primary and secondary sources.
- Identifying tools, tasks, and procedures needed for conducting an inquiry, including a plan for citing sources.
- Determining possible ways to present data (e.g., Power-Point, hypercard, report, graph, etc.).
Students conduct research by:
- Referring to and following a plan for an inquiry.
- Locating relevant materials such as print, electronic, and human resources.
- Applying criteria from the research plan to analyze the quality (e.g., credibility of a Web site) and quantity (e.g., minimum number of sources) of information gathered.
- Describing evidence and recording observations using notecards, videotape, tape recorders, journals, or databases. (e.g., recording relevant details of a historical or geographical landmark).
- Citing sources.
Students develop reasonable explanations that support the research statement by:
- Organizing and displaying information in a manner appropriate to the research statement through tables graphs, maps, dioramas, charts, narratives, posters, timelines, models, simulations, and/or dramatizations.
- Determining the validity and reliability of the document or information (e.g., evaluating why an author’s point of view affects the reliability of the source).
- Using appropriate methods for interpreting information, such as comparing and contrasting, summarizing, illustrating, sequencing, and/or justifying (e.g., identifying ethnic or cultural perspectives missing from a historical account).
- Revising explanations as necessary based on peer critique, expert opinion, etc.
Students make connections to research by:
- Explaining the relevance of their findings (So what?) to themselves, their community, and/or history (e.g., by asking follow-up questions, by proposing additional research).
- Explaining how their research has led to a clearer understanding of an issue or idea.
- Proposing solutions to problems based on their findings, and asking additional questions.
- Identifying what was easy or difficult about following the research plan, and making suggestions for improvement.
Students communicate their findings by:
- Developing and giving oral, written, or visual presentations for various audiences.
- Soliciting and responding to feedback.
- Pointing out possibilities for continued or further research.
Students connect the past with the present by:
- Explaining differences between historic and present day objects in the United States and/or the world, evaluating how the use of the object and the object itself changed over time, (e.g., comparing modes of transportation used in past and present exploration in order to evaluate the impact and effects of those changes).
- Describing ways that life in the United States and/or the world has both changed and stayed the same over time, and explaining why these changes have occurred (e.g., In what ways would the life of a teenager during the American Revolution be different from the life of a teenager today? What factors have contributed to these differences?).
- Investigating how events, people, and ideas have shaped the United States and/or the world, and hypothesizing how different influences could have led to different consequences (e.g., How did the civil rights movement change the U.S., and how might the U.S. be different if it had never happened?).
Students show understanding of how humans interpret history by:
- Identifying different types of primary and secondary sources, and understanding the benefits and limitations both bring to the study of history (e.g., interviews, biographies, magazine articles, and eyewitness accounts).
- Reading and interpreting historic maps.
- Identifying multiple perspectives in historic and current events (e.g., How might one of Santa Anna’s soldiers describe the events at the Alamo? How might an American soldier describe the same events?).
- Identifying attitudes, values, and behaviors of people in different historical contexts (e.g., What values justified denying women the vote?).
- Identifying how technology can lead to a different interpretation of history (e.g., archeological excavation, using online primary source documents).
Students show understanding of past, present, and future time by:
- Identifying the beginning, middle, and end of an historical
narrative or story.
- Constructing time lines of significant historical developments in the nation and world, designating appropriate equidistant intervals of time and recording events according to the order in which they occurred.
- Interpreting data presented in time lines.
- Measuring and calculating calendar time by years, decades, centuries, and millennia (e.g., How old are the great pyramids of Egypt?).
- Making predictions and/or decisions based on an understanding of the past and the present.
- Identifying an important event in the United States and/or world, and describing multiple causes and effects of that event.
- Explaining transitions between eras that occurred over time (e.g., the end of the Colonial era) as well as those that occurred as a result of a pivotal event (e.g., September 11th, the writing of the Declaration of Independence).
- Identifying the beginning, middle, and end of an historical
Physical and Cultural Geography
Students interpret geography and solve geographic problems by:
- Identifying characteristics of states, countries, and continents using resources such as landmarks, models, maps, photographs, atlases, internet, video, reference materials, GIS and mental mapping.
- Observing, comparing, and analyzing patterns of state, national, and global land use (e.g., agriculture, forestry, industry) to understand why particular locations are used for certain human activities.
- Locating the physical and political regions of the United States and the world (e.g., Plains, NE Coast, New England, South, West, etc.).
- Locating selected cities and countries in the world of historical and current importance using absolute and relative location (e.g., capitals, Boston, NYC, London, Iraq, etc.).
- Using absolute and relative location to identifying major mountain ranges, major rivers, and major climate and vegetation zones.
- Constructing and reading a variety of effective representations of the earth such as maps, globes, and photographs (e.g., physical, political, topographic, computer generated, and special purpose maps).
- Identifying and using basic elements of a map.
- Using grid systems to locate places on maps and globes (e.g., longitude and latitude).
- Using appropriate geographic resources to answer geographic questions and to analyze patterns of spatial variation (e.g., Why do more people live in Chittenden County than any other county in Vermont?; examining soil quality in relation to land use).
Students show understanding of human interaction with the environment over time by:
- Describing how people have changed the environment in the U.S. and world for specific purposes (e.g., development of urban environments, modification of crops, reforestation).
- Generating information related to the impact of human activities on the physical environment (for example, through field studies, mapping, interviewing, and using scientific instruments) in order to draw conclusions and recommend actions (e.g., accompanying a naturalist working to identify areas in need of preservation).
- Identifying different viewpoints regarding resource use in the U.S. and world (e.g., interview the owner of a hybrid or electric vehicle.).
- Describing how the environment influences a particular demographic factor, such as disease/epidemic rates, life expectancy, infant mortality rate, population growth rate (e.g., describe how environmental factors influence income).
- Recognizing patterns of voluntary and involuntary migration in the U.S. and world.
Students analyze how and why cultures continue and change over time by:
- Identifying expressions of culture in the U.S., and the world through analysis of various modes of expression such as poems, songs, dances, stories, paintings, and photographs (e.g., investigating cultural expressions of the Harlem Renaissance).
- Describing the contributions of various cultural groups to the world, both past and present .
- Identifying how location influences cultural traits (e.g., comparing clothing, food, religion/values, government, and art across four ancient cultures in relation to location).
- Identifying ways in which culture in the United States and the world has changed.
Civics, Government and Society
Students act as citizens by:
- Describing and defining the rights, principles, and responsibilities of citizenship in the U.S. (e.g., the right to vote and the responsibility to obey the law).
- Giving examples of ways people act as members of a global community (e.g., purchasing products made in other countries).
- Demonstrating positive interaction with group members (e.g., participating in a service project).
- Identifying problems and proposing solutions in the local community, state, nation, or world.
- Explaining their own point of view on issues that affect themselves and society; being able to explain an opposing point of view (e.g. bullies, victims, witnesses; voting age; smoking; violence on TV).
- Giving examples of ways in which political parties, campaigns, and elections provide opportunities for citizens to participate in the political process.
- Illustrating how individuals and groups have brought about change locally, nationally, or internationally (e.g., interview members of an advocacy group).
- Describing how an American’s identity stems from beliefs in and allegiance to shared political values and principles, and how these are similar and different to other peoples.
- Establishing rules and/or policies for a group, school, and/or community, and defending them.
Students show understanding of various forms of government by:
- Describing how rules and laws are created (e.g., participating in a simulation about creating a new law).
- Identifying key documents on which U.S. laws are based and where to find them (e.g., Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, U.S. Constitution).
- Describing how government decisions impact and/or relate to their lives.
- Identifying the basic functions, structures and purposes of governments within the United States.
- Describing the basic principles of American democracy (e.g., right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; responsibility for the common good; equality of opportunity and equal protection of the law; freedom of speech and religion).
- Defining criteria for selecting leaders at the school, community, state, national and international levels.
Students examine how different societies address issues of human interdependence by:
- Identifying a current or historic issue related to basic human rights (e.g., civil rights; women’s movement).
- Explaining how roles and status of people have differed and changed throughout history based on gender, age, class, racial and ethnic identity, wealth, and/ or social position.
- Describing the purposes and functions of governmental and nongovernmental international organizations (e.g., the United Nations).
- After examining issues from more than one perspective, defining and defending the rights and needs of others in the, community, nation, and world (e.g., participating in a forum on child slavery).
- Describing differences and similarities among people that arise from factors such as cultural, ethnic, racial, economic, and religious diversity.
- Citing examples, both past and present, of how diversity has led to change (e.g., foods; internment camps; slavery).
- Identifying examples of interdependence among states and nations (e.g., natural resources).
- Comparing and contrasting behaviors that foster cooperation among groups and governments (e.g., assigned roles of participation; clear expectations and goal setting).
- Explaining conditions that contribute to conflict within and among individuals, communities, and nations (e.g., investigating the political, social, and economic causes of the American Revolution).
- Explaining ways in which conflicts can be resolved peacefully (e.g., melting pot vs. salad bowl).
Students examine how access to various institutions affects justice, reward, and power by:
- Describing how different groups gain or have been denied access to various institutions, and exploring alternative ways of getting access (e.g., Women’s right to vote, access for disabled, petition).
- Identifying examples of tensions between belief systems and government policies and laws (e.g. Christmas trees may exclude people who are not Christian; Pledge of Allegiance).
Students show an understanding of the interaction/interdependence between humans, the environment, and the economy by:
- Tracing the production, distribution, and consumption of goods in the U.S. (e.g., creating a map showing the flow of oil to and from the U.S.; creating a map depicting the African slave trade).
- Examining how producers in the U.S. have used natural, human, and capital resources to produce goods and services and describing long-term effects of these uses (e.g., What long-term effects did the growth of tobacco in the Chesapeake Bay area have on humans?).
- Describing the causes and effects of economic activities on the environment in the U.S. (e.g., examining why ski areas make snow and the effects of snowmaking on the environment).
Students show understanding of the interconnectedness between government and the economy by:
- Identifying goods and services provided by local, state, and national governments (e.g., disaster relief, business subsidies) and why these are needed.
- Explaining the relationship between taxation and governmental goods and services in the U.S. (e.g., given data, students create a pie chart of budget allocations).
- Recognizing that the U.S. government creates its own currency for use as money (e.g., investigating various forms of money printed throughout the history of the U.S.).
Students make economic decisions as a consumer, producer, saver, investor, and citizen by:
- Defining and applying basic economic concepts such as supply and demand, price, market and/or opportunity cost in an investigation of a regional or national economic question or problem (e.g., what were the opportunity costs of westward migration?).
- Explaining what happens when people's needs and/or wants exceed their available resources (e.g., analyzing photographs from the Dust Bowl).
- Comparing price, quality, and features of goods and services.
- Identifying the pros and cons of saving money over time (e.g., immediate vs. delayed gratification).