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An inquirED Blog

1st Grade Social Studies Curriculum: How does our diversity strengthen our community?


Courtesy of Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action.

This blog post is one in a series that breaks down one unit from each grade level of Inquiry Journeys, inquirED's core elementary social studies curriculum. For a trial account containing all lessons for the unit, click below.


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1st Grade Social Studies Curriculum Essential Question

How does our diversity strengthen our community?

1st-grade social studies students explore the value of living in diverse communities and examine how families with different structures, traditions, cultures, and backgrounds can work together to make their communities stronger. Objectives include:

  • Explain how differences are valuable

  • Explain how people can respond to differences (by causing conflict or welcoming new and positive experiences)

  • Identify challenges and opportunities for action


Lesson 1: Defining Diversity

1st-grade social studies students begin the module with an exploration of the concept of diversity. Groups work together to create two different images: one that is made up of just one type of shape and one that is made up of several different shapes. Then, they read and discuss the book All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold to explore how diversity can strengthen a community.

Lesson 2: Responding to Differences 1st-grade social studies students explore how individuals and communities can address problems that may arise as a result of differences in order to build more inclusive, accepting communities. They read and discuss The Sandwich Swap by Queen Rania Al Abdullah, and generate ideas for recognizing and solving problems. Students discuss how differences can either lead to conflict or enrich our lives.

  • Read The Sandwich Swap, then ask students to Turn and Talk to respond to the prompts: What conflict do the children have in the book? Why did this conflict come about? Why were the sandwiches so important to each friend? What is the solution they find? What is the main idea of this story?

Lesson 3: Reflecting on Family Findings 1st-grade social studies students review their learning from this unit as they prepare to design an authentic product in response to their Inquiry Question. They brainstorm ideas about needs and opportunities within their own community.

Lesson 4: Issuing the Inquiry Challenge When 1st-grade social studies students transition from investigation to action. They consider the content they have explored, the relevant knowledge they have gained, and the questions they have asked (acknowledging that some may have remained unanswered and new questions may have emerged) to decide how to create an Inquiry Product that has an authentic impact.