Using Inquiry in Elementary Social Studies
Updated: Jun 11
The Necessity of Social Studies in the Elementary Grades
Elementary students need engaging, inquiry-based social studies to help them develop critical thinking skills, make informed decisions, and take positive action to influence their world.
When students have the opportunity to participate in inquiry-based social studies, what do they experience, develop, and become?
Deep, active engagement in sustained investigations of disciplinary content
Culturally responsive instruction and experiences
Productive struggle to discern meaning and address real-world problems
Personal Agency .
Creative Problem Solving Skills
Critical Thinking Skills
Resilient learners who can adapt to changing circumstances
Engaged, informed, and socially responsible members of their communities.
Critical consumers of information, goods, and services
During the webinar, we explored the challenges and opportunities of Using Inquiry in Elementary Social Studies. Thanks to our guests Dr. Tina Heafner (NCSS President) and Dr. Linda Kuhaupt (ELA and Social Studies, Appleton Area School District).
We started by examining trends in social studies education as a whole. Dr. Heafner shared some infographics that illustrate these trends.
We moved on to address the obstacles to elementary social studies, the challenges for teachers, and the benefits of social studies for elementary students in relation to literacy instruction and preparedness for civic responsibility.
We also mentioned inquiry-based resources for you to explore. We've included a list below.
Inquiry-Based Elementary Social Studies: Inquiry Journeys
C3 Teachers: c3teachers.org
State Social Studies Councils: https://www.socialstudies.org/affiliates
Elementary Specific Group: NCSS Elementary Social Studies Group
Conferences on Inquiry Teaching
inquirED and NCSS: Elementary Inquiry Summer Institute
C3 Teachers and NCSS: IDM Institute
High Tech High: Deeper Learning Conference
Resources for Evaluating Inquiry-Based Instructional Materials
Finally, if you were not able to attend the webinar, please view the recording below.