North Carolina State Standards for Social Studies

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Get information about some of the learning objectives outlined for North Carolina public school students in kindergarten through 12th grade social studies classes. You can also learn where to find study resources to help improve your students' understanding of the topics covered in class.

Kindergarten and Elementary School Social Studies Standards

North Carolina requires students in kindergarten and elementary school to build their skills in the same social studies topics every year. These include history, culture, geography, economics, civics and government. Learning goals for each topic and grade level are outlined below.


Kindergarteners work on understanding how people and seasons change with time. Time is also spent examining ways in which people are different and the same. Students learn to use maps and globes as well as positional words. They also study how humans interact with their environment and examine common needs and wants as well as the importance of fair play and rules.

1st Grade

In 1st grade, students explore how communities change and how certain events have shaped history. They learn to identify landforms, read map symbols and recognize the ways in which people affect the environment. Classes also cover economics topics like goods, services, supply and demand. Kids learn more about authority figures and the importance of laws. They also study languages and the literature of various cultures.

2nd Grade

Children in this grade study timelines and significant historical figures. They also take a closer look at specific locations on maps and discuss the importance of natural resources. Economics basics, like the roles of businesses, producers and consumers, are studied along with the types of government services and the importance of good citizenship. Artistic creations and historical events related to other cultures are also discussed.

3rd Grade

Students take a closer look at historical narratives and events that shaped local and regional history. Students also recognize the physical and demographic characteristics of different regions and work on understanding location and entrepreneurship in relation to business. Time is spent studying the structure and function of local government and the civic contributions of individuals as well. The languages, traditions and behaviors of various local and regional cultural groups are also explored.

4th Grade

4th graders learn to recognize key events in North Carolina's history and focus on buildings, symbols and names that are important to the state. They work on understanding factors that impact the growth and market economy of North Carolina as well as what economic factors individuals should focus on when making decisions. North Carolina's government and constitution are also studied.

5th Grade

Important events and figures in early U.S. history are covered in this grade. Students consider the people, principles and settlement patterns that shaped the U.S. as well as the factors that impact its economy. The structure of U.S. government is examined, along with the responsibilities of U.S. citizens. Students also explore diversity in the country.

Study Resources:

This Social Studies for Kids course can help students review what they're learning in their classes. This course covers early history up to the present day and helps students work on geography, economics and more.

Middle School Social Studies Standards

Middle schoolers study the same key social studies topics as elementary school students and kindergarteners. Beginning in 6th and 7th grade, however, they begin their exploration of world history, while 8th graders focus on U.S. history.

6th Grade

Students examine how civilizations rise and fall. They also consider how major historical events, important geographic factors and the availability of resources impacted early societies. More time is spent studying tools used in geography. Students also learn to compare government development among various civilizations and explore the roles of art, religion and social structure in society.

7th Grade

This grade includes the study of global interactions among modern civilizations. Students work to understand how modern societies function, especially economically. The different types of present-day governments are also discussed along with modern cultural values.

8th Grade

Students learn to recognize the early conflicts and democratic ideals that formed North Carolina and the U.S. Changes to the state and country resulting from technological, geographic and environmental factors are discussed along with the use of economic indicators. Students also consider societal changes brought about by grassroots movements.

Study Resources:

These middle school geography, world history and U.S. history courses can help students in these grades reinforce what they're learning in class. These courses are full of short video lessons that allow students to get help with the subjects they're working on.

High School Social Studies Standards

High school social studies standards work a little differently than those in lower grades. These standards are organized by individual courses, instead of a broad range of topics. They cover:

World History

Students in this course study the historical development of ancient civilizations. They'll explore changes that occurred in the Medieval time period and learn to identify factors that brought about the beginning of global interactions and world exploration. Students also identify the major conflicts characterizing different eras and learn what shapes modern global society.

You can use this High School World History Course to help students get familiar with the empires and civilizations that have risen and fallen around the globe.

American History I and II

Standards for the American History I course ensure students are familiar with the political, economic and social factors that brought about important turning points in the country's history, from its early colonization up to the end of Reconstruction.

Students continue studying these themes in American History II, which covers significant events from the late 19th century up to the present day. This course also helps students examine the role of the United States in the world.

Students can access this High School U.S. History course to explore the foundation of the nation, as well as the changes that it has gone through over time.

Civics and Economics

This course helps students understand the principles shaping American government. It also covers the structure and function of government systems used in the U.S., including the legal and political systems. Additionally, students learn to identify the various economic factors that influence decision-making for individuals as well as organizations. They also identify the impacts of federal policy and international trade on the economy.

You can help your students review these topics with the short video lessons found in these American goverment, civics and high school economics resources.