Grade 2 Social Studies

We Are ACS Model Citizens and Learners

Unit Sketch

This cross-disciplinary mini-unit launches the year with a short focus on the ACS Core Values and Approaches to Learning while building classroom community, routines and rules/expectations. All grades will be exploring these ACS foundational documents as well as the essential Responsive Classroom practices of Morning Meeting, Energizers, Closing Circle, Hopes & Dreams, and Teaching Discipline. In addition, grades 3 - 5 integrate the CCSS Speaking and Listening standards for collaborative conversation as they establish rules/expectations for classroom discussions.

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • Communities of learners rely on everyone's responsible participation.

  • Groups of people (families, classrooms, institutions, etc.) make rules to create responsibilities and protect freedoms.

  • People benefit from and are challenged by working together.

  • Model ACS Citizens demonstrate core values and approaches to learning when interacting with one another.


Students will be able to...

  • Identify purpose, create and adopt classroom rules

  • Review and demonstrate classroom routines (bathroom, transitions, lining up, walking in the hallway, raising a hand to ask a question, active listening)

  • Follow the sequence of a morning meeting (greeting, sharing, group activity, morning message)

  • Follow the sequence of a closing circle (quick share, song or chant)

  • Use deliberative processes when making decisions or reaching judgements as a group

  • Identify ACS Core Values and develop scenarios that demonstrate them

  • Identify ACS Approaches to Learning and develop scenarios that demonstrate them

  • Identify "if...then" scenarios and actions that reflect core values and approaches to learning

We Are Social Scientists

Unit Sketch

In this one-week launch, students consider the disciplines of social science as they relate to themselves. Each lesson asks students to consider one type of social scientist with the Social Scientist Card Deck and to explore the various discipline-specific questions and tools. There are short activities for each discipline to be put in the interactive notebook. At the end of the week, students create an annotated I am a Social Scientist! Poster that provides reasons that support their claim: I am a Social Scientist because...

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • Social scientists study people and how they interact with one another and their world.

  • Geographers, political scientists, historians, cultural anthropologists, and economists are all social scientists.

  • Social scientists study sources and ask questions.


Students will be able to...

  • Collect artifacts (pictures) to be used as sources

  • Ask discipline-specific questions related to the artifacts

  • Identify tools that social scientists use

  • Make a claim related to themselves as a social scientist

  • Give reasons for how they can demonstrate social science processes

Community History

Unit Sketch

This 3-week inquiry is an exploration into the concepts of time, continuity, and change in a community with the dual purpose of establishing understanding about the passage of time and the importance of the past. Using Abu Dhabi as a case study, students explore causes and effects through the study of maps, charts, pictures, and artifacts.

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • Continuities and changes over time in communities can be examined by interpreting evidence such as maps, population charts, photographs, newspapers, biographies, artifacts, and other historical materials.

  • Cause-and-effect relationships help us understand the changes in communities.


Students will be able to...

  • Create a T-chart with causes and effects

  • Analyze before and after pictures of ACS and of Abu Dhabi, highlighting cause and effect

  • Determine cause and effects of rapid development in the UAE and in Abu Dhabi

  • Analyze the positive and negative effects of a local community problem

  • Analyze possible solutions to a local community problem

  • Identify ways that Abu Dhabi and the UAE are solving problems from the past

  • Make a claim about a solution and provide multi-disciplinary evidence

  • Provide reasoning for possible solutions

  • Create an action plan for a local problem

Caring Communities

Unit Sketch

This inquiry is an initial exploration into the concept of interdependence through the lens of community economics and the idea of an economy as a diverse, mutually supportive web of needs and wants, workers and consumers, and problems and solutions. The compelling question “What makes me become we?” challenges students to consider interdependence among individuals and groups and think about how a community is not just a bunch of individual “mes” living in a shared space but also a collective “we” that interacts, grows and contracts, and tries to solve issues. This inquiry builds on students’ first-grade knowledge and challenges them to understand that through businesses, town organizations, and local governments, a community meets the needs and wants of its people, finding strength in collective efforts to address problems.

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • Communities face different challenges in meeting their needs and wants.

  • A community requires the interdependence of many people performing a variety of jobs and services to provide for basic needs and wants.

  • Scarcity, the price of goods and services, and choice all influence economic decisions made by individuals and communities.

  • At times, neighboring communities share resources and workers to support multiple communities.


Students will be able to...

  • Sort goods and services

  • Analyze sources to draw conclusions

  • Identify the basic needs of all people.

  • Define the term philanthropy and philanthropist.

  • Brainstorm ways to help others who don’t get their basic needs met.

  • Analyze acts of philanthropy by sorting in different ways.

  • Identify challenges to meeting wants and needs

  • Make a claim about how communities work together to help and support with evidence

  • Identify local community problems

  • Plan and carry out a service project in the community

Global Communities

Unit Sketch

This inquiry leads students through an investigation of their communities as a way to deepen their understandings of the importance of place in general and the similarities and differences between different kinds of communities in particular.

By investigating the compelling question “How would our lives be different if we lived in a different kind of community?” students learn that locations offer a range of experiences for the people who live there and that there are advantages and disadvantages of living in each kind of community. The distinctions among urban, suburban, and rural communities, however, are not hard and fast: Although population density, buildings, and green space typically vary across these kinds of communities, it is better to look at a collection of characteristics rather than a single factor when determining how a location might be characterized.

This inquiry incorporates mapping skills through a review of map reading via neighborhood and city maps as well as population density maps such as those linked below. As an extension activity, students can create two-dimensional and three-dimensional maps of urban, suburban, and rural communities.

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • An urban community, or city, is characterized by dense population and land primarily occupied by buildings and structures used for residential and business purposes.

  • Suburban communities are on the outskirts of cities, where human population is less dense, and buildings and homes are spaced farther apart.

  • Rural communities are characterized by large expanses of open land and significantly lower populations than urban or suburban areas.

  • Activities available for people living in urban, suburban, and rural communities are different. The type of community a person grows up in will affect a person’s development and identity.

  • Different types of communities rely on trade to meet their citizens' wants and needs.


Students will be able to...

  • Brainstorm ways that life would be different in another place

  • Identify location and characteristics of urban, suburban, and rural communities

  • Sort characteristics of urban, suburban, and rural communities

  • Compare and contrast urban, suburban, and rural communities in regard to population, land use, space and transportation

  • Discuss how different communities meet their citizens' wants and needs

  • Explore and communicate advantages and disadvantages of living in urban, suburban and rural communities

  • Construct an evidence-based explanation to answer the question, “How would our lives be different if we lived in a different kind of community?”

  • Ask and answer questions about evidence-based explanations

  • Construct two and three-dimensional community maps with features

Shaping Environments

Unit Sketch

This inquiry explores how communities develop and sustain themselves by examining the positive and negative impacts of development on community environments.

In considering the idea that communities grow and change over time, students develop an explanation with evidence* that answers the compelling question “How do we shape our environment?”

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • The location of physical features and natural resources often affects where people settle and may affect how those people sustain themselves.

  • Humans modify the environment of their communities through housing, transportation systems, schools, marketplaces, and recreation areas.


Students will be able to...

  • Discuss causes and effects of community development

  • Identify ways that humans modify their environments

  • Define and compare/contrast residential, industrial, commercial, and recreational developments in communities

  • Analyze positive and negative impacts of community developments

  • Use Google maps to analyze local communities

  • Create maps of local communities with titles, directions (compass rose), symbols, keys/legends

  • Research a local community development and create a pictorial essay

  • Develop an evidence-based explanation about community development