KG2 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. In Grades K-2, this unit extends throughout the year, offering opportunities to revisit what it means to be an ACS Model Citizen and Learner while reinforcing the basic practices of Responsive Classroom.

Enduring Understandings

Students will understand that...

  • What you believe (value) shapes what you do (actions).

  • Model citizens have qualities that help them have positive relationships with others.

  • Citizens and learners obey rules in the classroom, at school, at home, and in the community.

  • Rules allow a community to be safe, fair, and happy.


Students will be able to…

  • With assistance, decide on classroom rules

  • Demonstrate the signal for quiet attention

  • Model and practice basic classroom routines (bathroom, transitions, lining up, walking in the hallway, raising a hand to ask a question)

  • 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)

  • Identify purpose of rules

  • Identify ACS Core Values and match with pictures

  • Identify ACS Approaches to Learning and match with pictures

  • Draw a picture of themselves demonstrating an ACS Core Value

  • Draw a picture of their class demonstrating an ACS Approach to Learning

  • Tell what might happen next in potential scenarios at school

All About Me

Unit Sketch

This inquiry focuses on students’ unique identities and explores similarities between one another. It makes use of the New York Inquiry called Is Everyone Unique?

The inquiry leads students through an investigation of self by recognizing that all humans have both unique and similar characteristics. By investigating the compelling question “Is everyone unique?” students begin to see how they are similar to and different from their classmates. The study of similarities and differences among individuals provides the foundation for students to demonstrate understanding of and respect for others.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand that...

  • A sense of self is developed through physical and cultural characteristics and through the development of personal likes, dislikes, talents, and skills.

  • Personal experiences shape our sense of self and help us understand our likes, dislikes, talents, and skills, as well as our connections to others.


Students will be able to…

  • brainstorm a list of words and phrases that describe who they are

  • draw a self-portrait of themselves

  • respond to sentence starters to describe themselves (e.g., I am a ___, I can ___, I am good at ___, or, I like ___).

  • participate in a gallery walk of class self-portraits

  • identify similarities and differences between self-portraits

  • complete a T Chart of similarities and differences

  • make a claim related to the question: Is everyone unique?

  • give reasons (evidence) for their answer to the claim

  • contribute to a classroom book or movie about identity, similarities, and differences

Holidays and Traditions

Unit Sketch

This two-week inquiry plus extension explores the traditions of holidays that various students celebrate. It makes use of the New York Inquiry called What Makes Holidays Special?

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand that...

  • Holidays are special days and/or celebrations that include traditions.

  • Holidays and traditions are important parts of an individual’s culture and sense of self.

  • The study of symbols, holidays, and celebrations helps to develop a shared sense of history, community, and culture.


Students will be able to…

  • describe favorite family celebrations

  • identify holidays and traditions from a source bank of pictures

  • construct a group T-chart on holidays and their specific traditions

  • connect symbols with holidays or celebrations

  • create symbols for family holidays or celebrations and place them on a calendar

  • make a claim related to the question: what makes my family's holidays special?

  • use the symbols they've created as evidence to support their claim

  • create a family calendar of special holidays and celebrations

Maps and Globes and GPS!

Unit Sketch

This is a two-part inquiry that builds on itself and provides opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate spatial thinking skills using maps and globes.

Part One poses the question, "Which is better, a map or a globe?" and invites students to learn about each of these geographic tools. At the end of the inquiry, students are asked to decide which tool is better for a variety of scenarios and offer an evidence-based explanation* as to why.

Part Two of the inquiry poses the question, "Do we still need paper maps?" and asks students to study maps further by deciding whether paper maps are still important in today's digital world. The inquiry gives students an opportunity to build electronic and paper maps and compare the advantages and disadvantages of each. At the end of the inquiry, students are asked to make an evidence-based claim** as to whether we still need paper maps in today's world.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand that...

  • Maps and globes can provide information.

  • Maps and globes are used in different situations.

  • The situation determines the best tool (map or globe) to be used.

  • Maps help us find our way around.

  • Maps can be paper or digital.


Students will be able to…

Part One:

  • define "map" and list its features: symbol, key, compass rose, latitude lines, longitude lines

  • define "globe" and list its features: colors - blue ocean, colored landforms, north pole, south pole, latitude lines, longitude lines, labels, compass

  • compare and contrast maps and globes and their uses

  • develop purpose statements for maps and globes - I would use a _______ when __________ because _____________________________________________

  • determine appropriate geographical tool (map or globe) in various situations

  • construct an evidence-based explanation as to why a map or globe should be used

Part Two:

  • share ideas for how to avoid getting lost

  • describe how different types of maps help people find their way

  • create paper and digital maps of the same place - drawing app on iPad

  • use GPS mapping to find directions to a location

  • participate in a discussion about the advantages/disadvantages of GPS mapping

  • construct an evidence-based claim about whether paper maps are necessary in today's world

  • extend thinking by creating maps with various tools.

Needs and Wants

Unit Sketch

This inquiry focuses on the economics concept of scarcity by developing an understanding of needs and wants and goods and services through the compelling question, “Can we ever get everything we need and want?” The distinctions between these constructs serve as the necessary components of an examination of the choices people must make when faced with potential limitations.

In their investigation of needs and wants, students begin by identifying and discussing the difference between the two terms by determining the ways in which needs and wants can be fulfilled through goods and services and by exploring the choices people face in situations of scarcity. By examining the featured sources in this inquiry, they will use their individual and collective experiences to wrestle with the condition of scarcity and how it affects humans’ desire to satisfy their needs and wants.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand that...

  • A need is something that a person must have for health and survival (e.g., food, water, shelter, clothing), while a want is something a person would like to have.

  • Goods are objects that can satisfy people’s needs and wants; services are activities that can do the same.

  • Scarcity is the condition of not being able to have all of the goods and services that a person wants or needs.


Students will be able to…

  • sort images of "needs" and "wants"

  • describe the difference between a "need" and a "want"

  • sort images of "goods" and "services"

  • tell how "goods" and "services" are the same but different

  • describe "scarcity" by giving examples

  • suggest solutions to problems of "scarcity"

  • make a claim related to needs and wants

  • support a claim with evidence from sources and other examples

  • participate in and contribute to classroom discussions

  • collaborate effectively in task groups

Everyday Super Heroes

Unit Sketch

By focusing on making a difference in the smallest of ways, this inquiry invites students to discover service and civic action at home and at school. They learn about being an “everyday superhero” by volunteering their time, talent, and treasures to others.

Enduring Understandings:

Students will understand that...

  • Everyone can be a philanthropist.

  • Philanthropy is giving your time, talents and treasures to others to make the world a better place.


Students will be able to…

  • discuss attributes of philanthropic behavior

  • distinguish between the concepts of time, talent and treasure,

  • brainstorm philanthropic acts at school,

  • name a philanthropic act that they could perform at school,

  • illustrate a philanthropic act at school,

  • perform a philanthropic act at school,

  • brainstorm philanthropic acts at home,

  • name a philanthropic act that they could perform at home,

  • illustrate a philanthropic act at home,

  • perform a philanthropic act at home,

  • create and share a Superhero Log (philanthropy at home and school)

  • reflect on how philanthropy makes them feel about themselves and others