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On this page, you will notice the Georgia Peformance Standards for Social Studies.  The standards we are currently working with will appear in dark red below, while past standards are in navy blue


You may also download the PDF version of the 4th grade standards, the same as the one I gave to every student, by clicking here.



In fourth grade, students begin the formal study of United States history. At this grade, 
the four strands of history, geography, civics, and economics are fully integrated. 
Students begin their study of United States history with the development of Native 
American cultures and conclude with the antebellum period ending in 1860. The 
geography strand emphasizes the influence of geography on early U. S. history. The 
civics strand emphasizes concepts and rights developed during the formation of our 
government. The economics strand uses material from the historical strand to further 
understanding of economic concepts. 

Historical Understandings 
SS4H1 The student will describe how early Native American cultures developed in 
North America. 

a. Locate where Native Americans settled with emphasis on the Arctic (Inuit), 
Northwest (Kwakiutl), Plateau (Nez Perce), Southwest (Hopi), Plains (Pawnee), 
and Southeast (Seminole). 
b. Describe how Native Americans used their environment to obtain food, clothing, 
and shelter. 

SS4H2 The student will describe European exploration in North America. 

a. Describe the reasons for, obstacles to, and accomplishments of the Spanish, 
French, and English explorations of John Cabot, Vasco Núñez de Balboa, Juan 
Ponce de León, Christopher Columbus, Henry Hudson, and Jacques Cartier. 
b. Describe examples of cooperation and conflict between Europeans and Native 
SS4H3 The student will explain the factors that shaped British colonial America. 
a. Compare and contrast life in the New England, Mid-Atlantic, and Southern 
b. Describe colonial life in America as experienced by various people, including 
large landowners, farmers, artisans, women, indentured servants, slaves, and 
Native Americans. 

SS4H4 The student will explain the causes, events, and results of the American 

a. Trace the events that shaped the revolutionary movement in America, including 
the French and Indian War, British Imperial Policy that led to the 1765 Stamp 
Act, the slogan “no taxation without representation,” the activities of the Sons of 
Liberty, and the Boston Tea Party. 
b. Explain the writing of the Declaration of Independence; include who wrote it, 
how it was written, why it was necessary, and how it was a response to tyranny 
and the abuse of power. 
c. Describe the major events of the American Revolution and explain the factors 
leading to American victory and British defeat; include the Battles of Lexington 
and Concord, Saratoga, and Yorktown. 
d. Describe key individuals in the American Revolution with emphasis on King 
George III, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Benedict 
Arnold, Patrick Henry, and John Adams. 
SS4H5 The student will analyze the challenges faced by the new nation. 
a. Identify the weaknesses of the government established by the Articles of 
b. Identify the major leaders of the Constitutional Convention (James Madison and 
Benjamin Franklin) and describe the major issues they debated, including the 
rights of states, the Great Compromise, and slavery. 
c. Identify the three branches of the U. S. government as outlined by the 
Constitution, describe what they do, how they relate to each other (checks and 
balances and separation of power), and how they relate to the states. 
d. Identify and explain the rights in the Bill of Rights, describe how the Bill of 
Rights places limits on the power of government, and explain the reasons for its 
inclusion in the Constitution in 1791. 
e. Describe the causes and events of the War of 1812; include the burning of the 
Capitol and the White House. 
SS4H6 The student will explain westward expansion of America between 1801 and 

a. Describe territorial expansion with emphasis on the Louisiana Purchase, the 
Lewis and Clark expedition, and the acquisitions of Texas (the Alamo and 
independence), Oregon (Oregon Trail), and California (Gold Rush and the 
development of mining towns). 
b. Describe the impact of the steamboat, the steam locomotive, and the telegraph on 
life in America. 
c. Describe the impact of westward expansion on Native Americans. 
SS4H7 The student will examine the main ideas of the abolitionist and suffrage 

a. Discuss the biographies of Harriet Tubman and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. 
b. Explain the significance of Sojourner Truth to the abolition and suffrage 

Geographic Understandings 

SS4G1 The student will be able to locate important physical and man-made features 
in the United States.
a. Locate major physical features of the United States; include the Atlantic Coastal 
Plain, the Great Plains, the Continental Divide, the Great Basin, Death Valley, the 
Gulf of Mexico, the St. Lawrence River, and the Great Lakes. 

b. Locate major man-made features; include New York City, NY; Boston, MA; 
Philadelphia, PA; and the Erie Canal. 

SS4G2 The student will describe how physical systems affect human systems. 
a. Explain why each of the Native American groups (SS4H1a) occupied the areas 
they did, with emphasis on why some developed permanent villages and others 
did not. 

b. Describe how the early explorers (SS4H2a) adapted, or failed to adapt, to the 
various physical environments in which they traveled. 
c. Explain how the physical geography of the New England, Mid-Atlantic, and 
Southern colonies helped determine economic activities practiced therein. 
d. Explain how each force (American and British) attempted to use the physical 
geography of each battle site to its benefit (SS4H4c). 
e. Describe physical barriers that hindered and physical gateways that benefited 
territorial expansion from 1801 to 1861 (SS4H6a). 
Government/Civic Understandings 
SS4CG1 The student will describe the meaning of:

a. Natural rights as found in the Declaration of Independence (the right to life, 
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness). 
b. “We the people” from the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution as a reflection of 
consent of the governed or popular sovereignty. 
c. The federal system of government in the U.S. 
SS4CG2 The student will explain the importance of freedom of expression as 
guaranteed by the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution

SS4CG3 The student will describe the functions of government. 
a. Explain the process for making and enforcing laws. 
b. Explain managing conflicts and protecting rights. 
c. Describe providing for the defense of the nation. 
d. Explain limiting the power of people in authority. 
e. Explain the fiscal responsibility of government. 
SS4CG4 The student will explain the importance of Americans sharing certain 
central democratic beliefs and principles, both personal and civic. 

a. Explain the necessity of respecting the rights of others and promoting the 
common good. 
b. Explain the necessity of obeying reasonable laws/rules voluntarily, and explain 
why it is important for citizens in a democratic society to participate in public 
(civic) life (staying informed, voting, volunteering, communicating with public 
SS4CG5 The student will name positive character traits of key historical figures and 
government leaders (honesty, patriotism, courage, trustworthiness). 

Economic Understandings 

SS4E1 The student will use the basic economic concepts of trade, opportunity cost, 
specialization, voluntary exchange, productivity, and price incentives to illustrate 
historical events. 

a. Describe opportunity costs and their relationship to decision-making across time 
(such as decisions to send expeditions to North and South America). 

b. Explain how price incentives affect people’s behavior and choices (such as 
colonial decisions about what crops to grow and products to produce). 
c. Describe how specialization improves standards of living (such as the differences 
in the economies in the New England, Mid-Atlantic, and Southern colonies). 
d. Explain how voluntary exchange helps both buyers and sellers (such as 
prehistoric and colonial trade in North America). 
e. Describe how trade promotes economic activity (such as how trade between the 
colonies and England affected their economies). 
f. Give examples of technological advancements and their impact on business 
productivity during the development of the United States (such as the steamboat, 
the steam locomotive, and the telegraph). 
SS4E2 The student will identify the elements of a personal budget and explain why 
personal spending and saving decisions are important. 


GOAL: The student will use maps to retrieve social studies information. 

GOAL: The student will be able to locate, analyze, and synthesiz
e information related to 
social studies topics and apply this information to solve problems/make decisions.