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Om Content Matters
A critical question in social studies education is not whether teachers develop and teach units of study, but what is in the units of study teachers develop and teach. Curricular planning and instruction must focus on what we teach in the social studies classroom. It is not uncommon for students to experience fine units about the westward movement and exit the fifth grade with little or no geographic literacy. Most students leave middle school grades unable to name even one person who made a difference in the history of Indian people in the United States. After three to five years of history classes, high school students routinely self-report that history is boring. And it is the rare middle school graduate who knows how to use a free enterprise economy for his or her benefit. This book explains the content of nine areas in social studies. If teachers know what history, biographical studies, and the United States Constitution mean for instruction, they can increase the probability of better-focused content in their social studies instruction.