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<<  District 103 Curriculum Guide > Grade 6 > Grade 6 - Social Studies


The aim of Social Studies is the promotion of civic competence – the knowledge, intellectual processes, and democratic dispositions required of students to be active and engaged participants in public life.  Civic ideals and practices enable students to learn about the rights and responsibilities of citizens of a democracy, and to appreciate the importance of active citizenship.

District 103, in partnership with neighboring districts, has begun the revision of the Social Studies curriculum which currently reflects the Illinois Social Studies Standards. The revision process is being guided by the newly issued College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework, and is supported by the Illinois State Board of Education. To view the entire document that explains the C3 Framework, please visit: http://www.socialstudies.org/c3


In this unit, students will learn the impact of Africa’s history on its present day society and culture.  The unit will cover early African kingdoms and their involvement with the Europeans that later led to European colonization of the continent.  The unit will also examine colonization’s immediate and lasting effects on emerging nations like Rwanda, Sudan, and South Africa. South Africa will be especially examined as ethnic groups competed for political and economic power resulting in the Apartheid and the world’s response. Students will read the novel Waiting for the Rain by Sheila Gordon as a means to explore Apartheid’s connection to Africa. 

The Americas

In this unit, students will exam Mexico, Central America, and South America. The focus of the unit is the understanding of culture and how history has shaped current affairs in the region. European colonization and imperialism will be highlighted throughout the unit as well as the lasting effects left behind following independence. 


In this unit, students will learn about China’s dynastic history through modern China’s communist society.  The unit will focus specifically on the impact of Confucius’s teachings, the Mandate of Heaven, creation and implications of the building of the Great Wall, Shi Huang-di, the Silk Route and its impact on the spread of Buddhism, Mongol invasion, end of dynastic rule, the struggle for creation of a new government, Communism, Mao Zedong, Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and communism’s effects on present day China.  Students will also read Red Scarf Girl by Ji Li Jiang to examine the impact on Mao’s cultural revolution on the people of China.  The unit will also briefly explore the cultures and histories of Japan and the Koreas.

Geography and Culture

In this unit, students will explore the Five Themes of Geography and culture.  Instruction will focus on location with a review of latitude and longitude, movement, place, region, and human-environment interaction.  Students will also learn the universals associated with a culture and what each universal includes.  


In this unit, students will explore the impact of India’s history on its present day society and culture.  The unit will cover the Aryan influence in the creation of Hinduism and the caste system, the creation of Buddhism, dynastic rule including the Islamic presence in India, British colonization, the movement for Independence, the role of Mohandas Gandhi in the independence movement, and contemporary Indian/Pakistani relations.  Students will also read Homeless Bird to explore modern Indian culture.

Early Civilizations

In this unit, students will be introduced to early river civilizations. Students will learn how hunter-gatherer societies developed into civilizations. This unit will include an introduction to the Fertile Crescent river valley as well as an introduction to the rise and fall of empires. Students will explore the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Sumer, Babylon, Phoenicia, Assyria, Persia, and

Egypt. This unit will also include the origins, beliefs, and legacy of Judaism. 

The above units were selected and created by District 103 teaching staff.


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