Illinois Learning Standards
Stage E - Social Science
Students who meet the standard can understand and explain basic principles of the United States government.
- Give examples of civic and personal responsibilities of
students and adults.
- Explain the characteristics of a "democracy."
- Justify why governments need to make rules and laws for
- Explain the importance of the Declaration of Independence
and the Illinois and United States Constitutions.
- Define the concept of "unalienable" as it relates
to rights expressed in the Declaration of Independence.
- Explain how the U.S. Constitution can be amended.
- Defend the idea of having a Bill of Rights to outline
and protect the rights of citizens.
- Summarize the evolution of one of the amendments to the
constitution (e.g., its origins, implementation, influence).
- Define rule of law.
Students who meet the standard can understand the structures and functions of the political systems of Illinois, the United States, and other nations.
- State the names of the two houses in the Illinois state
- Describe the purpose behind the principles of division
and sharing powers among the executive, legislative, and
- Describe the system of checks and balances between the
three branches of the federal government.
- Differentiate between the characteristics of criminal
and civil trials.
Students who meet the standard can understand election processes and responsibilities of citizens.
- Describe situations in their home, school, or community
where the rights of minorities have been respected.
- Predict the consequences of ignoring the rights of other
people in public places (e.g., smoking in a crowded theater).
- Explain how an individual or group has solved a problem
in their community.
- Identify voting requirements.
Students who meet the standard can understand the roles and influences of individuals and interest groups in the political systems of Illinois, the United States, and other nations.
- Describe a situation where minority rights may supersede
the wishes of the majority.
- Produce a plan to increase student and/or parent involvement
in school activities.
- Define the concept of "lobbying" to influence
public opinion or legislative decision-making.
- Explain ways that individuals and groups influence the
shaping of public policy.
- Compare/contrast contemporary and traditional forms of
political persuasion (e.g., speeches and parades with Internet,
faxes, electronic mail).
Students who meet the standard can understand United States foreign policy as it relates to other nations and international issues.
- Summarize how nations interact to avoid conflict (e.g.,
diplomacy, trade, treaties).
- Identify government branches and offices at the federal
level that are responsible for conducting foreign affairs.
- Identify a treaty the United States has signed with another
- Describe how a specific issue (e.g., trade, resources,
human rights) has affected a president's foreign policy.
Students who meet the standard can understand the development of United States political ideas and traditions.
- Describe examples of the development of basic freedoms
for the people of the United States.
- Discuss consistencies and inconsistencies expressed in
United States political traditions and actual practices
(e.g., freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, slavery,
- Compare the similarities found in national symbols, legends,
or stories that have emphasized the value of such principles
as freedom, liberty, preservation of the Union, etc.
- Describe historical examples featuring the denial or extension
of civil rights to various individuals or groups.
- Identify significant changes in communication or technology
that have had an affect on the spread of political information
and influence (e.g., telegraph, television, Internet).
Students who meet the standard understand economic systems, with an emphasis on the United States.
- Explain how a market economy answers the three basic economic
questions: What to produce? How to produce? For whom to
- Identify the productive resources people sell to earn
- Identify human resources in their community and the goods
and services they produce.
- Analyze the relationship between what they learn in school
and the skills they need for a job.
Students who meet the standard understand that scarcity necessitates choices by consumers.
- Apply the concept of opportunity cost to choices in the
- Identify factors that affect consumer choices (e.g., prices
of goods and services; quality; income; preferences/tastes).
- Describe how a large increase or decrease in the price
of a good or service would affect how much of that item
would be purchased.
- Explain why consumers will buy more goods and services
at lower prices and fewer at higher prices.
- Define prices as what consumers pay when buying goods
or services and what sellers receive when selling goods
Students who meet the standard understand that scarcity necessitates choices by producers.
- Predict how a large increase or decrease in the price
of a good or service will affect how much producers will
make and sell of that good or service.
- Analyze why producers will produce more goods and services
at higher prices and fewer at lower prices.
- Identify markets in which there are very few sellers and
markets in which there are many sellers.
- Identify the characteristics of effective entrepreneurs
(e.g., why they are willing to take risks to start new businesses).
Students who meet the standard understand trade as an exchange of goods or services.
- Explain the benefits of exchanging with the use of money.
- Identify the primary functions and services of financial
- Predict how people's lives would be different if they
did not trade with others for goods and services they use.
- Illustrate how division of labor in a production process
can increase productivity.
- Explain how division of labor creates interdependence.
- Analyze the impact of interdependence on the production
Students who meet the standard understand the impact of government policies and decisions on production and consumption in the economy.
- Identify public goods and services in the community, state,
- List the types of taxes paid by individuals and by businesses.
Students who meet the standard can apply the skills of historical analysis and interpretation.
- Explain how life changed or stayed the same in a region
or place using two historic maps that depict different times
in that region or place.
- Describe trends during a time period using political,
economic, environmental, and social data from appropriate
graphs or charts.
- Distinguish between primary and secondary sources.
- Formulate a research question about the past that includes
its "people", "space", and "time"
- Identify sources in the school or local library that will
help answer a research question.
- Locate on the World Wide Web one source pertaining to
each of "people", "space", and "time"
dimensions of a research question.
Students who meet the standard understand the development of significant political events.
- Identify turning points in United States political history.
- Summarize the causes and effects of ideas and actions
of significant political figures during the Colonial Period.
- Analyze political events, figures, and ideas in the colonies
that led to the American Revolution. (US)
- List the key figures, events, and ideas in the development
of the United States government during the Early National
- Identify turning points in world political history. (W)
- Identify significant political leaders of the non-Western
world (e.g., Genghis Khan, Gandhi, Mandela). (W)
- Describe major developments in the evolution of Western
political systems (e.g., Greek democracy, Roman republic,
Magna Carta and Common Law, the Enlightenment). (W)
- Analyze the consequences of political ideas and actions
taken by significant individuals in the past. (W)
Students who meet the standard understand the development of economic systems.
- Identify turning points in United States economic history.
- Describe the economic choices people made or were forced
to make during the development of the early economy of the
United States. (US)
- Describe how slavery and indentured servitude were related
to the wants of economic interest groups in the United States.
- Explain how the economic choices people made in the past
affected their political and social lives and their environment.
- Identify turning points in world economic history (e.g.,
manorial system, cultural exchanges, capitalism, industrial
revolution, information revolution). (W)
- Describe the impact of trade on the development of early
- Identify the differences between agricultural and industrial
Students who meet the standard understand Illinois, United States, and world social history.
- Compare and contrast family and community life in two
or more American colonies in terms of the colonists' motives
for settling there. (US)
- Use a variety of sources to describe how people organized
colonial society. (US)
- Compare and contrast changes in family life as people
moved from one geographic region to another during the period
of westward expansion. (US)
- Assess the influence that significant people had on the
social lives of others in Illinois or the United States.
- Identify turning points in world social history. (W)
- Discuss how the roles of men, women, and children in past
cultures have changed over time. (W)
- Describe how a cultural exchange occurred between two
societies of the past (W)
Students who meet the standard understand Illinois, United States, and world environmental history.
- Identify turning points in United States environmental
- Explain how a community or state's location helps to understand
its growth and development over time. (US)
- Organize a series of Illinois or United States maps on
one environmental theme into an historical atlas. (US)
- Describe how various people around North America used
human or animal power to cultivate crops before the onset
of mechanized technology. (US)
- Provide an example of how some people continue to depend
on human or animal power to survive in North America. (US)
- Describe the physical and cultural features of life in
the pre-colonial Illinois country using images documenting
the archaeological record. (US)
- Describe the effects of a significant invention or technological
innovation on the physical and cultural environment of Illinois
between 1700 and 1818. (US)
- Identify turning points in world environmental history.
- Identify on a map the location of the major world political
powers, over time, and explain how their location fostered
their growth and development. (W)
- Organize a series of maps on one environmental theme into
an historical atlas. (W)
- Compare the cultural features of the environment of settled
societies with those of hunter-gatherer cultures. (W)
- Describe how various people around the globe used animals
to cultivate crops in early world history. (W)
- Provide examples of how some people continue to depend
on animal power to survive in their environment. (W)
- Describe the physical and cultural features of life in
the ancient world using images documenting the archaeological
Students who meet the standard can locate, describe and explain places, regions and features on Earth.
- Mark major ocean currents, wind patterns, landforms, and
climate regions on a map.
- Create thematic maps and graphs of the students' local
community, Illinois, United States, and the world using
data and a variety of symbols and colors (e.g., to indicate
patterns of population, disease, economic features, rainfall,
- Describe the locations of major physical and human features
in the community.
- Explain how major urban centers in Illinois are connected
to other urban centers in Illinois and the United States
(e.g., transportation arteries, communication systems, cultural
and recreational relationships).
- Design symbols as references for map interpretation and
place them in a legend/key to be used on a map.
- Determine the absolute location of places chosen by the
teacher and students using a map grid with latitude and
Students who meet the standard can analyze and explain characteristics and interactions of Earth's physical systems.
- Demonstrate understanding of Earth/Sun relationship by
preparing a model or by designing a demonstration to show
the tilt of Earth in relation to the Sun in order to explain
day/night and length of day at different locations on Earth.
- Explain how and why people alter the physical environment
(e.g., by creating irrigation projects, clearing land to
make room for houses and shopping centers, planting crops,
- Explain the process of erosion and its effects of rainfall
on unprotected soil surfaces (e.g., newly tilled farm fields,
- Explain the relationship between plants and animals in
a local ecosystem.
Students who meet the standard can understand relationships between geographic factors and society.
- Create a map showing the occurrence of natural hazards
in Illinois and the United States.
- Map the location of students in your school by coloring
the different areas (cafeteria, classrooms, gym, etc.) to
show different population densities at a given time of day.
- Analyze map and aerial photos of the local community and
Illinois to determine how humans use, abuse, and protect
- Identify factors that influence the location of cities
(e.g., transportation arteries, physical features, migration,
Students who meet the standard can understand the historical significance of geography.
- Compare maps of the United States showing landforms, climate,
and natural vegetation regions to maps that show population
distribution to identify the relationship between settlement
and physical features.
- Analyze how customs and traditions of people from different
parts of the world change over time.
- Describe how physical characteristics of a region or a
nation influence people's point of view and the decisions
they make over time (e.g., scarcity of water influences
water usage, mining resources in mountainous regions, logging
forested land in forested areas).
Students who meet the standard can compare characteristics of culture as reflected in language, literature, the arts, traditions, and institutions.
- Describe how culture is shared through music, art, and
literature throughout the world over time.
- Describe how an artistic tradition has been changed by
technology (e.g., photography, music).
- Describe how social celebrations (parades, fairs) reinforce
- Compare the celebration of holidays by cultures throughout
- Compare cultural differences/similarities with students
from a different part of the United States.
Students who meet the standard can understand the roles and interactions of individuals and groups in society.
- Analyze how social institutions or groups meet the needs
- Explain how interactions of individuals and groups impact
the local community.
- Describe how national institutions affect individuals in
the local community.
- Give an example of how different social institutions or groups
(e.g., religious, nonprofit and community groups) address
the same social problem.
Students who meet the standard can understand how social systems form and develop over time.
- Define belief system.
- Describe ways school administrators, teachers, students,
and parents can cooperate to address school issues.
- Identify historically significant people who affected
social life or institutions.
Return to Social Science Classroom
Assessments and Performance Descriptors