Social Studies

The goal of social studies is to make sure that all students graduate from high school prepared for college, a career, and a future as a productive adult.

Students use rich content, themes and big ideas to learn history, geography, economics, civics, citizenship and government. They also use important skills to “think like historians.”

Teachers also include literacy in the social studies classroom. This helps students use evidence from text when reading, writing, and discussing.

To support teachers and students, the Social Studies Department has produced a curriculum called Passport to Social Studies. New York City educators created it for our students, and it is meant to prepare children for the global community.

Curriculum Resources

Social Studies Activities for Families

Family Photos

Show your child family photographs and talk about your own childhood and how it was similar to or different from your child’s experiences.

Create a Family Tree

Encourage children to interview other family members to learn about different cultural and historical events that were witnessed by family members.

Learn your Neighborhood History

Take a tour and look for historic sites, monuments, and markers. Write down the names of the streets, look them up online, and build connections to today.

Create a Timeline

At your local library, look up the front pages of newspapers and magazines of the day, month, and year when your child was born. Read the articles together and share how life was the same and different during that time period. What surprised your child about the life and world on his or her birth date? What connections do the articles make to today?

Oral History

Record a conversation with a grandparent or a family member about a particular historical event they were a part of. Find out why the event mattered to the family member. What role did they play? How do they want the event remembered? Review the recording, then research the event at local library, noticing similarities and differences with the family member's version.

Sharing Memories

Share the meaning of a keepsake or family treasure that means something to your family. Encourage your child to photograph the item and write a story about it.

Maps and Monuments

Find buildings with flags and monuments in your neighborhood and learn more about them.

Walk five blocks each way from the entrance of your home and draw a map of your local neighborhood. Write down names and draw symbols for what you see.

Street Names and NYC History

Notice the names of the streets in your neighborhood and research their meanings.

Take a free tour with a city park ranger or visit a national park. For more information about our parks visits:

Historical Fiction

Choose a historical fiction novel and read it together each day. Discuss key elements together. Your local librarian can provide recommendations based on grade level.

Travel Map

Using a map or globe, pick out places that you have traveled to or would like to visit. Mark them and create a list that describes the highlights of each place. Involve your child in planning a family trip. Ask them to plot each stop or important landmark on a map. Find out what type(s) of food, music and art you might encounter along the way.

Movie Night and Discussion

Watch a historical film together and discuss, then learn more about the event at your local library.

Educator Resources

Teachers and other educators can find curriculum and instructional materials on We Teach NYC.