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Social studies is the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence. Within the school program, social studies provides coordinated, systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as anthropology, archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and natural sciences. The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.

Definition of Social Studies
National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS)

Constitution Day

United States Constitution Day is September 17 of each year. Congress enacted legislation requiring all public schools to set aside one day during the week of September 17 to teach all students about the U.S. Constitution and about citizenship.

Consult these resources for ideas:

Social Studies Requirements for Teaching Endorsements

In Iowa teacher licensure is handled by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners.


Laws and Regulations

281--Iowa Administrative Code 12.5(3) describes social studies instruction at grade levels 1-12.


Social Studies in the Iowa Core

The Iowa Core provides local school districts and nonpublic schools a guide to delivering instruction based on consistent, challenging and meaningful content to students.


U.S. Senate Youth Program

A program, sponsored by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, designed to give young Americans a working knowledge of American political life.


National History Day

National History Day (NHD) is an exciting academic enrichment program that helps students discover historical issues, ideas, people, and events. This year-long academic adventure fosters students' enthusiasm for learning and their love for history.


Social Studies Update

The Social Studies Update is a monthly newsletter for Social Studies educators. To receive this newsletter in your email inbox, send an email requesting your free subscription to


Iowa Social Studies Websites

America's Legislators Back to School Program - The program, sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures , is designed to teach young people--the nation's future voters and leaders--what it's like to be a state legislator.

Geographic Alliance of Iowa - The Geographic Alliance of Iowa (GAI) was established in 1991 with the support of the National Geographic Society (NGS). GAI is composed of K-12 teachers, college and university professors, personnel from a variety of other educational endeavors, and citizens, all of whom are concerned with improving geographic instruction in Iowa.

Iowa Arts Council - The mission of the Iowa Arts Council is to enrich the quality of life for Iowans through support of the arts. The vision of the Iowa Arts Council is that Iowans recognize the arts are essential to their quality of life.

Iowa Council for the Social Studies - An association of educators who have come together to strengthen the social studies profession and social studies programs in the schools. An affiliate of the National Council for the Social Studies.

Iowa History Online - High quality instructional tools and online access to excellent teaching resources.

Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist - Rich resources for Iowa's teachers about preserving Iowa's human past through archaeological research, scientific discovery, public stewardship, service and education.

Iowa Pathways - Discover the people, places, events, and ideas of Iowa history.

Iowa World Language Association - The Iowa World Language Association (IWLA) is devoted to advancing the worldwide mission of education and world languages, literature and culture.

State Historical Society of Iowa - Educates Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state.


National Social Studies Websites

Census in Schools - Lessons and information to help teachers and students learn about the importance of the 2010 Census.

Center for Civic Education - A nonprofit, nonpartisan educational corporation dedicated to promoting an enlightened and responsible citizenry committed to democratic principles and actively engaged in the practice of democracy in the United States and other countries.

National Council for the Social Studies - Social studies educators teach students the content knowledge, intellectual skills, and civic values necessary for fulfilling the duties of citizenship in a participatory democracy. The mission of National Council for the Social Studies is to provide leadership, service, and support for all social studies educators.

National Center for History in the Schools - A nationally known organization that has engaged the talents of scores of classroom teachers and provided history educators across the nation with new historical resources and teaching strategies. NCHS’s double mission is (a) to aid the professional development of K-12 history teachers; and (b) to work with teachers to develop curricular materials that will engage students in exciting explorations of United States and World history.

National Council on Economic Education - A nationwide network that leads in promoting economic literacy with students and their teachers. NCEE's mission is to help students develop the real-life skills they need to succeed: to be able to think and choose responsibly as consumers, savers, investors, citizens, members of the workforce, and effective participants in a global economy.

The National Council for Geographic Education - An organization working to enhance the status and quality of geography teaching and learning.

Notable Trade Books for Young People - This link provides educators with an annotated list of trade books compiled by the National Council for the Social Studies and the Children's Book Council.

Our Courts - A free, interactive, web-based program designed to teach students civics and inspire them to be active participants in our democracy. It is the vision of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is concerned that students are not getting the information and tools they need for civic participation, and that civics teachers need better materials and support. On this site, you will find information and useful teaching resources for an engaging civics curriculum.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum - America’s national institution for the documentation, study, and interpretation of Holocaust history. This Web site offers Holocaust history, teaching resources and information about professional development opportunities for teachers.


Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on April 17, 2014 at 6:57am.