Elementary Social Studies Grade 5

1.0 Credit
36 weeks

In Social Studies Grade 5, students focus on American history through 1850 from Native Americans through exploration, colonization, and early-American history. Students develop a firm understanding of important concepts and skills related to history, geography, economics, and citizenship.

Please view the Elementary Parents Guide for Grades 3-5 with guidance on helping your student transition to online learning and thrive at VLACS.

Major Topics and Concepts

Segment One

  • Ancient North American civilizations
  • European exploration
  • 13 colonies
  • American Revolution

Segment Two

  • Founding a new country
  • Westward expansion
  • Problem solving
  • Citizenship

Course Materials

To achieve success, students are expected to submit work in each course weekly. Students can learn at their own pace; however, “any pace” still means that students must make progress in the course every week. To measure learning, students complete self-checks, practice lessons, multiple choice questions, projects, discussion-based assessments, and discussions. Students and families are expected to maintain regular contact with teachers because, when teachers, students, and parents work together, students are successful.

Required Materials – Please view the list of materials before registering.


Early North American Civilizations

I can identify geographic regions using coordinates. I can compare cultural aspects of ancient American civilizations. I can identify Native American tribes from different geographic regions. I can explain the role of trade in pre-Columbian times.

European Exploration and Impact

I can explain the reasons for European exploration. I can describe technological developments related to European exploration. I can compare European explorations to North America. I can describe interactions between Native Americans and settlers from different nations. I can explain the role of trade in North America during the 16th century.

Colonizing North America

I can identify the original thirteen colonies on a map of North America. I can explain the political, economic, and socio-cultural reasons for colonial settlement. I can describe the political, economic, and social characteristics of the New England colonies. I can describe the contributions of individuals to the political, economic, and social characteristics of the development of the colonies. I can differentiate slavery of the Southern colonies. I can explain the reason for Triangular Trade and the role of trade in economic growth in North America.

American Revolution

I can explain the causes and effects of events leading up to the American Revolution. I can describe the roles of Patriots, Loyalists, and women in the American Revolution. I can compare battles and military campaigns of the American Revolution. I can explain the impact of foreign allies on the outcome of the American Revolution. I can explain political concepts addressed in the Declaration of Independence. I can explain the military, political, and economic factors that helped end the war.

Creating and Developing A United Nation

I can explain the role of the Continental Congress in establishing the United States. I can identify the weaknesses of the Articles of confederation. I can describe the purpose of the Constitution. I can compare Federalist and Anti-Federalist views of government. I can explain the organization of the federal government according to the Constitution. I can explain the rights protected by the Bill of Rights and examples of amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Growth and Westward Expansion

I can describe the causes and effects of the Louisiana Purchase. I can explain the causes and effects of the War of 1812. I can explain the connection between Manifest Destiny and the impacts of westward expansion and technological advancements. I can describe push and pull factors that promoted westward expansion. I can explain the effects of the Missouri Compromise. I can interpret primary and secondary sources to explain the effect of westward expansion on Native Americans.

United States Current Events

I can identify United States capitals, and territories. I can explain the role of a good citizen. I can identify local, state, and national problems using geography concepts. I can identify the role of civic and political groups in helping citizens.