K-12 Overarching Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions

Overarching enduring understandings provide a conceptual foundation for all students. These statements focus on larger concepts or processes and the relationships that exist that foster transfer of discrete knowledge and skill. As these enduring understandings are written closer to the classroom and grade level, they become more specific and granular in levels of sophistication. 

Essential questions prompt inquiry, transfer and, through a PK-12 level lens, are more general in nature; providing the opportunity for students to answer the questions in progressively higher levels of sophistication as they progress through the grade levels. 

Enduring Understandings

Students understand that: 

  • When the fundamental needs of a society are not met, conflict and/or change will result.
  • Changes in society are catalysts for new opportunities in exploration and invention; likewise, exploration and invention stimulate change in society.
  • All change has both immediate and long-term roots in the past, as well as branches into the future.
  • Individuals can impact societies and even bring about change by reacting to the existing structure in accordance with their beliefs and ideals.
  • The survival of the individual members of a society depends on their ability to adapt to social and economic changes. 
  • Individual rights and responsibilities vary depending on the type of governance and the social and economic conditions of a society.
  • In order to be effective, systems of governance must meet the needs and values of society.
  • Governance is structured in accordance with the economic conditions and the social and cultural values of a society.
  • Societies must maintain equilibrium between individual freedoms and the welfare of the community as a whole. 
  • Economic systems are based on the relationship between the physical environment (including, climate, geography, and natural resources) and the lifestyles and cultural values of a society.
  • Supply of resources and demands of society affect the production, distribution, price, and consumption of goods and services.
  • Cultures make distinctions between the things that are necessary for survival and those that are considered luxuries. 
  • Division of labor enables societies to meet their economic needs.
  • Economic stability allows for the development of cultural institutions, while economic crises can spur important cultural changes.
  • Historical interpretation is influenced by the cultural perspective of the observer.
  • Culture is the product of the collective expression of human work and thought.
  • Societies are held together by common values and ideals.
  • Race, gender, age, and wealth contribute to class distinctions and social stratification.
  • Values, ethical norms, and traditions are communicated through education, the arts, literature and religion.
  • Each generation challenges, tests, and transforms the values it inherits.
  • The economic, social, and political practices of a society are all interdependent with its values.
  • Differences between cultures often veil similarities.
  • Relationships between cultures involve some combination of conflict and cooperation.
  • Analyzing history allows us to learn about ourselves and make informed decisions that shape our future.
Essential Questions

  • Why study history?

  • Who should have power?

  • How does where we live influence what we do?

  • To what extent is conflict inevitable?

  • To what extent does geography influence our lives?

  • What does culture look like and how do cultures influence each other?

  • Why do cultures clash?

  • What impact do economic choices have on our lives?

  • Why does human behavior enhance interactions?

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