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Foundations of the Social Studies Standards

  • Social Studies: A Call to Action - This report was published by the Iowa Department of Education in 2015. The data were collected from teachers and administrators across the state in order to gauge the status of social studies in Iowa.
  • C3 Framework: Published in 2013 by the National Council for the Social Studies, the C3 Framework served as a foundational document for Iowa’s social studies standards. Check out several resources on the C3 Framework from the National Council for the Social Studies and C3 Teachers.
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Iowa Social Studies Standards

View printable cards of the standards by grade level:

9th-12th Grade:

6th-12th Grade Literacy in History/Social Studies Standards

 K-12 inquiry anchor standard progressions:

Printable cards of the progression of the standards by content area:

View the Iowa Social Studies Standards as a poster, formatted as a MS Excel (.xlsx) document.

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Instructional Shifts

What instructional shifts do the standards require? Teachers must think about four instructional shifts as they are planning for effective implementation of Iowa’s social studies standards. Check out an Overview of Iowa Core in Social Studies Instructional Shifts. They are:

  • Craft questions that spark and sustain an inquiry
  • Integrate skills and content purposefully
  • Provide opportunities for communicating conclusions and taking informed action
  • Engage in rigorous, student-centered learning
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Unpacking the Standards

The Glossary for the Iowa Social Studies Standards helps define and unpack the vocabulary used in the standards.

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Additional Resources


Check out the Iowa Core Parent Guides. Available in both English and Spanish, the guides provide an overview of what students will learn by the end of each grade level by the Iowa Core. Parent guides are available for each grade level of the Iowa Core standards.

Administrators/Curriculum Directors

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