In grade 4, students study the geography and people of the United States today. Students learn geography by addressing standards that emphasize political and physical geography and embed five major concepts: location, place, human interaction with the environment, movement, and regions. In addition, they learn about the geography and people of contemporary Mexico and CanadA. Teachers may choose to teach the standards on the geography and social characteristics of the nations in Central America and the Caribbean Islands. Teachers may also choose to have students study in the first half of the school year one early civilization. We recommend China because it is not taught in grade 7 and can be easily connected to the English language arts curriculum through its myths, legends, and folktales.
Regions of the United States
Building on knowledge from previous years, students should be able to:
4.8 On a map of the world, locate North America. On a map of North America, locate the United States, the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, Gulf of Mexico, Mississippi and Rio Grande Rivers, the Great Lakes, Hudson Bay, and the Rocky and Appalachian Mountain ranges. (G)
4.9 On a map of North America, locate the current boundaries of the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii). Locate the New England, Middle Atlantic, Atlantic Coast/Appalachian, Southeast/Gulf, South Central, Great Lakes, Plains, Southwest Desert, and Pacific states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. See Appendix H for a listing of states in each region. (G)
4.10 Identify the states, state capitals, and major cities in each region. (G)
4.11 Describe the climate, major physical features, and major natural resources in each region. (G)
4.12 Identify and describe unique features of the United States (e.g., the Everglades, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, the Redwood Forest, Yellowstone National Park, and Yosemite National Park). (G)
4.13 Identify major monuments and historical sites in and around Washington, D.C. (e.g., the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, the Smithsonian Museums, the Library of Congress, the White House, the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the National Archives, Arlington National Cemetery, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial, and Mount Vernon). (G)
4.14 Identify the five different European countries (France, Spain, England, Russia, and the Netherlands) that influenced different regions of the present United States at the time the New World was being explored and describe how their influence can be traced to place names, architectural features, and language. (H, G)
4.15 Describe the diverse nature of the American people by identifying the distinctive contributions to American culture of:
- several indigenous peoples in different areas of the country (e.g., Navajo, Seminoles, Sioux, Hawaiians, and Inuits).
- African Americans, including an explanation of their early concentration in the South because of slavery and the Great Migration to northern cities in the 20th century, and recent African immigrant groups (e.g., Ethiopian) and where they tended to settle in large numbers.
- major European immigrant groups who have come to America, locating their countries of origin and where they tended to settle in large numbers (e.g., English, Germans, Italians, Scots, Irish, Jews, Poles, and Scandinavians).
major Spanish-speaking (e.g., Cubans, Mexicans) and Asian (e.g., Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese) immigrant groups who have come to America in the 19th and 20th centuries, locating
- their countries of origin and where they tended to settle in large numbers. (H, G)
4.16 Identify major immigrant groups that live in Massachusetts and where they now live in large numbers (e.g., English, Irish, Italians, French Canadians, Armenians, Greeks, Portuguese, Haitians, and Vietnamese). (H, G)
Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework August 2003