Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks
Literacy Standards for History and Social Science
Grades 3-5 Reading Standards for Literacy in the Content Areas: History/Social Science
Key Ideas and Details
1 Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences (See grades 3-5 Writing Standard 8 for more on paraphrasing.)
2 Determine the main ideas of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize a text.
3 Explain events, ideas, and concepts in a civics, geography, economics, or history text, based on specific information in the text.
Craft and Structure
4 Determine the meaning of general academic vocabulary and words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity
10 Independently and proficiently read and comprehend history/social studies texts exhibiting complexity appropriate for the grades 3-5.
Grade 5 – United States History to the Civil War and the Modern Civil Rights Movement
Topic 1. Early colonization and growth of colonies – Supporting Question: To what extent was North America a land of opportunity, and for whom?
3 Analyze the reasons why English colonists had the strongest influence on the language, political institutions, and political principles of the country that became the United States of America, even though other major European nations also explored North America (e.g., the relatively small number of colonists from other nations, England’s history of self- government, high rates of literacy, and strong economic, and military position in the world).
4 On a map of the United States, locate the first 13 colonies and describe the impact of regional differences in climate on the types of crops that could be grown or harvested profitably in the Northern, mid-Atlantic, and Southern colonies; describe varied sources of labor (e.g., self-employed colonists, apprentices, employees, indentured servants, free and enslaved Africans).
5 Describe the origins of slavery, its legal status in all the colonies through the 18th century, and the prevalence of slave ownership, including by many of the country’s early leaders (e.g., George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Mason.)
6 Describe the Triangular Trade and the harsh conditions of trans-Atlantic voyages (called the Middle Passage) for enslaved Africans.
7 Compare and contrast the living and working conditions of enslaved and free Africans in the colonies in the 18th century, and explain how some enslaved people sought their freedom.
a. Enslaved African Americans were property that could be bought, sold, and separated from their families by their owners; they were generally not taught to read or write, and generally owned no property; they suffered many kinds of abuse and could be punished if they were caught after running away from their masters. A number of slave rebellions resulted from these harsh conditions.
b. Many enslaved Africans became skilled artisans, such as cabinetmakers, coopers, and ironworkers and could be hired out to work.
c. Some Africans came to America as indentured servants or sailors and were freed when their service was completed; some former slaves were granted freedom and some in the North took legal action to obtain their freedom (e.g., in Massachusetts, Elizabeth Freeman, Quock Walker, and Prince Hall).
Topic 2. Reasons for revolution, the Revolutionary War, and the formation of government – Supporting Questions: Why did most Native Peoples side with the French against the British in the French and Indian Wars? Were the colonists justified in rebelling against Great Britain in the American Revolution?
10 Explain the development of colonial governments and describe how these developments (e.g., legislative bodies, town meetings, and charters on individual freedoms and rights) contributed to the Revolution.