Social Studies for the Elementary and Middle Grades


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 Cynthia Sunal & Haas, Mary

A constructivist

 Social Studies for the Elementary and Middle Grades provides knowledge and structure to be internalized and strategies which help students have the power to control the learning process on individual basis. The recent research and models of relating theory    into lessons units and plans are very diverse for learners in the current teaching of the 21st century. The text by Mary Hass and Sunal Cynthia acts as a guiding text for preservice teachers of social studies based on constructivists framework.

Each chapter is organized into the framework models for example; in each introductory section of the chapter there is an expository activity which challenges students to memorize the previous learned knowledge through reflection. These models act as teachers guide in helping students find the activities and explanations which build the development of their social studies and understanding the pedagogical knowledge from the content…  This ends up helping students in the phase of expansion where they have to apply the main ideas.

Constructivist Lesson planning according to the research by Sunal & Haas is a scaffolding based learning. The constructivist method involves planning substantially when implementing the methodology of constructivist learning and testing students ability to develop the skills of critical thinking. These skills are supposed to be learned by each student. Constructivist lessons therefore, include various mythological approaches which are both indirect and direct projects to help students to fully participate in the classroom.

The lessons designs based on constructivists approach are designed in such a way which every student is helped to learn the skills of exploring new attitudes, new approaches and ways for better understanding of the content being discussed (Sunal and Hass 2002). In applying the constructivist lesson planning in my Classroom, I will have to first acknowledge that each planning phase is meant for a specified purpose which helps students to view learning as a reality and at the same time, they are able to enhance their process of learning. 

In the implementation of the constructivist model in teaching, I will call, upon students to get the ideas in this framework so that when they start learning they can be able to infer the right meaning of the constructivism concept. During the lesson, I have to analyze the resource materials and the lessons themselves to ensure that students are gaining the skills to help in self regulation (Molebash, 2004).  This is one of the criteria required in the constructivist lesson plan profile or ensure that both the students and educators participate in ensuring students understand the content and are assessed.

As an educator I have to observe the students behaviors to ensure that they achieve well in their academics. Students should be encouraged to develop precise objectives and learning throughout their learning years.  The constructivist   planning requires that I ensure themes, topic and the general unit is well substantiated in order to help students organize information. My instructional  objectives and goals should also include   the  goals  for each grade level, overall performance and lessons plan presentation  which  should  all be integrated  with  the area of the content.

The interpretation of students learning according to constructivists approach should aim towards progress by solving all the challenges students face in their leaning tasks.  The constructivist lessons provide a remedy to theories of information processing and behavior deficiencies.


Molebash (2004) preservice teacher perception of technology enriched methods course, pp 412-432.

 Sunal, C. S., & Haas, M. E. (2008). Social studies for the elementary and middle grades: A constructivist approaches Boston: Pearson Education.
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