Drawing on interview data, the authors describe K-3 students' knowledge and thinking about basic aspects of the social world that are addressed in the elementary social studies curriculum. The interviews focused on human activities relating to nine cultural universals that are commonly addressed in the elementary social studies curriculum: food, clothing, shelter, communication, transportation, family living, childhood, money, and government. This volume synthesizes findings from the research and discusses their implications for curriculum and instruction in early social studies.
Children's Thinking About Cultural Universals significantly expands the knowledge base on developments in children's social knowledge and thinking and, in addition, provides a wealth of information to inform social studies educators' and curriculum developers' efforts to match instruction to students' prior knowledge, both by building on already developed valid knowledge and by addressing common misconceptions. It represents a quantum leap in the availability of information on the trajectories of children's knowledge about common topics in primary elementary social studies education.
"The work of Jere Brophy and Janet Alleman on cultural universals is well known in social studies education….It is important work…in tune with growing interest over the last 10-15 years in the subject-specific character of teaching, learning, and even curriculum design….Its relevance extends beyond social studies to fields such as science and child development."
—Stephen J. Thornton
Teachers College, Columbia University
Contents: Introduction. Food. Clothing. Shelter. Communication. Transportation. Family Living. Government. Money and Childhood. Variation Across Socioeconomic Status, Achievement Level, and Gender. Overall Trends in the Findings and Their Implications for Early Social Studies.