Second Grade Social Studies Scope and Sequence

  • Grade 2: My Community and Other Communities


    “My Community and Other Communities” is organized into five units of study—Individual Development and Cultural Identity; Civic Ideals and Practices; Geography, Humans, and the Environment; Time, Continuity, and Change; and Economic Systems.


    These units represent five of the unifying themes of social studies and may be presented in any order.

    Students study their local community and learn about characteristics that define urban, suburban, and rural communities.


    Democratic principles and participation in government are introduced. Interaction with the environment and changes to the environment and their impact are examined. The concept of change over time and examining cause and effect are introduced. Students will examine the availability of resources and the interdependence within and across communities.


    Individual Development and Cultural Identity


    2.1 A community is a population of various individuals in a common location. It can be characterized as urban, suburban, or rural. Population density and use of the land are some characteristics that define and distinguish types of communities.

    2.1a An urban community, or city, is characterized by dense population and land primarily occupied by buildings and structures used for residential and business purposes.

    2.1b Suburban communities are on the outskirts of cities, where human population is less dense, and buildings and homes are spaced farther apart.

    2.1c Rural communities are characterized by a large expanse of open land and significantly lower populations than urban or suburban areas.

    Ø  Students will identify the characteristics of urban, suburban, and rural communities and determine in which type of community they live.

    Ø  By discussing different types of housing (apartment, single-family house, etc.) and the proximity of houses to each other, students will understand the term “population density” and how it applies to different communities.

    2.1d Activities available for people living in urban, suburban, and rural communities are different. The type of community a person grows up in will affect a person’s development and identity.

    Ø  Students will identify activities that are available in each community type and discuss how those

    activities affect the people living in that community.


    2.2 People share similarities and differences with others in their own community and with other communities.


    2.2a People living in urban, suburban, and rural communities embrace traditions and celebrate holidays that reflect both diverse cultures and a common community identity.

    Ø  Students will examine the ethnic and/or cultural groups represented in their classroom.

    Ø  Students will explore the cultural diversity of their local community by identifying activities that have been introduced by different culture groups.

    Ø  Students will identify community events that help promote a common community identity.

    2.2b A community is strengthened by the diversity of its members with ideas, talents, perspectives, and cultures that can be shared across the community.

    Ø  Students will explore how different ideas, talents, perspectives, and culture are shared across their


    Civic Ideals and Practices


    2.3 The United States is founded on the principles of democracy, and these principles are reflected in all types of


    2.3a The United States is founded on the democratic principles of equality, fairness, and respect for authority and rules.

    Ø  Students will explore democratic principles such as dignity for all, equality, fairness, and respect for authority and rules, and how those principles are applied to their community.

    2.3b Government is established to maintain order and keep people safe. Citizens demonstrate respect for authority by obeying rules and laws.

    Ø  Students will examine the ways in which the government in their community provides order and keeps people safe and how citizens can demonstrate respect for authority.

    2.3c The process of holding elections and voting is an example of democracy in action in schools, communities, New York State, and the nation.

    Ø  Students will learn about the process of voting and what opportunities adults in the community have for participation.

    Ø  Students will participate in voting within the classroom and in school as appropriate.

    2.3d Symbols of American democracy serve to unite community members.

    Ø  Students will examine the symbols of the country including the eagle, American flag, the Statue of Liberty, the White House, and Mount Rushmore.


    2.4 Communities have rules and laws that affect how they function. Citizens contribute to a community’s government through leadership and service.

    2.4a Communities have the responsibility to make and enforce fair laws and rules that provide for   the common good.

    Ø  Students will explain the importance of making fair laws and rules, the benefits of following them, and the consequences of violating them.


    2.4b Communities have leaders who are responsible for making laws and enforcing laws.

    Ø  Students will identify who makes and enforces the rules and laws in their community. They will also explore how leaders make and enforce these rules and laws.


    2.4c Citizens provide service to their community in a variety of ways.

    Ø  Students will explore opportunities to provide service to their school community and the community at large (e.g., beautifying school grounds, writing thank-you notes to helpers).

    Ø  Students will identify how adults can provide service to the school and the community at large.

    2.5 Geography and natural resources shape where and how urban, suburban, and rural communities develop and how they sustain themselves.

    2.5a Urban, suburban, and rural communities can be located on maps, and the geographic  characteristics of these communities can be described using symbols, map legends, and geographic vocabulary.

    Ø  Students will locate their communities on maps and/or globes.

    Ø  Students will examine how land within a community is used and classify land use as “residential” (used for housing), “industrial” (used to make things), “commercial” (used to provide services), and “recreational” (where people play or do sports).

    Ø  Students will create maps including maps that represent their classroom, school, or community, and maps that illustrate places in stories.


    2.5b The location of physical features and natural resources often affects where people settle and may affect how those people sustain themselves.

    Ø  Students will compare how different communities in their state or nation have developed and explain how physical features of the community affect the people living there.


    2.5c Humans modify the environment of their communities through housing, transportation systems, schools, marketplaces, and recreation areas.

    Ø  Students will explore how humans have positively and negatively impacted the environment of their community though such features as roads, highways, buildings, bridges, shopping malls, railroads, and parks.

    Ø  Students will describe the means people create for moving people, goods, and ideas in their



    2.5d The location and place of physical features and man-made structures can be described using symbols and specific geography vocabulary.

    Ø  Students will use a compass rose to identify cardinal (North, South, East, West) and intermediate

    (Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, Northwest) directions on maps and in their community.

    Ø  Students will locate the equator, northern and southern hemispheres, and poles on a globe.

    Ø  Students will use maps and legends to identify major physical features such as mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans of the local community, New York, and the nation.


    Time, Continuity, and Change


    2.6 Identifying continuities and changes over time can help understand historical developments.

    2.6a Continuities and changes over time in communities can be described using historical thinking, vocabulary, and tools such as time lines.

    2.6b Continuities and changes over time in communities can be examined by interpreting evidence such as maps, population charts, photographs, newspapers, biographies, artifacts, and other historical materials.

    Ø  Students will examine continuities and changes over time in their community using evidence such as maps, population charts, photographs, newspapers, biographies, artifacts, and other historical materials.

    Ø  Students will develop a time line for their community including important events, such as when the school was built.


    2.7 Cause-and-effect relationships help us recount events and understand historical development.

    2.7a Cause-and-effect relationships help us understand the changes in communities.

    Ø  Students will distinguish between cause and effect and will examine changes in their community in terms of cause and effect (e.g., automobiles and the growth of suburbs, growing population in suburban areas, and reduction of farms).


    Economic Systems


    2.8 Communities face different challenges in meeting their needs and wants.


    2.8a The availability of resources to meet basic needs varies across urban, suburban, and rural communities.

    Ø  Students will investigate what resources are available in their community and what resources are

    obtained from neighboring communities.

    Students will examine how available resources differ in communities (e.g., home-grown food available

    in rural farm areas vs. shopping in supermarkets).

    2.8b People make decisions to buy, sell, and use money based on their needs, wants, and the availability of resources.

    Ø  Students will explore economic decision making and the use of money.

    2.8c Scarcity, the price of goods and services, and choice all influence economic decisions made by individuals and communities.

    Ø  Students will examine how consumers react to changes in the prices of goods.

    2.8d Taxes are collected to provide communities with goods and services.

    Students will explore the purpose of taxes and how they are collected in their community.


    2.9 A community requires the interdependence of many people performing a variety of jobs and services to provide basic needs and wants.

    2.9a Goods are the products a person or group of people makes. Services are actions performed by a person or group of people with a certain skill.

    Ø  Students will distinguish between goods and services and identify goods produced in their community.

    2.9b Members of a community specialize in different types of jobs that provide goods and/or services to the community. Community workers such as teachers, firefighters, sanitation workers, and police provide services.

    Ø  Students will identify different types of jobs performed in their community.

    Ø  Students will explain the services provided by community workers.

    2.9c At times, neighboring communities share resources and workers to support multiple communities.

    Ø  Students will explore how communities share resources and services with other communities.