2nd grade skills checklist: social studies

Success in second grade requires a child to be a much more independent learner than she was in first grade. Is your child ready?

Learning Stages

Second grade readiness checklists

Social studies

  • Compares everyday life in different places and times
  • Understands that history tells stories about real events and real people of other times and places
  • Understands broad categories of time and calendar time
  • Recognizes cultural differences, traditions and contributions
  • Knows some significant individuals in United States history, such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Knows the people and events honored by commemorative holidays
  • Knows why and how historical buildings such as the White House, monuments such as Mt. Rushmore, and statues such as the Statue of Liberty are linked to history
  • Uses simple maps, globes and other means to identify and locate places of personal significance (Grandma lives in New York, our vacation will be in Arizona, etc.)
  • Identifies the seven continents and their common characteristics
  • Identifies the modes of transportation used to move people, products and ideas
  • Understands how and why rules are made
  • Recognizes major elected officials such as the President and the Governor of your state
  • Understands the basic concept that government officials are voted into office by their constituents
  • Understands the role and responsibility of the citizen in American democracy (such as voting, staying informed)
  • Begins to understand basic concepts of supply, demand and limited resources
  • Distinguishes the difference between human and natural resources
  • Distinguishes the difference between goods and services, and between consumers and producers
  • Begins to understand basic concepts of markets and exchange
  • Understands the basic functions of a bank

Tips for parents to help children prepare for a diverse world:

  • Discuss your family's cultural background, make traditional foods and sing traditional songs when you can bring different generations of your family together.
  • Look through family photographs and discuss how the daily life of today is different from what your grandparents experienced. Create an album that compares your grandparents clothes, foods and modes of transportation versus those your child experiences today.
  • Introduce your child to music, food, clothing and stories from other cultures.
  • Seek out opportunities to visit historical places. Use the Internet as a vehicle to take your child on “virtual history trips” around the world.
  • Point out the faces of people on American coins, stamps and paper currency; explain why these people are remembered so fondly.