Kansas Education Regulation:

KAR 91-31-35 “(a) Each local board of education shall adopt a written policy specifying that pupils are eligible for graduation only upon completion of at least the following requirements: … (2) three units of history and government, which shall include world history; United States history; United States government, including the Constitution of the United States; concepts of economics and geography; and, except as otherwise provided in S.B.R. 91-31-32, a course of instruction in Kansas history and government…”


The Kansas Standards for History, Government, and Social   Studies: 

This document is designed to provide a uniform guide for instruction and is not intended to be a state-mandated curriculum for how and when content is taught. These decisions are left to local districts.

Mission Statement: “The Kansas Standards for History, Government, and Social Studies prepare students to be informed, thoughtful, engaged citizens as they enrich their communities, state, nation, world, and themselves.” Kansas Curricular Standards for History, Government, and Social Studies include standards, benchmarks and indicators. Benchmarks exist for all grades, with grade-appropriate Knowledge and/or Application Indicators by grade level. Benchmarks cover the rule of law, shared ideals and diversity of American society, the U.S. constitution, active civic participation and various systems of governments.

Grade 1

Civics/Government (CG): In this unit, students focus on the basic concepts of rules and laws as they apply to family, school, and being a citizen of Kansas and United States. Students will recognize that rules have positive consequences, such as keeping them safe and negative consequences if they ignore safety rules. They will investigate the shared ideals within American society, such as, truth, fairness, justice, loyalty, and freedom. Students will examine personal character traits including trustworthiness, citizenship, respect, fairness, responsibility, and caring (e.g., Six Pillars of Character). They will analyze the qualities of being a leader and leadership in their home and school. Students will analyze privileges they have at home and school and understand why and how benefits are granted or taken away. They recognize that people can make rules and leaders can enforce them both at home and at school.

Grade 2

Civics/Government (CG): This unit introduces basic concepts of rules and laws as they apply to today and in the past. Students will recognize the citizens have responsibilities. They will identify and demonstrate key attributes of good citizens and analyze what makes a good leader for their classroom or school.
Students will recognize that many rules in America today and in the past are from the U.S. Constitution. They will use their knowledge about rules and citizenship to create rules for their classroom.

Grade 3

Civics/Government: Students will recognize that all towns/cities in the United States have laws, and all citizens have equal rights and responsibilities as set forth in both the state and U.S. Constitution. Students will define the rule of law as it applies to individuals, family, school, and local governments. Students will recognize and evaluate the shared ideals in the United States, such as the right to vote and freedom of religion and speech.

Grade 4

Civics/Government: Students will recognize that all towns/cities in the United States have laws, and all citizens have equal rights and responsibilities as set forth in both the state and U.S. Constitution. Students will define the rule of law as it applies to individuals, family, school, and local governments. Students will recognize and evaluate the shared ideals in the United States, such as the right to vote and freedom of religion and speech.

Grade 5

  • Colonization: 1600s–1760s: This period of history focuses on the establishment, growth, and distinctive qualities of the various colonies. This includes the marked regional, political, social, and economic differences between the New England, Middle, and Southern colonies. Students should examine how these differences shaped the individuality of these colonies.
    • Ideas: wealth and resources, indentured and involuntary servitude/slavery, trade, religious freedom, governing, salutary neglect, social and gender issues, aristocracy
    • People/Roles: Sir Walter Raleigh, Pilgrims, Roger Williams, King George III, Anne Hutchinson, Puritans, Quakers, Peter Stuyvesant, William Penn
    • Places/Institutions: thirteen original colonies, Atlantic Ocean, New England colonies, Middle colonies, Southern colonies, West Africa, Great Britain
    • Events: charter, development of agriculture based economy, slavery, Mayflower Compact, English Bill of Rights, Triangular Trade Route, Great Awakening, Middle Passage, charter system
  • The Road to Independence: 1750s–1770s: The period leading up to the Declaration of Independence is shaped by Enlightenment ideas, geography, and conflict. The Enlightenment ideas should be studied for their influence on individual and natural rights of citizens. The geographic separation of the colonies from the English Crown by the Atlantic Ocean allowed for the free flow of these revolutionary, and at times radical, ideas. Conflicts abounded in this period from within and without. Students should examine how the Enlightenment ideas, economics, conflicts, and geography come together in the Declaration of Independence and ultimately the American Revolution.
    • Ideas: taxation without representation, independence, alliance, natural rights, Enlightenment, monarchy
    • People/Roles: Pontiac, King George III, Founding Fathers, Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams
    • Places/Institutions: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Canada, Atlantic Ocean
    • Events: Boston Tea Party, Boston Massacre, Stamp Act, Sugar Act, Townshend Acts, Intolerable Acts, French and Indian War, Enlightenment, Proclamation of 1763
  • The American Revolution: 1770s–1780s: The American Revolution cast a vision for a nation founded upon revolutionary ideas. The British attempts to regain its colonies are consistent with the actions of a sovereign nation. The American Revolution should be studied for a variety of reasons. Among these include efforts to organize a government based on these ideas, the hardships and successes faced by the revolutionary army, the effects of the revolution on the home front, and the global context of the American Revolution.
    • Ideas: independence, self-government, freedom, liberty, equality, revolution
    • People/Roles: Loyalists, Patriots, Minutemen, Redcoats, Francis Marion, Continental Army, Benedict Arnold, Ben Franklin, King George III, Abigail Adams, James Forten
    • Places/Institutions: Lexington and Concord, Saratoga, Bunker Hill, Yorktown, Paris, France, London, England, First and Second Continental Congresses
    • Events: Declaration of Independence, First and Second Continental Congresses, Common Sense, Treaty of Paris, “Shot heard round the world”
  • Building a New Nation: 1770s–1790s: The post-revolutionary period in the United States is a critical moment in U.S. history. During this era the American Experiment goes through a period of refinement while dealing with the difficulties faced by the new nation.
    • Ideas: individual rights, limited government, separation of powers, checks and balances, federalism, slavery, suffrage, religious freedom, states’ rights
    • People/Roles: Founding Fathers, Federalists, Anti-Federalists, president, representative, senator, judge, George Washington’s administration, Elizabeth Freeman, Phillis Wheatley
    • Places/Institution: Philadelphia, Northwest Territory, Kentucky, District of Columbia
    • Events: Articles of Confederation, Constitutional Convention, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Shays’ Rebellion, Great Compromise, Three-Fifths Compromise

Grade 8

The eighth grade course of study begins with a review of the major ideas, issues, and events of the founding of the nation and Constitutional Period.

  • Establishing America: 1787—1830s: In this unit, students consider the enormous tasks that faced the new nation as well as studying its leaders during this difficult period. The United States had to demonstrate that it could survive as an independent country.
    • Ideas: Federalism, Bill of Rights, Jacksonian democracy, growth of executive power, growth of judicial power, individual freedom, Marshall Court
    • People/Roles: Founding Fathers
    • Events: three-fifths Compromise, Great Compromise, Missouri Compromise
    • Sample Compelling Questions.
      • What were the most important choices made by the creators of the U.S. Constitution?
      • Why were some living in America given the rights and responsibilities of citizens but others living in America were not?
  • March to War: 1850s-1861: The issue of slavery, and its economic impact, became too divisive and led to secession by the Confederate States of America. Students should investigate the challenge to the Constitution and the Union caused by the secession of the Confederate states and their doctrine of nullification.
    • Ideas: expansion of slavery, abolitionism, enslaved person resistance, secessionism, popular sovereignty
    • Events: Wilmot Proviso, election of 1848, Compromise of 1850, Kansas-Nebraska Act, Dred Scott v. Sanford, Fugitive Slave Act, Civil War, establishment of Confederate States of America
    • Sample Compelling Questions:
      • Could the Civil War have been prevented?
      • How did the idea of popular sovereignty impact the lives of those living in Kansas and Missouri?

High School

  • Principles and Foundations of the U.S. Constitution: The Constitution of the United States was written by a small number of men over a short period of time. The beliefs, values, and ideas worked into the fabric of that document developed and evolved over a long period of time and were influenced by a wide range of cultural and historical experiences. Students need more than a superficial knowledge of that background. It is not enough to say, “Greece is the birthplace of Democracy.” They also need to know that Greek democracy did not include the commitment to human and civil rights considered essential to modern democracy.
  • There are also distinctive characteristics of American society that have influenced our choice of government. These include a commitment to equality, a strong sense of individualism, and a society with tremendous ethnic, racial, religious, and cultural diversity. Students need to think about and discuss the implications of these distinctive characteristics on our civic life and institutions.
    • Ideas: enlightenment, patriotism, limited government, popular sovereignty, separation of power, checks and balances, federalism, rule of law, natural rights, compromise
    • People/Roles: Plato, Founding Fathers, Locke, Montesquieu, Voltaire
    • Places/Institutions Philadelphia, Greece, Rome, Parliament, Events Magna Carta, Constitutional Convention, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, ratification of the Constitution
    • Sample Compelling Questions:
      • What is the role of compromise in our diverse democracy?
      • What is the more important role of government, to protect rights or maintain order?
      • How well does the Constitution reflect the ideas in the Declaration of Independence?
      • How has the idea “All men are created equal” changed over time?
      • What is meant by “We the People”?
  • The Structure and Function of the Federal Government: While the government course deals with many important ideas that lend themselves to discussion and debate, there is also a certain amount of foundational knowledge students need to understand about how government is structured and functions. A detailed look at each of the three branches is necessary for deep understanding of the structure and processes of governing. In order for students to realize the relevance of what they are learning, an ongoing discussion of current political events should be incorporated into the course. Students should learn the names of key members of each branch of government, and be following some ongoing issues facing the nation and the state. Domestic and foreign policy issues should be discussed, as well as any current Supreme Court decisions.
    • Ideas: federalism, separation of powers, expressed and implied powers, concurrent and reserved powers, judicial review
    • People/Roles: president, senator, representative, Electoral College, Supreme Court Justices, Cabinet
    • Place/Institutions: legislative, executive, judicial, Capitol
    • Sample Compelling Questions
      • Why did the founders choose a Federal system?
      • How have Supreme Court cases affected society?
      • How is the Constitution a living document?
      • How has the role of government changed?
      • Which of the three branches wields the most power?
  • Human and Civil Rights in American Democracy: Students need to understand that American democracy evolved from the “tyranny of the majority” that could be found in ancient Greek democracy into a model based on individual rights, protection of the minority, and compatible with a culturally diverse society. Students need to know how concepts of rights have changed over time and how social and governmental institutions have responded to issues of rights and diversity. Key Supreme Court cases such as Dred Scott, Plessy, Brown, and Miranda, as well as the Bill of Rights, may be used as a foundation for class discussion. Students should know the basic outline of the history of the Civil Rights Movement, the struggle for women’s suffrage, and later movements for equality.
    • Ideas: procedural due process, substantive due process, habeas corpus, bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, cruel and unusual punishment, civil disobedience
    • People/Roles: civic responsibilities, immigration and naturalization, Griswold v. Connecticut, Miranda v. AZ, Engel v. Vitale, Dred Scott, Plessv. Ferguson, Brown v. Topeka Board of Education
    • Places/Institutions: student’s rights, Miranda Rules, Supreme Court, civil rights law, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title I, Title IX, affirmative action
    • Sample Compelling Questions:
      • Where do your rights end and your neighbor’s begin?
      • How could it be possible for everyone to be in a minority group?
      • What is the role of the Supreme Court in determining human and civil rights?
      • In what ways might limits on our rights be justified?