New York State K-12 Social Studies Resource Toolkit

students working in classroom

The Toolkit is designed to put instructional and curriculum design tools into the hands of teachers and leaders in local districts. The Toolkit resources focus on implementation of the Inquiry Arc, as presented in The College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards, including the four dimensions: (1) Developing questions and planning inquiries, (2) Applying disciplinary concepts and tools, (3) Evaluating sources and using evidence and (4) Communicating conclusions and taking informed action.

The Conceptual Foundations provides the intellectual foundation for the Toolkit project and specifically, the Inquiry Design Model. The Inquiry Design Model (IDM) is a distinctive approach to creating instructional materials that avoids over-prescription by highlighting key elements, offering pedagogical suggestions, and relying on teacher expertise and experience.

Written by New York State teachers for New York State teachers, the centerpiece of the Toolkit are inquiries that are provided for all K-12 teachers.  An inquiry is larger than a lesson plan but smaller than a unit; they are not scripts or modules for teachers to follow. Rather, these inquiries set a curricular and instructional course that teachers can consider in light of the NY Framework.  In this way, teachers must bring their professional expertise and knowledge of successful instructional practice into the inquiry.

Within the Toolkit are 84 inquiries: six at each grade K-11 and twelve at grade 12 (six each for Economics and Participation in Government). Each of the inquiries features a blueprint and a short description of how the inquiry might be taught. Fourteen of the inquiries (one at each grade K-11 and two at grade 12) are fully annotated with explanations. Review of the annotated inquiry is a recommended first step for teachers, as it provides considerable curricular and instructional guidance in implementing an inquiry-based approach.

Select a grade band below to see the array of inquiries being developed for each grade level. By viewing the topics for each inquiry, curriculum teams can begin planning their work to develop additional inquiries for the remaining grade-level topics.

Topics and Key Ideas of Toolkit Inquiries

Kindergarten-Grade 4 Inquiry Topics and Key Ideas

Grades 5-8 Inquiry Topics and Key Ideas

Grades 9-12 Inquiry Topics and Key Ideas

Downloadable Resources

Resources may contain links to sites external to the website. These sites may not be within the jurisdiction of NYSED and in such cases NYSED is not responsible for its content.