Social studies in the elementary grades : a child's right

Aimée Mizuno, California State University, Monterey Bay

Thesis (M.A.) Teacher Education Department


This action research examined the use of two different types of social studies teaching and curricula. While one group of third grade students received a constructivist critical literacy type of instruction, another third grade class received textbook based instruction. The study compared student academic performance, attitudes and engagement between the two groups as well as the impact of the differing teaching methods on myself as the teacher. Data sources included student end of unit test scores, student questionnaires and focus groups, reflective teaching journals and teacher observations. The study findings include higher academic performance for the constructivist learning group, mixed findings on student attitudes toward and engagement with social studies, as well as student preference for group work activities.