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Suggested Scope and Sequence for Wisconsin K-12 Civics Education

Kids in a Group

We’ve seen a renewed interest in civics across Wisconsin and across the country. We need to build civics knowledge in all Wisconsin students in a way that helps them understand their rights and responsibilities as citizens. We also hope to empower students to get actively involved in their communities, helping to build and strengthen them.

In August 2021, newly-elected State Superintendent for Public Instruction, Dr. Jill Underly, set forth a plan for the Department of Public Instruction to create a K-12 scope and sequence framework with student objectives, content, and resources for civics education. The work needed to be non-partisan in nature, teacher-friendly, and aligned to state standards.

The Department of Public Instruction’s educational mission is to make sure that at every age and stage, students understand their role in a democracy, and how law and government work.

K-12 Civics Education Scope and Sequence Framework

The goal of these teaching and learning resources is to support excellence in civic literacy and civic engagement so all students can learn to become both engaged citizens and critical consumers of information. Through multiple grade level units of study, the scope and sequence promotes active involvement among students in the civil discourse of their communities, state, nation, and the world, and supports them in understanding and participating in the processes of government, including voting.

Grades K-5 Civics Scope and Sequence The Wisconsin Social Studies/Civics K-5 Suggested Scope & Sequence is divided by grade. Each grade has a theme, with K-2 having a common theme of “place” and 3-5 having a common theme of “Wisconsin and U.S. Studies”. Each grade has 4-10 topics, which could align to local units.

Grades 6-8 Civics Scope and Sequence  The Wisconsin Social Studies/Civics 6-8 Suggested Scope & Sequence is divided by grade. The writing team decided this because they wanted to be able to build upon previous learning, and if the three courses were listed at any grade, educators would not be able to count on what was happening the year before.

High School Suggested Course Outline in Civics or Government  The outline includes recommendations for both a one semester (18 week) course and a full-year (36 week) course. The full-year course suggests analyzing topics in greater depth and engaging in additional projects and simulations.

When will schools start using these scopes/materials?

CESA partners and Civics Fellows will be supporting schools and districts in implementing these scope and sequence documents immediately.

Organizations Contributing to and Supporting the Work

Wisconsin Council for the Social Studies

Wisconsin Historical Society

Wisconsin League of Women Voters

Wisconsin Civic Learning Coalition

Every regional Cooperative Education Service Agency (CESA) in the state

Wisconsin Center for Educational Research and the Region 10 Comprehensive Center

CivX Now Coalition

Lou Frey Institute

Wide array of educators from across Wisconsin