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"All students will graduate from a rigorous, relevant academic program that equips them with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary to succeed in both post-secondary education and 21st Century careers and to be participating, engaging citizens. Academic rigor is based on expectations established for students and staff that ensure that students demonstrate a thorough, in-depth mastery of challenging and complex curricular concepts. In every subject, at every grade level, instruction and learning must include commitment to a knowledge core and the application of that knowledge core to solve complex real-world problems." (2005)

Academic rigor is a key component for student success. On this site, you will find resources to help support the continued development of rigor for all social studies students. To find out more about the North Carolina State Board Policy on rigor, access this link:

One of the resources that we have found useful in building rigor is the College Board's Advanced Placement and Pre-Advanced Placement Programs.


According to the College Board, the AP Program is a unique experience for students in that it provides college-level courses and exams for which students may earn college credit while examining a subject more deeply through problem solving, collaboration, discussion, and persuasive writing. To find out more about the AP Program visit the College Board site at: . You may find course information and other teacher resources at:

The College Board also developed a Pre-AP Program to equip middle and high school teachers with tools and resources to engage their students in more rigorous course work that will build the habits of mind that need to succeed in college-level courses. To find out more about the Pre-AP program visit:



To support the mission of the North Carolina State Board and the goals of the College Board, the Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI) provided a free, two-day professional development opportunity for K-12 Social Studies teachers at Peace College in Raleigh. The first two days of training focused on preparing social studies teachers for the rigors of advanced placement (AP) and pre-advanced placement (Pre-AP). The third day was optional, providing participants with a hands-on application field experience to Raleigh Department of City Planning, the North Carolina Geodetic Society, the City or Raleigh Neuse River, Water and Waste Treatment Plant, and Lake Crabtree County Park.

Although the College Board programs are specifically designed for middle and high school teachers and students, we have included resources to begin building rigor in the elementary grades.

*Note: This Institute was made possible through an Advanced Placement incentive grant.

The goals of the institute were to:

  • Build teachers' capacity for teaching AP Courses
  • Build teachers' capacity to add appropriate rigor to their instruction and assignments
  • Build capacity for K-8 teachers to prepare students to take AP courses upon entering high school
  • Provide on-going dialogue about AP courses, teaching strategies, and teaching resources through the use of an on-line medium

The institute consisted of the following six sessions. To access some of the resources provided during each session, click the links below each session topic. If you have specific questions about a session, you may contact the session facilitator.

Economics & Geography (K-5): Innovative Ways to Build Academic Rigor in K-5 Social Studies

Session Facilitators: Jolene Ethridge and Lisa Llewellyn

  1. Teaching Economics Using Children's Literature (pdf, 62kb)
    The featured speaker for the Economics workshop was Kathy Heyse, co-author of Teaching Economics Using Children's Literature. She presented examples of practical, classroom tested economic lessons using popular children's stories. The goal of the session was to show teachers how to prepare their students to become educated consumers and good economic decision-makers.
  2. The Five Themes of Geography (pdf, 2.1mb)
    This presentation by Dr. Derek H. Alderman explores the essential questions: (1) What is the state of geography education? (2) What is geography? (3) What are the five themes? And (4) What are the bigger questions and issues underlying the five themes?
  3. Oh, the Places You'll Go: Interactive Google Lit Trips
    Google Lit Trips are a fun and interactive way to explore literature using Google Earth technology. Students are able to study literature more deeply by understanding the geography of the places identified in the literature. During the AP Institute, Kacey Sensenich and Bobbi Lynn Combs, both Cumberland County educators, conducted a session to show participants how to use children's books to inspire students to care about geography and the world around them. If you would like to know more about Google Lit Trips you may view their wiki site at
  4. Additional Resources
    Below is a list of resources that were provided for teachers who participated in the Institute. The Literature books represent those used in the Google Lit Trip Session. The remaining book was used in the economics session.

    Seaman: A Dog Who Explored the West With Lewis & Clark Gail Langer Karwoski 9781561451906
    The Circus Ship Chris Van Dusen 9780763630904
    The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg Rodman Philbrick 9780439668187
    Where the Mountains Meet the Moon Grace Lin 9780316114271
    This is New York M. Sasek 9780789308849
    Space Station Mars Daniel San Souci 9781582461427
    Yellow Balloon Charlotte Demations 9781932425017
    Uncle Jed's Barbershop Margaree King Mitchell 9780689819131
    Teaching Economics Using Children's Literature Kathy Heyse, et. al 1-56183-630-3

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Economics (6-12)

Session Facilitator: Fay Gore

The Economics sessions were conducted by Dr. Ellen Sewell, Microeconomics professor at UNC-Charlotte and Dr. Vereda Williams, Microeconomics professor at NC A&T State University. If you have any questions about either presentation, their contact information is included and they are more than happy to entertain your questions.

  1. Microeconomics (pdf, 157kb)
    This presentation by Dr. Ellen Sewell explores the topic of Market Failure by reviewing the concepts of supply and demand, competitive markets, socially optimal output, and ways to correct market failures.
  2. Macroeconomics (pdf, 1.5mb)
    This presentation by Dr. Vereda Williams examines Measurements of Economic Performance i.e Gross Domestic Product (GDP), unemployment rate, Consumer Price Index (CPI), and inflation.
  3. Additional Resources
    Below is a list of resources that were provided for teachers who participated in the Institute.

    Virtual Economics Online Professional Development Module Package (Online Module + CD-ROM) National Council on Economic Education 978-1-56183-674-1

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Geography (6-12)

Session Facilitator: Michelle McLaughlin

  1. Human Geography (ppt, 3.7mb)
    This presentation outlines Human Geography, its pedagogy, goals, content areas of study, geography in action and how to get started if you are teaching the course. The presentation also outlines several helpful resources for the course. The presenter and developer of this presentation is Ms. Evonda Haith. Ms. Haith is a social studies teacher with Guilford County Schools. She teaches Civics & Economics, World History, Psychology and Advanced Placement Human Geography at Southwest Guilford High School in High Point. She is a second-time AP Reader for the College Board and was a presenter on “Africa” at the 2010 reading in Cincinnati, OH.
  2. AP Model (pdf, 111kb)
    This is a brief outline sample of the models and theories that must be taught in an AP Human Geography course.
  3. Population Reference Bureau 2009 (pdf, 677kb)
    The 2009 World Population Data Sheet provides up-to-date demographic, health, and environment data for all the countries and major regions of the world. It shows just how stark the contrasts are between rich and poor countries, as illustrated by the table with data from the United States, Canada, and Uganda.
  4. APHG Population Cemetery Study (pdf, 75kb)
    Using Local Cemeteries to Study Life Tables and Demographics - In this student-centered activity, students first examine the life table of a large mammal to introduce them to the concepts of life tables and survivorship curves. The students then collect and compare age-specific mortality data from gravestones in two cemeteries, one representing a historical population, and the other, a modern one. Students construct life tables and graphically illustrate survivorship and mortality rates. Comparisons of the two populations will allow students to understand the changes that occur as a human population undergoes a demographic transition.
  5. The Haves and Have Nots (pdf, 42kb)
    The purpose of this lesson is to engage students in an inductive thought process by analyzing demographic and economic data of selected developed and underdeveloped nations. This lesson can be used to teach about levels of human development in geography, history, economics, and sociology classes.
  6. Lesson Related Field Trip Possibilities (pdf, 72kb)
    Here you will find field trip connections that can be developed to expose students to the real life application or the content learned in the units on industrialization and urban patterns.
  7. Neuse River WWTP Fact Sheet for 2008 (pdf, 16kb)
    This document contains the terms and facts significant to the study of the waste management system and the Neuse River.
  8. Additional Resources
    Below is a list of resources that were provided for teachers who participated in the Institute.

    Barron's AP Human Geography Meredith Marsh 0764143727
    Barron's AP Human Geography Flash Cards Meredith Marsh 0764195980
    The Community Handbook Nick Wates 1853836540
    Geography Alive! Regions and People Teachers' Curriculum Institute (TCI) 978-1-58371-470-6

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Government & Politics, US (6-12)

Session Facilitators: Fay Gore and Michelle McLaughlin

  1. Bill of Rights Institute
    Established in September 1999, the Bill or Rights Institute is a 501 (c)(3) organization created to develop instructional material and educational programs on America's Founding documents and principles. Although its target audience is high school level, many of its materials can be adapted for both middle and elementary students. To access their free resources on line visit this site: .

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U.S. History (6-12): The Founding Era

Session Facilitator: Dalton Edwards

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a nonprofit organization supporting the study and love of American history through a wide range of programs and resources for students, teachers, scholars, and history enthusiasts throughout the nation. The Institute creates and works closely with history-focused schools; organizes summer seminars and development programs for teachers; produces print and digital publications and traveling exhibitions; hosts lectures by eminent historians; administers a History Teacher of the Year Award in every state and U.S. territory; and offers national book prizes and fellowships for scholars to work in the Gilder Lehrman Collection as well as other renowned archives.

  1. Gilder Lehrman Institute: Using Documents to Teach American History The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History uses this power point presentation to support the benefits of utilizing primary source documents within the social studies classroom, as well as, suggestions on how to best instructionally incorporate such documents to enhance critical thinking and an understanding of people, places, and events over time.(ppt, 1.3mb)

    American Revolution: NC Reader The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History compiled the following teacher resource collection of best practices and primary documents from the institute's private collection. (pdf, 5.7mb)

    These additional resources were suggested by Gilder Lehrman and can be found outside of the institute's private collection:

  2. Jonathan Mayhew Sermon on Submission -1750 (pdf, 100kb)
  3. James Otis-The Rights of the British Colonies Asserted and Proved -1764 (pdf, 38kb)
  4. Ingersoll's Account of the Parliamentary Debate -February 11, 1765 (pdf, 103kb)
  5. The Quartering Act of 1765 -March 24, 1765 (pdf, 35kb)
  6. Virginia Resolves on the Stamp Act - May 30, 1765 (pdf, 32kb)
  7. Hutchinson - The Boston Riot of 26 August 1765 - August 30, 1765 (pdf, 29kb)
  8. The Declaration of Rights of the Stamp Act CongressOctober 19, 1765 (pdf, 29kb)
  9. Letter from a Pennsylvania Farmer #1 -December 21, 1767 (pdf, 29kb)
  10. "The Regulators Organize" Regulators Advertisement No. 4, from the Colonial and State Records of North Carolina, Volume 7 - January 1768 (pdf, 49kb)
  11. The Boston Massacre - Boston Gazette Account -March 5, 1770 (pdf, 40kb)
  12. Captain Prescott's Account of The Boston Massacre - March 5, 1770 (pdf, 102kb)
  13. The Suffolk Resolves , Joseph Warren - 1774 (include attached Document)
  14. Declaration of Resolves of the First Continental Congress - October 14, 1774 (pdf, 35kb)
  15. 10 Residents of the Backcountry Proclaim Their Loyalty -March 1775 (pdf, 47kb)
  16. Ann Hulton's Account on The Battle of Lexington and Concord -April 19 1775 (pdf, 97kb)
  17. The Mecklenburg Resolves - May 31, 1775 (pdf, 28kb)
  18. Virginia Declaration of Rights June 7, 1776 (pdf, 32kb)
  19. Constitution of North Carolina - December 18, 1776 (pdf, 113kb)
  20. Samuel Adams to John ScollayApril 30, 1776
  21. The Avalon Project Constitution of Pennsylvania -September 28, 1776
  22. Alexander Hamilton-Impressions as to the new Constitution - September, 1787 (pdf, 32kb)
  23. NC Declaration of Rights - September 17, 1787 (pdf, 41kb)
  24. Anti-Federalist Papers Centinel #1 - October 5, 1787
  25. Brutus #1 - October 18, 1787 (pdf, 46kb)
  26. James Madison to Thomas JeffersonOctober 24, 1787
  27. The Federalist No. 1 - October 27, 1787 (pdf, 34kb)
  28. Letters of Agrippa, I-XI MASSACHUSETTS GAZETTE -November 1787-January 1788 (pdf, 30kb)
  29. The Federalist No. 51 - February 6, 1788 (pdf, 33kb)
  30. James Madison to Thomas Jefferson "The Question of a Bill of Rights" October 17, 1788
  31. NC Demands a Declaration of Rights-July 21, 1788 (pdf, 41kb)
  32. Letter from Jefferson to Adams - October 29, 1813 (pdf, 205kb)

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World History (6-12): The History of Africa 1750-1914

Session Facilitator: Jennifer Ricks

The world history session was conducted by Dr. Andrew Clark, African History and Global History professor at UNC-Wilmington and Bill Strickland, World History teacher at East Grand Rapids High School, East Grand Rapids, Michigan. Below are select resources from their sessions.

  1. The West and the Rest: Rewriting History (pdf, 19kb)
    This article by Dr. Andrew Clark, describes the coverage of the non-Western world in history.
  2. The Atlantic Slave Trade Revisited (pdf, 36kb) This article by Dr. Andrew Clark, published in The Journal of Third World Studies, reviews two recently published books on the subject.
  3. Imperialism, independence, and Islam in Senegal and Mali (pdf, 52kb)
    This article by Dr. Andrew Clark, examines relations between religious and secular leaders in the regions of modern Senegal and Mali from early colonial times to the present.
  4. AP World History Web Guide (pdf, 137kb)
    This resource by Bill Strickland provides links to websites, textbooks, ancillaries, and listservs.
  5. A Most Pressing Challenge: Preparing Teachers of World History Teachers (pdf, 3.9mb)
    This article by Robert Bain examines strategies for better preparing pre-service World History teachers.
  6. Must Do's and Do Not's for Essay Writing (pdf, 69kb)
    This handout by Bill Strickland provides specific tips for each of the three types of AP World History essays.
  7. Strategies for Continuity and Change over Time Essay Questions (pdf, 54kb) This article by Peter Stearns provides strategies for preparing students to effectively write the CCOT essay.
  8. Answering the Question (pdf, 163kb)
    This handout by Bill Strickland provides tips for teaching students how to break down exactly what each essay question is asking.
  9. Additional Resources
    Below is a list of resources that were provided for teachers who participated in the Institute.

    African History: A Very Short Introduction John Parker 9780192802484
    Peterson's AP World History Margaret C. Moran & W. Francis Holder 9780768918250
    King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa Adam Hochschild 9780618001903
    A History of Modern Africa: 1800 to the Present Richard Reid 9781405132657
    Teaching World History in the Twenty-first Century: A Resource Book Heidi Roupp (editor) 9780765617149
    Africa Since Independence: A Comparative History Paul Nugent 9780333682739

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