Senior Preparatory Social Sciences Subject Policy
In the Intermediate and the Senior phases at Dainfern Preparatory School the Social Sciences comprise the independent disciplines of History and Geography. In Grade 4 a more integrated approach is followed, while in Grades 5, 6 and 7 History and Geography are taught in separate blocks of teaching time.
This learning area has as its primary academic focus helping learners to see the world as a set of related systems (one of the critical outcomes outlined by the NCS). Although History has a different focus to that of Geography, both these learning areas complement one another in the skills they impart to learners and the types of thinking they encourage. While content is secondary, it provides the opportunity for the creative and comprehensive testing of analytical and discursive skills. As with all learning areas, writing in extended form in the Social Sciences is crucial in the assessment of the development of the learning.
While the National Curriculum Statement provides an overarching framework for the teaching of particular themes, teachers are free to select thematic material that best suits the academic purpose. Learning outcomes and Assessment Standards need to be the focus when selecting new themes. As long as these are achieved, teachers are free to vary and update material in any way they deem appropriate.
Suggested themes per grade for the year are as follows:
Grade 4 History:
- The history of the local area or district
- Learning from leaders in all spheres of life
- The history of transport and travel over time
- Broad historical overview of the origins of major world religions reflected in South Africa:
- Democracy and human rights in the school and the community.
Grade 4 Geography:
- Settlement features
- Resources and services within a settlement
- Food production in South Africa (focus on farming)
- Access to food and water
- Mapwork: Map symbols and key, plan views, grid systems and referencing, directions (8 points of the compass), physical and political features on large-scale maps; the map of South Africa showing provinces; a basic map of the world (including continents and oceans); concepts of continents, oceans, countries, provinces, capital cities and boundaries.
Grade 5 History:
- Early civilisations: any choice
- Early Southern African societies until 1600
- Provincial histories
Grade 5 Geography:
- The physical structure of South Africa
- Climatic regions of South Africa and their temperature, rainfall and vegetation characteristics, as well as links to economic activities and settlement
- Resources: Renewable and non-renewable resources; use and abuse of natural resources in South Africa, with a focus on water and energy resources
- Population: Distribution and density patterns in South Africa
- Health and welfare
- Mapwork: Field sketches, drawing maps, using indexes, map scale, cross-referencing information on different maps
Grade 6 History:
- Organisation of African societies:
- Exploration and exploitation from the fourteenth century onwards:
- The history of medicine:
- Democracy in South Africa:
Grade 6 Geography:
- Population distribution and density on a global scale
- Climate and vegetation regions of the world
- Trade and development
- Environmental issues
Grade 7 History:
- Human evolution
- A broad overview of early trading systems
- Africa and the Atlantic slave trade – 16th to 19th centuries.
- Moving frontiers: Cape Eastern or Northern frontiers in the nineteenth century; Frontiers in America in the nineteenth century
- Systems of democracy: the American Revolution
Grade 7 Geography:
- Natural hazards (e.g. drought, floods, earthquakes, volcanoes and tropical cyclones): how natural hazards occur - physical processes, climate change, poor environmental management;
- The impact of hazards on people
- Management of risks and risk reduction
- Population growth and change: factors affecting population growth and change; processes affecting population growth and change (e.g. disease, poverty, attitudes to birth and death, conflict and war, genocide, forced migrations, rural-urban migration, cause-and-effect relationships on different scales (e.g. South Africa compared to Africa, Africa compared to the world), focus on the impact of HIV/AIDS.
- Mapwork: extracting information from maps and photos; measuring distances on maps, atlases and globes and converting to reality; comparing orthophotos with reality where possible.
National Curriculum Statement
Learning Outcomes - History
Learning Outcome 1: Historical Enquiry
Learning Outcome 2: Historical Knowledge and Understanding
Learning Outcome 3: Historical Interpretation
Learning Outcomes - Geography
Learning Outcome 1: Geographical Enquiry
Learning Outcome 2: Geographical Knowledge and Understanding
Learning Outcome 3: Exploring Issues
Interrelatedness of Learning Outcomes
The interrelatedness of the Learning Outcomes means a significant change in the way the Learning Area is taught and assessed. Understanding this interrelatedness will certainly assist teachers in planning integrated assessment tasks. It is recommended that History and Geography LO1 be used in conjunction with at least one other outcome in an assessment task. There should also be times when History and Geography are integrated, so that learners can see the strong links between these two disciplines.
Each learning outcome has a number of ASSESSMENT STANDARDS. The assessment standards are the core planning tools for teaching, learning and assessment. They:
- Guide us so that we will know when learners have achieved a learning outcome. In a way they make meaning of the learning outcome.
- Show us the minimum level at which the learning outcome must be achieved in a particular year, and how the learners must progress from year to year, so as to attain the learning outcome in greater depth and breadth over time.
The Social Sciences do not entail the learning of historical and geographical facts off by heart or by rote. That is so say, the ability to pose thoughtful QUESTIONS, as well as, answer in-depth and difficult questions and think in a CRITICAL MANNER are central to the learning area. These skills are crucial to the development of young people as critically responsible citizens. These skills support our democracy and so their development within this learning area is essential.
The Nature of Assessment in the Social Sciences Learning Area
Teaching, learning and assessment in Social Sciences revolves around the achievement of two main purposes:
- Developing knowledge and understanding, values (attitudes); and
- Applying acquired skills and techniques in different contexts (transfer).
The Social Sciences enable learners to develop distinctive skills and a critical awareness of social and environmental patterns, processes and events, based on appropriate investigations and reflection within and across related learning areas.
Weighting of Assessment
Grades 4 and 5: No formal assessments other than cycle “tests”.
Grade 6: Continuous Assessment activities comprise 60 % of a learner’s semester mark. Summative assessments (three cycle assessments and a formal assessment per semester) comprise the remaining 40%.
Grade 7: Continuous Assessment activities comprise 60 % of a learner’s semester mark. Summative assessments (three cycle assessments and a formal assessment per semester) comprise the remaining 40%.
Click here to download the Social Sciences Skills booklet.
To access the Social Sciences portal page, click here. Please note that in so doing you will be leaving the official Dainfern College website.
Ms S Bennideen
Head of Social Sciences
National Curriculum Statement (Social Sciences), Gauteng Department of Education
The Ontario Curriculum: Social Studies, Grades 1-6; History and Geography Grades, 7-8, 2004 (revised)