Massachusetts flag
Skills available for Massachusetts sixth-grade social studies standards

Standards are in black and IXL social studies skills are in dark green. Hold your mouse over the name of a skill to view a sample question. Click on the name of a skill to practice that skill.

Show alignments for:


6.T1 Studying complex societies, past and present

  • 6.T1.1 Explain how different academic fields in the social sciences concentrate on different means of studying societies in the past and present.

  • 6.T1.2 Give examples of ways in which a current historical interpretation might build on, extend, or reject an interpretation of the past.

  • 6.T1.3 Give examples of how archaeologists, historians, geographers, economists, and political scientists work as teams to analyze evidence, develop hypotheses, and construct interpretations of ancient and classical civilizations.

6.T2 Human origins, the Neolithic and Paleolithic Eras

6.T3 Western Asia, the Middle East and North Africa

  • 6.T3a Physical and political geography of modern Western Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa

  • 6.T3b Western Asia, the Middle East and North Africa: Mesopotamia, c. 3500–1200 BCE

    • 6.T3b.1 Explain how the presence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers contributed to the development of agriculture and ancient complex societies; explain why historians have called the region that surrounds these rivers "the Fertile Crescent."

    • 6.T3b.2 On a map of archaeological sites in the region, and identify the locations and time periods of the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians as successive states and empires.

    • 6.T3b.3 Describe how irrigation, mining and metalsmithing, agriculture, the domestication of animals, and inventions such as the wheel, the sail, and the plow contributed to settlement and the growth of Mesopotamian civilizations.

    • 6.T3b.4 Analyze the important characteristics and achievements of early Mesopotamia.

      • 6.T3b.4.a a complex society with rulers, priests, soldiers, craftspeople, farmers, and slaves

      • 6.T3b.4.b a religion based on polytheism (the belief in many gods)

      • 6.T3b.4.c monumental architecture (the ziggurat) and developed art (including large relief sculptures, mosaics, carved cylinder seals)

      • 6.T3b.4.d cuneiform writing, used for record keeping tax collection, laws and literature

      • 6.T3b.4.e the first epic (the Epic of Gilgamesh) and the first set of written laws (the Code of Hammurabi, for example, "If a man put out the eye of another man, his eye shall be put out." [An eye for an eye]).

  • 6.T3c Ancient Egypt, c. 3000–1200 BCE

    • 6.T3c.1 Identify the locations of ancient Upper and Lower Egypt and ancient Nubia; and explain what the terms "Upper" and "Lower" mean in this context.

    • 6.T3c.2 Describe the significance of the Nile River to ancient Egyptians.

    • 6.T3c.3 Analyze the kinds of evidence that have been used by archaeologists and historians to draw conclusions about the social and economic characteristics of ancient Nubia (the Kingdom of Kush) and their relationship to the characteristics of ancient Egypt.

    • 6.T3c.4 Analyze the role of the pharaoh as god/king, and describe how pharaohs were represented in painting and sculpture, the concept of dynasties, and significant acts of at least one pharaoh or queen (e.g., Khufu, Akhnaten, Ramses II, Nefertiti, Cleopatra).

    • 6.T3c.5 Describe the relationships among social classes (e.g., the relationship of the pharaoh to priests, nobles, government officials, soldiers, scribes, artisans, farmers, and peasants, laborers, and slaves).

    • 6.T3c.6 Describe the polytheistic religion of ancient Egypt with respect to beliefs about death, proper behavior, the afterlife, mummification, and the roles of deities.

    • 6.T3c.7 Summarize important achievements of the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms (e.g., the agricultural system; knowledge of mathematics, astronomy, the invention of a calendar; the invention of papyrus and hieroglyphic writing; the organization of monumental building projects such as the Pyramids and Sphinx at Giza; the centralization of government and military power).

  • 6.T3d Ancient Phoenicia, c. 1000–300 BCE

    • 6.T3d.1 On a map of the ancient Mediterranean world, locate Greece, Asia Minor, Crete, Phoenicia, the Aegean and the Red Sea.

    • 6.T3d.2 Explain how the location of Phoenicia contributed to its domination of maritime trade in the Mediterranean from c. 1000-300 BCE.

    • 6.T3d.3 Describe how the alphabetic Phoenician writing system differed from Mesopotamian cuneiform or Egyptian hieroglyphic writing; explain how Phoenician maritime traders contributed to the spread of the use of the alphabetic system, which eventually evolved into the Greek alphabet and then into letter symbols used in other languages.

  • 6.T3e Ancient Israel, Palestine, c. 2000 BCE–70 CE

    • 6.T3e.1 On a historical map of the Mediterranean, locate Asia Minor, Greece and Mesopotamia, the kingdoms of the Hittites and ancient Israel and Palestine and ancient Egypt.

    • 6.T3e.2 Trace the migrations of the ancient Israelite tribes from Mesopotamia to the land called Canaan and explain the role of Abraham and Moses in Hebrew history.

    • 6.T3e.3 Describe the history of ancient Israel and early Christianity:

      • 6.T3e.3.a monotheistic religion (e.g., the belief in one God, the Ten Commandments, the emphasis on individual worth and personal responsibility, the belief that rulers and the ruled must adhere to the same moral obligations)

      • 6.T3e.3.b the Hebrew Bible's accounts of the history of early Israel: the unification of the tribes of Israel under Saul, David, and Solomon; the founding of Jerusalem as capital city by David (c. 1000 BCE), the building of the first temple by Solomon (c. 900-800 BCE), the destruction of the first temple (c. 400 BCE), the annexation of Judea by the Roman Empire and the Roman destruction of the second temple (c. 70 CE).

      • 6.T3e.3.c the emergence of Christianity as a distinct religion, with roots in Judaism, but increasingly diverse followers throughout the Roman Empire and the relationship of early Christians to the officials of the Roman Empire.

      • 6.T3e.3.d the central features of Christianity (e.g., the belief in a messiah who could redeem humans from sin, the concept of salvation, the belief in an Old and a new Testament in the Bible, the life and teachings of Jesus.).

  • 6.T3f The ancient Arabian Peninsula (7th century CE)

    • 6.T3f.1 On a map of the Arabian Peninsula, identify the Red Sea and the cities of Mecca and Medina as the sites of the beginning of the Muslim religion.

    • 6.T3f.2 Explain Islam's historical relationship to Judaism and Christianity as monotheistic religions.

    • 6.T3f.3 Describe the life and teachings of Muhammad (570-c. 632 CE) and the significance of the Qur'an as the primary source of Islamic belief.

  • 6.T3g Interactions among ancient societies in Western Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East

    • 6.T3g.1 Describe the impact of encounters through trade, cultural exchange, and conquest among the societies and empires in the region, in particular, exchanges on land routes of the Silk Roads linking Europe, the steppes of West Asia, East Asia, and Africa, and the goods, languages, and cultural motifs exchanged (e.g., gold, ivory from Africa, grain from Western Asia, produce, horses, livestock, wood, furs from the steppes, ceramics, silk, and other luxury goods from China).

    • 6.T3g.2 Use information from primary and secondary sources to research contributions of one of the ancient Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Phoenician, Israelite, Islamic, and Eurasian societies to the modern world.

6.T4 Sub-Saharan Africa

6.T5 Central America, the Caribbean Islands, and South America

  • 6.T5a Physical and political geography and indigenous populations of Central America and the Caribbean Islands

    • 6.T5a.1 On a physical map of the world, use cardinal directions, map scales, key/legend, and title to locate Central America, the Caribbean Sea. On a map of the region, identify important physical features of the region (e.g., Gulf of Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula, the Panama Canal).

    • 6.T5a.2 Demonstrate knowledge of political geography by locating the current countries and major cities of Central America and the Caribbean Islands on a political map; use knowledge of maps to complement information gained from text about a country or region.

    • 6.T5a.3 Explain how absolute and relative locations, climate, major physical characteristics and natural resources influenced settlement, population size, and the economies of regions and countries in Central America and the Caribbean Islands.

    • 6.T5a.4 Describe the culture and way of life of the indigenous populations of the region (e.g., Carib [Antilles and South America], Taino [Cuba, Trinidad, Jamaica, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico], Lenca [Honduras], Miskito [Nicaragua], Huatares and Chorotegas [Costa Rica], Lokono, also known as Arawak [Trinidad and Tobago]).

  • 6.T5b Physical and political geography of South America

    • 6.T5b.1 On a physical map of the world, use cardinal directions, map scales, key/legend, and title to locate South America and the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. On a map of South America, locate important physical features of the region (e.g., Isthmus of Panama, Andes Mountains, Cape Horn, Amazon River, and the southern, northern, eastern, and western regions of South America). Use other kinds of maps (e.g., landform, population, climate) to determine important characteristics of this region.

    • 6.T5b.2 On a political map of the region, demonstrate map reading skills to distinguish countries, capitals, and other cities and to describe their absolute location (using latitude and longitude coordinates) and relative location (relationship to other countries, cities, or bodies of water); use knowledge of maps to complement information gained from text about a city, country or region.

    • 6.T5b.3 Explain how absolute and relative locations, major physical characteristics, climate and natural resources in this region have influenced settlement patterns, population size, and economies of the countries.

  • 6.T5c Major ancient societies in Central America and South America, c. 1400 BCE–1600 CE