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Skills available for Michigan 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.

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  • H1 Evaluate evidence, compare and contrast information, interpret the historical record, and develop sound historical arguments and perspectives on which informed decisions in contemporary life can be based.

  • W1 WHG 1 Explain the basic features and differences between hunter-gatherer societies and pastoral nomads. Analyze and explain the geographic, environmental, biological, and cultural processes that influenced the rise of the earliest human communities, the migration and spread of people throughout the world, and the causes and consequences of the growth of agriculture.

    • W1.1 Describe the spread of people in the Western Hemisphere in Era 1.

      • 6 - W1.1.1 Describe the early migrations of people among Earth's continents (including the Berringa Land Bridge).

      • 6 - W1.1.2 Examine the lives of hunting and gathering people during the earliest eras of human society (tools and weapons, language, fire).

    • W1.2 Describe the Agricultural Revolution and explain why it is a turning point in history.

  • W2 WHG 2 Describe and differentiate defining characteristics of early civilization and pastoral societies, where they emerged, and how they spread.

    • W2.1 Describe the characteristics of early Western Hemisphere civilizations and pastoral societies.

      • 6 - W2.1.1 Explain how the environment favored hunter gatherer, pastoral, and small scale agricultural ways of life in different parts of the Western Hemisphere.

      • 6 - W2.1.2 Describe how the invention of agriculture led to the emergence of agrarian civilizations (seasonal harvests, specialized crops, cultivation, and development of villages and towns).

      • 6 - W2.1.3 Use multiple sources of evidence to describe how the culture of early peoples of North America reflected the geography and natural resources available (e.g., Inuit of the Arctic, Kwakiutl of the Northwest Coast; Anasazi and Apache of the Southwest).

      • 6 - W2.1.4 Use evidence to identify defining characteristics of early civilizations and early pastoral nomads (government, language, religion, social structure, technology, and division of labor).

  • W3 WHG 3 Analyze the civilizations and empires that emerged during this era, noting their political, economic, and social systems, and their changing interactions with the environment. Analyze the innovations and social, political, and economic changes that occurred through the emergence of agrarian societies of Mesoamerica and Andean South America and the subsequent urbanization and trading economies that occurred in the region.


  • G1 Describe the relationships between people, places, and environments by using information that is in a geographic (spatial) context. Engage in mapping and analyzing the information to explain the patterns and relationships they reveal both between and among people, their cultures, and the natural environment. Identify and access information, evaluate it using criteria based on concepts and themes, and use geography in problem solving and decision making. Explain and use key conceptual devices (places and regions, spatial patterns and processes) that geographers use to organize information and inform their study of the world.

    • G1.1 Use maps and other geographic tools to acquire and process information from a spatial perspective.

      • 6 - G1.1.1 Describe how geographers use mapping to represent places and natural and human phenomena in the world.

      • 6 - G1.1.2 Draw a sketch map from memory of the Western Hemisphere showing the major regions (Canada, United States, Mexico, Central America, South America, and Caribbean).

    • G1.2 Use geographic inquiry and analysis to answer important questions about relationships between people, cultures, their environment, and relations within the larger world context.

      • 6 - G1.2.1 Locate the major landforms, rivers (Amazon, Mississippi, Missouri, Colorado), and climate regions of the Western Hemisphere.

      • 6 - G1.2.2 Explain why maps of the same place may vary, including cultural perspectives of the Earth and new knowledge based on science and modern technology.

      • 6 - G1.2.3 Use data to create thematic maps and graphs showing patterns of population, physical terrain, rainfall, and vegetation, analyze the patterns and then propose two generalizations about the location and density of the population.

      • 6 - G1.2.4 Use observations from air photos, photographs (print and CD), films (VCR and DVD) as the basis for answering geographic questions about the human and physical characteristics of places and regions.

      • 6 - G1.2.5 Use information from modern technology such as Geographic Positioning System (GPS), Geographic Information System (GIS), and satellite remote sensing to locate information and process maps and data to analyze spatial patterns of the Western Hemisphere to answer geographic questions.

      • 6 - G1.2.6 Apply the skills of geographic inquiry (asking geographic questions, acquiring geographic information, organizing geographic information, analyzing geographic information, and answering geographic questions) to analyze a problem or issue of importance to a region of the Western Hemisphere.

    • G1.3 Use geographic themes, knowledge about processes and concepts to study the Earth.

      • 6 - G1.3.1 Use the fundamental themes of geography (location, place, human environment interaction, movement, region) to describe regions or places on earth.

      • 6 - G1.3.2 Explain the locations and distributions of physical and human characteristics of Earth by using knowledge of spatial patterns.

      • 6 - G1.3.3 Explain the different ways in which places are connected and how those connections demonstrate interdependence and accessibility.

  • G2 Describe the cultural groups and diversities among people that are rooted in particular places and in human constructs called regions. Analyze the physical and human characteristics of places and regions.

    • G2.1 Describe the physical characteristics of places.

      • 6 - G2.1.1 Describe the landform features and the climate of the region (within the Western or Eastern Hemispheres) under study.

      • 6 - G2.1.2 Account for topographic and human spatial patterns (where people live) associated with tectonic plates such as volcanoes, earthquakes, settlements (Ring of Fire, recent volcanic and seismic events, settlements in proximity to natural hazards in the Western Hemisphere) by using information from GIS, remote sensing, and the World Wide Web.

    • G2.2 Describe the human characteristics of places.

      • 6 - G2.2.1 Describe the human characteristics of the region under study (including languages, religion, economic system, governmental system, cultural traditions).

      • 6 - G2.2.2 Explain that communities are affected positively or negatively by changes in technology (e.g., Canada with regard to mining, forestry, hydroelectric power generation, agriculture, snowmobiles, cell phones, air travel).

      • 6 - G2.2.3 Analyze how culture and experience influence people's perception of places and regions (e.g., the Caribbean Region that presently displays enduring impacts of different immigrant groups – Africans, South Asians, Europeans – and the differing contemporary points of view about the region displayed by islanders and tourists).

  • G3 Describe the physical processes that shape the Earth's surface which, along with plants and animals, are the basis for both sustaining and modifying ecosystems. Identify and analyze the patterns and characteristics of the major ecosystems on Earth.

    • G3.1 Describe the physical processes that shape the patterns of the Earth's surface.

      • 6 - G3.1.1 Construct and analyze climate graphs for two locations at different latitudes and elevations in the region to answer geographic questions and make predictions based on patterns. (e.g., compare and contrast Buenos Aires and La Paz; Mexico City and Guatemala City; Edmonton and Toronto).

    • G3.2 Describe the characteristics and spatial distribution of ecosystems on the Earth's surface.

      • 6 - G3.2.1 Explain how and why ecosystems differ as a consequence of differences in latitude, elevation, and human activities (e.g., South America's location relative to the equator, effects of elevations on temperature and growing season, proximity to bodies of water and the effects on temperature and rainfall, effects of annual flooding on vegetation along river flood plains such as the Amazon).

      • 6 - G3.2.2 Identify ecosystems and explain why some are more attractive for humans to use than are others (e.g., mid-latitude forest in North America, high latitude of Peru, tropical forests in Honduras, fish or marine vegetation in coastal zones).

  • G4 Explain that human activities may be seen on Earth's surface.

    • G4.1 Describe the characteristics, distribution and complexity of Earth's cultural mosaic.

      • 6 - G4.1.1 Identify and explain examples of cultural diffusion within the Americas (e.g., baseball, soccer, music, architecture, television, languages, health care, Internet, consumer brands, currency, restaurants, international migration).

    • G4.2 Describe how technology creates patterns and networks that connect people, products, and ideas.

      • 6 - G4.2.1 List and describe the advantages and disadvantages of different technologies used to move people, products, and ideas throughout the world (e.g., call centers in the Eastern Hemisphere that service the Western Hemisphere; the United States and Canada as hubs for the Internet; transport of people and perishable products; and the spread of individuals' ideas as voice and image messages on electronic networks such as the Internet).

    • G4.3 Describe patterns, processes, and functions of human settlement.

    • G4.4 Explain how forces of conflict and cooperation among people influence the division of the Earth's surface and its resources.

  • G5 Explain that the physical environment is modified by human activities, which are influenced by the ways in which human societies value and use Earth's natural resources, and by Earth's physical features and processes. Explain how human action modifies the physical environment and how physical systems affect human systems.

    • G5.1 Describe how human actions modify the environment.

      • 6 - G5.1.1 Describe the environmental effects of human action on the atmosphere (air), biosphere (people, animals, and plants), lithosphere (soil), and hydrosphere (water) (e.g., changes in the tropical forest environments in Brazil, Peru, and Costa Rica).

      • 6 - G5.1.2 Describe how variations in technology affect human modifications of the landscape (e.g., clearing forests for agricultural land in South America, fishing in the Grand Banks of the Atlantic, expansion of cities in South America, hydroelectric developments in Canada, Brazil and Chile, and mining the Kentucky and West Virginia).

      • 6 - G5.1.3 Identify the ways in which human-induced changes in the physical environment in one place can cause changes in other places (e.g., cutting forests in one region may result in river basin flooding elsewhere; building a dam floods land upstream and may permit irrigation in another region).

    • G5.2 Describe how physical and human systems shape patterns on the Earth's surface.

      • 6 - G5.2.1 Describe the effects that a change in the physical environment could have on human activities and the choices people would have to make in adjusting to the change (e.g., drought in northern Mexico, disappearance of forest vegetation in the Amazon, natural hazards and disasters from volcanic eruptions in Central America and the Caribbean and earthquakes in Mexico City and Colombia).

  • G6 Throughout the school year the students are introduced to topics that address global issues that integrate time and place. Included are capstone projects that entail the investigation of historical and contemporary global issues that have significance for the student and are clearly linked to the world outside the classroom. The topics and issues are developed as capstone projects within units and at the end of the course. Regular experiences with those topics and issues are necessary during each grade in order to build the background students will require to complete in-depth capstone projects.

    • G6.1 Capstone projects require the student to use geography, history, economics, and government to inquire about major contemporary and historical issues and events linked to the world outside the classroom. The core disciplines are used to interpret the past and plan for the future. During the school year the students will complete at least three capstone projects.

      • 6 - G6.1.1 Contemporary Investigations – Conduct research on contemporary global topics and issues, compose persuasive essays, and develop a plan for action.

      • 6 - G6.1.2 Conduct research on global topics and issues, compose persuasive essays, and develop a plan for action.

Civics and Government

  • C1 Analyze how people identify, organize, and accomplish the purposes of government.

    • C1.1 Describe Civic Life, Politics, and Government and explain their relationships.

      • 6 - C1.1.1 Analyze competing ideas about the purposes government should serve in a democracy and in a dictatorship (e.g., protecting individual rights, promoting the common good, providing economic security, molding the character of citizens, or promoting a particular religion).

  • C3 Describe the major activities of government, including making and enforcing laws, providing services and benefits to individuals and groups, assigning individual and collective responsibilities, generating revenue, and providing national security.

    • C3.6 Describe the characteristics of nation-states and how they may interact.

      • 6 - C3.6.1 Define the characteristics of a nation-state (a specific territory, clearly defined boundaries, citizens, and jurisdiction over people who reside there, laws, and government), and how Western Hemisphere nations interact.

      • 6 - C3.6.2 Compare and contrast a military dictatorship such as Cuba, a presidential system of representative democracy such as the United States, and a parliamentary system of representative democracy such as Canada.

  • C4 Explain that nations interact with one another through trade, diplomacy, treaties and agreements, humanitarian aid, economic sanctions and incentives, and military force, and threat of force.

    • C4.3 Explain the various ways that nations interact both positively and negatively.

      • 6 - C4.3.1 Explain the geopolitical relationships between countries (e.g., petroleum and arms purchases in Venezuela and Ecuador; foreign aid for health care in Nicaragua).

      • 6 - C4.3.2 Explain the challenges to governments and the cooperation needed to address international issues in the Western Hemisphere (e.g., migration and human rights).

      • 6 - C4.3.3 Give examples of how countries work together for mutual benefits through international organizations (e.g. North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Organization of American States (OAS), United Nations (UN)).


  • E1 Describe the market economy in terms of the relevance of limited resources, how individuals and institutions make and evaluate decisions, the role of incentives, how buyers and sellers interact to create markets, how markets allocate resources, and the economic role of government in a market economy.

    • E1.1 Describe how individuals, businesses and government make economic decisions when confronting scarcity in the market economy.

      • 6 - E1.1.1 Explain how incentives vary in different economic systems (e.g. acquiring money, profit, goods, wanting to avoid loss in position in society, job placement).

  • E2 Use economic concepts, terminology, and data to identify and describe how a national economy functions and to study the role of government as a provider of goods and services within a national economy.

    • E2.3 Describe how national governments make decisions that affect the national economy.

      • 6 - E2.3.1 Describe the impact of governmental policy (sanctions, tariffs, treaties) on that country and on other countries that use its resources.

  • E3 Analyze reasons for individuals and businesses to specialize and trade, why individuals and businesses trade across international borders, and the comparisons of the benefits and costs of specialization and the resulting trade for consumers, producers, and governments.

    • E3.1 Describe patterns and networks of economic interdependence, including trade.

      • 6 - E3.1.1 Use charts and graphs to compare imports and exports of different countries in the Western Hemisphere and propose generalizations about patterns of economic interdependence.

      • 6 - E3.1.2 Diagram or map the movement of a consumer product from where it is manufactured to where it is sold to demonstrate the flow of materials, labor, and capital (e.g., global supply chain for computers, athletic shoes, and clothing).

      • 6 - E3.1.3 Explain how communications innovations have affected economic interactions and where and how people work (e.g., internet-based home offices, international work teams, international companies).

    • E3.3 Describe how societies organize to allocate resources to produce and distribute goods and services.

      • 6 - E3.3.1 Explain and compare how economic systems (traditional, command, and market) answer four basic questions: What should be produced? How will it be produced? How will it be distributed? Who will receive the benefits of production? (e.g., compare United States and Cuba, or Venezuela and Jamaica.)

Public Discourse, Decision Making, and Citizen Involvement

  • P3.1 Identifying and Analyzing Issues, Decision Making, Persuasive Communication About a Public Issue, and Citizen Involvement

    • 6 - P3.1.1 Clearly state an issue as a question or public policy, trace the origins of an issue, analyze various perspectives, and generate and evaluate alternative resolutions. Deeply examine policy issues in group discussions and debates to make reasoned and informed decisions. Write persuasive/argumentative essays expressing and justifying decisions on public policy issues. Plan and conduct activities intended to advance views on matters of public policy, report the results, and evaluate effectiveness.

      • Identify public policy issues related to global topics and issues studied.

      • Clearly state the issue as a question of public policy orally or in written form.

      • Use inquiry methods to acquire content knowledge and appropriate data about the issue.

      • Identify the causes and consequences and analyze the impact, both positive and negative.

      • Share and discuss findings of research and issue analysis in group discussions and debates.

      • Compose a persuasive essay justifying the position with a reasoned argument.

      • Develop an action plan to address or inform others about the issue at the local to global scales.

  • P4.2 Act constructively to further the public good.

    • 6 - P4.2.1 Demonstrate knowledge of how, when, and where individuals would plan and conduct activities intended to advance views in matters of public policy, report the results, and evaluate effectiveness.

    • 6 - P4.2.2 Engage in activities intended to contribute to solving a national or international problem studied.

    • 6 - P4.2.3 Participate in projects to help or inform others (e.g., service learning projects).