The upper elementary years are an ideal time for kids to learn about state history. They are developmentally ready to make connections to the past and are especially interested in the past of the place where they live. They are also at a stage when they are highly interested in taking action on issues of justice and real-world problems. This curriculum provides many ways for them to connect what they learn about the past to current day, statewide concerns.
It also provides the foundation for students’ later studies in this field. New Hampshire—as one of the first colonies—is the perfect mirror for national history. Learning about the Granite State in elementary school lays the groundwork for exploring the heritage of America and its democratic traditions in middle school, high school, and beyond.
“Moose on the Loose” was created to redress the lack of high-quality social studies material available for Granite State elementary-age kids, particularly for the fourth grade, which is when state history has traditionally been taught in New Hampshire schools. Designed for maximum instructional flexibility, the curriculum engages students in an inquiry process that is fully aligned with current pedagogical standards.
Although emphasis is placed on the four disciplines of social studies (history, civics, geography, and economics), the curriculum also integrates other subject areas. Classroom teachers may not teach social studies every day; they may not even teach it all year long. But by integrating the three other core subjects, particularly English Language Arts, “Moose on the Loose” provides an opportunity for teachers to bolster their programs of study in ELA, math, and science with social studies. Not only does such integration help reverse the marginalization of social studies that has become endemic over the past several years but it also gives students a chance to see how these core subjects relate to everyday life—past, present, and future. In particular, the study of science against a backdrop of social studies allows kids to see for themselves the societal implications of technology and innovation.
In recognition of the many demands on instructional time, the “Moose on the Loose” curriculum was designed to be adaptable to the needs of individual teachers, schools, or districts. The lessons can stand alone or be done in combination with other lessons. Likewise for the units—each unit is discrete and yet fits into the larger narrative of New Hampshire history. A unit can be taught either on its own or as part of the cohesive story of New Hampshire. The Curriculum Paths section of this website suggests various combinations for instruction that will allow educators to adapt the curriculum based on available time, key ideas, or the basics of what every fourth-grade student should know about New Hampshire. Ideally, the entire breadth of topics will be studied at some point in the upper elementary years, which is why the curriculum is suitable for students on either side of fourth grade with minor adjustments.
The curriculum itself provides a wealth of resources and information for both students and educators. For teachers, it is an out-of-the-box instructional program with lesson plans, educator guides, handouts, activities, projects, and readings, along with suggestions for field trips and options for differentiated learning. At the same time, it offers resources for teachers inclined to create their own social studies programs. For students, “Moose on the Loose” provides a fun-yet-educational portal to learn more about the world in which we live, fully illustrated with images, primary sources, videos, and virtual field trips. Opportunities for experiential learning abound, particularly in the area of good citizenship and participatory government, both of which have long traditions in New Hampshire.
Educators and students may benefit from learning more about social studies skills and how to think like historians. This knowledge unlocks the possibility of exploring history wherever it is found, from national parks and museums to boxes stored in a grandparent’s attic.
“Moose on the Loose” is ADA-compliant at a AA level. It includes features such as image alt text, text-to-audio supplied by ResponsiveVoice, videos with closed captioning, buttons with aria labels, compliant colors and fonts, and options for keyboard navigation. Many pages have been print optimized for popular browsers.
To ensure that “Moose on the Loose” meets the needs of classroom teachers, the curriculum development team sought feedback from Granite State educators on a regular basis. In the spring of 2018, the New Hampshire Historical Society conducted a listening tour, speaking with more than 40 teachers and administrators in 16 districts across the state. Their input helped shape the curriculum and establish the key features that teachers need to successfully teach this core subject. From that listening tour emerged a group of master teachers, supplemented by additional educators who felt passionately about social studies education at the elementary level. This group, whose work is ongoing, reviews lesson plans, tested the website, and drafted model social studies competencies.
We thank the following for sharing their expertise and experience with us in designing the “Moose on the Loose” curriculum and look forward to continuing this successful collaboration in the future.
Listening Tour Participants (Spring 2018)
- Amherst School District
- Bedford School District
- Bow School District
- Con-Val School District
- Goffstown School District
- Hanover School District
- Hillsboro-Deering School District
- Hopkinton School District
- Inter-Lakes School District
- Keene School District
- Lancaster School District
- Lebanon School District
- Marlow School District
- Nashua School District
- Portsmouth School District
- Salem School District
Master Teachers Group (ongoing)
- Gretchin Aviles, Marston School, Hampton
- Lyndsey Boutin, Marston School, Hampton
- Amy Chartrain, Salem School District, Salem
- Sheri Varao Clark, Bedford School District, Bedford
- Dr. Ann Gaffney, Chester Academy, Chester
- Amy Goudreau, Maple Avenue School, Goffstown
- Mary Ruth Hambrick, Piermont Village School, Piermont
- Kaitlyn Hills, Governor Wentworth Regional School District, Wolfeboro
- Michelle Jenkinson, Holderness Central School, Holderness
- Lydia Macdonald-Smith, Dondero School, Portsmouth
- Julie McNish, New Boston Central School, New Boston
- Kathleen Murphy, Clark-Wilkins Elementary School, Amherst
- Megan Neurock, Culter School, Swanzey
- Donna Samuel, St. John Regional School, Concord
- Brendan Scribner, Bernice A. Ray School, Hanover
- Cherie Smeltzer, Salem School District, Salem
- Amy Wilson, Swansey Central School, Brentwood
- Kim Woods, Swansey Central School, Brentwood