Unpacking Curriculum

The introduction of the Social Studies 7 curriculum defines social studies as “the study of people and their relationships with their social, physical, and technological environments.” This same curriculum outlines what we, as teachers, have to make sure our students know at the end of the year. We decide how to present this information to students through lesson plans and we even get to decide what order to teach it in. However, it’s the curriculum and the people who wrote it that decides what we teach the students in our classrooms.


Every subject in the saskatchewan curriculum has its own Goals that the outcomes relate to. For social studies these goals include; interactions and interdependence (IN), dynamic relationships (DR), power and authority (PA), and resources and wealth (RW). It’s these goals that define whose story is being told and what they want you to know, keeping in mind it is the teacher who decides how these stories are told.


While we decide how the stories are told, the outcomes and indicators have a strong influence over how we do it. A major part of the grade 7 social curriculum is looking at the interactions between Canada and Pacific Rim countries. This includes business relationships, conflict, trade and even in terms of location. Students should also learn about government systems and how they work compared to one another. Some outcomes also include looking at relationships that people have with the land and resources. We should also inform students the influences these relationships have over power and economic situations. Having so many outcomes to cover can limit how much time or how deep you can go into some topics that you as a teach believe are important. On the other hand if you do spend more time on a topic than you should you have to decide what you should cut down or even out of your lessons.


For grade 7 the majority of outcomes focus on Canada’s relationships with other Pacific Rim countries and how globalization with affect these relationships in the future. Some of the countries that students should learn about and look at include Japan, Philippines, Norway, Australia, Mexico, Colombia and others in those areas. Indicators suggest looking at relationships that Canada has with these countries as well as the relationships they have with one another or organizations that consist of multiple countries included in the list. It is also indicated that geography and current or past events should be examined.


With so many countries and relationships to cover in grade 7 it doesn’t leave much room to look at the relationships between Canadians. It should be noted that I have not looked into the Social Studies Curricula for other grades and I cannot say if there inner relationships have already been covered in previous or will be covered in future years. However, this does mean that the stories of many Canadians throughout history have been left out. A major one being stories of Indigenous peoples but also including the relationships between Canada’s government and Japanese Settlers during the second world war. These and other stories like these are not being told in the grade 7 Social Curriculum.