Social Studies and Social Education
Know then thyself, presume not God to scan; The proper study of mankind is man.
-- Alexander Pope
No area lends itself so well to enrichment for the gifted as does social studies. One can vary infinitely the degree of sophistication in approaching problems in history, government, economics, sociology, geography, and anthropology -- or in attacking issues of human relationships which cut across a number of these disciplines. Since all of this may be done without vexatious problems of acceleration and without recourse to mere busywork, social studies presents a potential for ideal adaptation to gifted students. The major requirement is that the teacher regard the social studies as a broad area which is not circumscribed by the facts set forth in the course of study or the textbook. For the bright child these limited statements of "content" may represent not a totality but simply a springboard from which to leap into more mature study.
Education for citizenship and development of background in the social sciences are joint objectives for all students, including the intellectually superior. The problem in social studies for the gifted is not one of framework but rather one of method and materials. The probable leaders of the maturing generation need to be building an especially strong sense of social responsibility; in addition, they will need, and should be capable of, greater achievement in the social sciences.
In terms of method in the elementary school, there is general agreement that the unit, project, or activity approach meets the requirements