Social Sciences Resources for Primary Schools

Take your pick of our primary school resources. In line with the Australian humanities and social sciences curriculum, these build young people’s understanding of the world in which we live.  

They also support the development of thinking skills needed for the 21st century – creative and critical problem-solving and informed decision-making. 

If you are looking to help students face the effects of climate change, we can recommend Environmental Education and Thinking About Sustainability. Interested in undertaking social inquiry? Try our primary school resources SOLO Taxonomy in the Social Science and The Inquiry Learning Guide


What are the humanities and social sciences in the curriculum?  

According to the Australian Curriculum, the humanities and social sciences “are the study of human behaviour and interaction in social, cultural, environmental, economic and political contexts.” There is a focus on historical and contemporary contexts, ranging from personal to global levels, and an examination of future challenges. 

The learning areas include history, geography, civics and citizenship and economics and business.  

Through studying the primary social science curriculum, Australian children will develop an understanding of four Key Ideas: 

  • Who we are, who came before us, and the traditions and values that have shaped societies. 
  • How societies and economies operate and how they are changing over time. 
  • The ways people, places, ideas and events are perceived and connected. 
  • How people exercise their responsibilities, participate in society and make informed decisions. 

The fundamental skills developed by studying humanities and social sciences in primary school include critical thinking, questioning, problem-solving, communication, decision making and adaptability.  

Why is environmental education important? 

Environmental education is important because everyone needs to know what it means to care for Earth. As authors Paul Mason and Patsy Blackstock say, given the state of the planet, we should all be concerned. 

When children are given the opportunity, they become powerful agents of change. This needs to be seized and strengthened at the school level. 

Ogando (2022) adds environmental education helps students face the effects of climate change from a responsible citizen’s point of view, where they are prepared to defend environmental issues. Additionally, it gives children the skills, knowledge, behaviours and attitudes to cope with the climate crisis and move towards sustainable living. 

Schools can lead the fight against climate change. They are spaces to create and implement environmental solutions that generate more sustainable lifestyles and build resilience to climate change. 

What humanities and social sciences resources would you recommend?  

The humanities and social sciences resources we would recommend include: 

Thinking About Sustainability by Patricia Kendell 

This sustainability book can be used flexibly by primary school teachers. They can cherry-pick activities that suit the needs of their class.  

It explicitly teaches thinking skills when learning about geography and sustainable development. The skills include information processing, reasoning, inquiry skills, creative thinking and evaluation. 

Clued Up on Current Issues by Anna Kaye Forsyth 

Here is a series of inquiry learning resources that focus on building students’ learning of social science skills – reasoning and information gathering. 

Each book focuses on a different current issue. The first book, for example, deals with globalisation, war and world poverty. 

Environmental Education by Paul Mason and Patsy Blackstock 

These books take a cross-curricula approach to teaching sustainability in primary school. Literacy, statistics and science activities are linked to key environmental concepts. 

While undertaking education for sustainability, students participate in speeches, debates, surveys and scientific investigations, enabling them to advocate for positive change.