Missouri Digital Heritage :: Education :: Before Dred Scott :: Missouri's Framework for Curriculum Development in Social Studies

Missouri State Archives
Before Dred Scott:
Freedom Suits in Antebellum Missouri


Missouri's Framework for Curriculum Development in Social Studies (preparing students for the MAP testing) and Before Dred Scott

(complete framework available on-line at http://www.dese.mo.gov)

Relevant discussion questions from each of the four strands:

I.A. Why have people established Governance Systems? (Civic-Political Perspective)

Grade Level: K-4

  • How do government officials make, apply, and enforce rules and laws?

Grade Level: 5-8

  • What essential ideas of American Constitutional Government are expressed in the Declaration of Independence, the United States and Missouri Constitutions, and other writings?
  • How are national, state, and local governments organized in the United States? What are their powers? What do they do? How do/should they impact people's lives?
  • What is the place of law in the American Constitutional system? How should laws be made and evaluated?

I.B. Why have people established Governance Systems? (Social-Cultural Perspective)

Grade Level: K-4

  • Why do groups have rules? Why do societies have laws and governments?
  • How do governments affect people's lives?
  • How does a society's rules reflect the diversity and commonalities of the backgrounds of its citizens?
  • How should rules and laws be judged?

Grade Level: 5-8

  • How have diversity and commonalities in the backgrounds, values, and beliefs of the American people influenced the organization, processes, and decisions of governments in the United States?
  • How do political decisions lead to social and cultural change? How does social and cultural change impact on political decisions?

I.C Why have people established Governance Systems? (Historical Perspective)

Grade Level: K-4

  • How have individuals and groups struggled to achieve democratic ideals? What did they stand for? How successful were they in accomplishing their goals? What character traits did they have which help to explain their success?

Grade Level: 5-8

  • What do the major principles of government found in the Declaration of Independence and Constitution mean?
  • How have democratic principles and ideals evolved and influenced historical events and developments?
  • How have the rights and responsibilities of citizens changed over time in the history of the United States?
  • How have specific individuals played important roles in effecting change in the processes of government? What were their aims, challenges, and accomplishments?

II.A How do individuals relate to and interact with groups? (Civic-Political Perspective)

Grade Level: K-4

  • What forms of human diversity are found in the community, state, and nation? Why is there so much diversity in the US?
  • How does diversity sometimes lead to problems, such as discrimination, misunderstandings, and conflict?

Grade Level: 5-8

  • How may diversity benefit a society and also serve as a source for conflict?
  • What ideals help define American identity? In what documents may those ideals be found?
  • How and why are there disparities between American ideals and realities? How have individuals and groups tried to address them?
  • How do political decisions affect relationships among individuals and groups?

II.C How do individuals relate to and interact with groups? (Historical Perspective)

Grade Level: K-4

  • How has family life changed in the community and Missouri?
  • How may our family lives be compared to those of other peoples we are studying in history?
  • How can people learn about their heritage?

Grade Level: 5-8

  • How have social institutions changed over time?
  • How has belief in the dignity and importance of the individual changed over time in this and other cultures?

III.A How do events and developments in this and other places relate to us and to each other? (Civic-Political Perspective)

Grade Level: K-4

  • How do the events we are studying affect the fulfillment of American democratic ideals?
  • Why have events we are studying become political issues?

Grade Level: 5-8

  • How does public opinion influence political decision-making? How is public opinion shaped? How well informed is the public on community issues?

III.C How do events and developments in this and other places relate to us and to each other? (Historical Perspective)

Grade Level: K-4

  • What individuals and groups have played major roles in the historical events we are studying? What were their aims, challenges, and accomplishments?
  • How have communities and institutions within them changed over time? What led to those changes? How have those changes affected people's lives and the environment?
  • How did people of the past view their worlds and events occurring within them?

Grade Level: 5-8

  • Which events are "turning-point events?" How should a person decide which events are most important?
  • Why, how, and with what consequences have ideas, beliefs, values, and technologies changed and diffused within and between cultures?
  • What motivated historical figures to act as they did? What were their goals, the barriers to achieving their goals, their ways of dealing with people, and their accomplishments?

IV.A How do the lives of individuals and conditions in society affect each other? (Civic-Political Perspective)

Grade Level: K-4

  • What does it mean to be a citizen in the United States? How does a person become a citizen?
  • How are people's rights defined and protected in this and other societies?

Grade Level: 5-8

  • What are personal, political, and economic rights and responsibilities of US citizens - adults and children?

IV.B How do the lives of individuals and conditions in society affect each other? (Social-Cultural Perspective)

Grade Level: K-4

  • How do rules and laws affect our lives and families?

Grade Level: 5-8

  • How do political decisions have an impact on the lives of people as individuals and as members of groups?
  • Which societies allow/do not allow individuals a high degree of personal freedom? What characteristics do these societies have in common?

IV.C How do the lives of individuals and conditions in society affect each other? (Historical Perspective)

Grade Level: K-4

  • How have the actions of government officials and private citizens committed to public service had an impact upon the lives of people in my family, my community, other communities, Missouri, and the US? What motivated them? What choices did they face? What decisions did they make? What did they accomplish?
  • How did their accomplishments advance one or more democratic ideals, such as freedom, justice, equality, and promotion of the common good?
  • What skills and qualities of character did they need to accomplish what they did?
  • How are democratic ideals celebrated in our nation's holidays?

Grade Level: 5-8

  • How have the actions of individuals served to promote the common good in this and other societies? What were their motivations, goals, challenges, and achievements? How should we evaluate their efforts?
  • In what ways have responsibilities of private citizens to the public good changed/stayed the same over time? Why?
  • How have ideas in the Constitution, as changed by amendment and interpretation, and other laws affected relationships between individuals and government and between individuals and institutions in civil society?

Note: In using these questions with Before Dred Scott, it will be important for students to compare/contrast rights and responsibilities of all citizens today with rights and responsibilities of all during the first half of the nineteenth century, the "golden age" of Freedom Suits.


Before Dred Scott should encourage students in grades K-4 to develop many of the following skills, defined in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Framework as "What all student should be ABLE to do":

  • develop questions to initiate research
  • conduct research to answer questions
  • interpret information from sources
  • organize information in ways that are useful for analysis and presentation
  • exchange ideas in class discussions
  • use technological tools and other resources to locate and select information
  • comprehend a variety of resources –written, visual, and oral
    evaluate accuracy of information
  • organize data, information, and ideas into useful forms for analysis and presentation
  • plan and make written, oral, and visual presentations for a variety of audiences


Before Dred Scott
should encourage students in grades 5-8 to develop many of the following skills, defined in the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Framework as "What all students should be ABLE to do":

  • develop questions to initiate and refine research
  • conduct research, including field inquiries, to answer questions and evaluate information and ideas
  • interpret information from sources
  • organize information into useful forms for analysis or presentation
  • compare institutions of past and present societies
  • plan and make presentations for a variety of purposes and audiences
  • exchange information and ideas while recognizing the perspectives of others
  • apply values of government found in documents shaping US constitutional democracy (freedom, justice, equality, concern for the common good, etc.)
  • use technological tools and other resources to locate and select information
  • comprehend a variety of resources - written, visual, and oral
  • evaluate the accuracy of information and the reliability of its sources
  • apply acquired information to different contexts
  • plan and make written, oral, and visual presentations for a variety of audiences