Social Studies Benchmarks addressed on tours

Key: Oberlin Heritage Center Tour (OHC), Freedom's Friends History Walk (FF), Scholars and Settlers / Tappan Square History Walk (T), I Spy Oberlin Scavenger Hunt (IS), Radicals and Reformers History Walk (RR), Lessons in the Past (LP)

Notes in italics explain how tours meet these benchmarks.

Kindergarten through 2nd Grade


C. Compare daily life in the past and present demonstrating an understanding that while basic human needs remain the same, they are met in different ways in different times and places. (OHC, FF, T, LP)
D. Recognize that the actions of individuals make a difference, and relate the stories of people from diverse backgrounds who have contributed to the heritage of the United States. (OHC, FF, T, RR)

Students will learn about what life was like almost 200 years ago in comparison to today. They will also understand how people and events from the past have affected us in the present.

People in Societies

A. Identify practices and products of diverse cultures. (OHC, FF, T, IS)
B. Identify ways that different cultures within the United States and the world have shaped our national heritage. (All tours)

Students will understand what the community of Oberlin practiced during its early years and how their beliefs have changed the course of history.


A. Identify the location of the United States and the continents and oceans on maps. (OHC, FF, LP)
B. Identify physical and human features of places. (T, IS)
C. Explain how the environmental processes influence human activity and ways humans depend on and adapt to the environment. (OHC, FF, T)

Students will view various maps and visual aids on all tours.


A. Identify elected leaders and authority figures in the home, school and community and explain reasons for having persons in authority. (OHC, FF, RR)
B. Recognize and explain the importance of symbols and landmarks in the United States. (All tours, IS, T)
C. Explain the purposes of rules in different settings and the results of adherence to, or violation of the rules. (OHC, FF, T, RR)

Students will visit historic landmarks and learn about why these places add to our communities and help us learn about our country’s history. (All tours) They will learn about rules that citizens had to follow in the past and their consequences. (OHC, FF, T, RR)

Citizens Rights and Responsibilities 

B. Demonstrate the personal accountability, including making choices and taking responsibility for personal actions. (FF, RR)

Students will learn how groups of students took responsibility for their own actions. They will also demonstrate cooperation and how to follow directions on their tour.

Social Studies Skills and Methods

A. Obtain information from oral, visual, print and electronic sources. (All tours)
B. Predict outcomes based on factual information. (All tours)
C. Communicate information orally, visually or in writing. (All tours)

There are many exciting stories for students to orally comprehend, as well as historic photographs, maps, and school lessons to examine. Students will be able to make predictions and share their ideas within their group on all tours.

Third through Fifth Grade


C. Explain how new developments led to the growth of the United States. (All tours)

Students will learn the reasons why John Shipherd and Philo Stewart came to Oberlin and why runaway slaves and freed African Americans lived here as well. (OHC, FF, T)


A. Use map elements or coordinates to locate physical and human features of North America. (T)
B. Identify and explain ways people have affected the physical environment of North America and analyze the positive and negative consequences. (T, IS)
D. Analyze ways that transportation and communication relate to patterns of settlement and economic activity. (OHC, FF, T)

Students will analyze how transportation affected people’s lives in the past, as well as which forms of communication were used in daily life and on the Underground Railroad (OHC, FF). The Tappan Square Walking tour specifically allows students to identify the positive and negative consequences of human interaction with the environment.

Citizenship Rights and Responsibilites

A. Explain how citizens take part in civic life in order to promote the common good.
(OHC, FF, T, RR)

Students will analyze the effects of controversial voting results in Oberlin and how voters can enact change for the common good.

Social Studies Skills and Methods

B. Use a variety of sources to organize information and draw inferences. (OHC, FF, T)

Students will examine photographs, maps, displays, and historic sites to gain a deeper understanding of the information.

Sixth through Eighth Grade


G. Analyze the causes and consequences of the American Civil War. (OHC, FF)

Students will learn how Oberlin got the name, “The Town That Started the Civil War (OHC, FF).” 

People in Societies

B. Analyze examples and interactions between cultural groups and explain the factors that contribute to cooperation and conflict. (OHC, FF, RR)

Students will learn about ways that different races of people and cultures worked and lived together in early Oberlin. (OHC, FF)


Students will learn reasons why people came to found the town of Oberlin and why their ideas attracted more people to come to the area (OHC, FF, T, RR)


A. Explain why people institute governments, how they influence governments, and how governments interact with each other. (OHC, FF, RR)

Students will be able to explain how the Slave Act of 1850 affected life for abolitionists. Students will analyze how the Oberlin Wellington Rescue influenced our national government.

Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities

A. Show the relationship between civic participation and attainment of civic and public goals. (OHC, FF, T, RR)
B. Identify historical origins that influenced the rights U.S. citizens have today. (OHC, FF, T, RR)

Students will identify policies that were progressive for human rights in the past that have influenced laws that were passed to ensure those rights today.

Social Studies Skills and Methods

A. Analyze different perspectives on a topic obtained from a variety of sources. (OHC, FF, T)

Students will analyze different perspectives between religious and political men and women of early Oberlin as well as viewing artifacts, photographs, maps, and displays.

Ninth and Tenth Grade

People in Societies

A. Analyze the influence of different cultural perspectives on the actions of groups.  (OHC, FF, T, RR)
B. Analyze the consequences of oppression, discrimination and conflict between cultures. (OHC, FF, RR)

Students will evaluate different perspectives that early Oberlinians had on rights for women and African Americans. (OHC, FF, T) Students will learn about the institution of slavery and the conflict between abolitionists and southern sympathizers. (OHC, FF)


A. Analyze the cultural, physical, economic and political characteristics that define regions and describe reasons that regions change over time. (OHC, FF, T, RR)
B. Analyze geographic changes brought about by human activity using appropriate maps and other geographic data. (T)
C. Analyze the patterns and processes of movement of people, products and ideas. (OHC, FF, T, RR)

Students will learn the reasons Oberlin’s founding members created the colony of Oberlin in terms of their religious, economic, and political beliefs. They will also analyze the moral and economic reasons why the Lane Rebels came to Oberlin, and see how people have influenced Oberlin’s geography. They will analyze how these ideas have change over time (OHC, FF, T, RR).

Citizenship Rights and Responsibilities

A. Analyze ways people achieve governmental change, including political action, social protest and revolution.         (OHC, FF, RR)
B. Explain how individual rights are relative, not absolute, and describe the balance between individual rights, the rights of others, and the common good. (OHC, FF, T, RR)

Students will analyze how the Oberlin Wellington Rescue influenced governmental change. They will learn how people persuaded others by standing up for their beliefs and enacting legislation for human rights, public speaking, and social protests. They will be able to explain the difference between individual freedoms and understand the greater common good after learning about the risks people took to help move a runaway slave to freedom when it was illegal. (OHC, FF, RR) Students will be able to explain how the rights of women and African Americans in Oberlin were different from other areas in the country that believed women and African Americans should not be given rights, including the right to an education. (OHC, FF, T, RR)

Eleventh and Twelfth Grade


B. Use historical interpretations to explain current issues. (OHC, FF, T)

Students will learn about patterns in Oberlin’s architectural construction, demolition, and changes brought on by different factors such as materials, environment, modernization, and varying viewpoints (OHC, T). Students will learn about racial discrimination in our country’s history that still affects race relations in our country today. (FF)

People in Societies

A. Analyze how issues may be viewed differently by various cultural groups. (OHC, FF, T)
B. Identify the causes of political, economic and social oppression and analyze ways individuals, organizations and countries respond to resulting conflicts. (OHC, FF, T, RR)
C. Explain the role of diverse cultural institutions in shaping American society. (OHC, FF, T, RR)

Students will analyze varying viewpoints between women, missionaries, abolitionists, and slave holders and their results on the economy and racial/sexual discrimination in our country.


A. Explain how the character and meaning of a place reflect a society’s economics, politics, social values, ideology and culture. (OHC, FF, T, RR)
B. Evaluate the consequences of geographic and environmental changes resulting from governmental policies and human modifications to the physical environment. (T, RR)

Students will be able to explain Oberlin’s values politically and socially and how they have affected the society’s ideologies and culture in the past and present. 

Citzenship Rights and Responsibilities

A. Evaluate various means for citizens to take on a particular issue. (OHC, FF, T, RR)
B. Explain how the exercise of a citizen’s rights and responsibilities helps to strengthen a democracy. (OHC, FF, T, RR)

Students will learn about people who took very different stances on the issue of slavery, temperance, and women’s rights. These stances were driven by religion, politics, personal morals, and violence, which will all be examined throughout the tour. Students will also learn about people taking personal responsibility for providing a better future for all of our citizens, thus strengthening democracy in America.