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21st Century Skills and the Ohio Social Studies Curriculum
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21st Century Skills and the Ohio Social Studies Curriculum

21st Century Skills

In October 2009, the state of Ohio joined the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), the leading national advocacy organization focused on integrating 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving and communication skills, into core subjects. Ohio becomes the 14th state to partner with the P21 coalition, committing to the development of a rigorous educational framework for Ohio ’s K – 12 students.

In an October 22nd press release, Governor Strickland stated that “ Ohio ’s designation as a Leadership State, coupled with our state’s new education plan, will ensure that 21st century learning is infused into our classrooms and curricula. Ohio is committed to providing every student with the skills and knowledge that will help them succeed after graduation in a fast-moving world where jobs are constantly advancing. It’s no secret that companies look for new employees who are innovative, think critically, and know how to solve complex problems. In Ohio, we’re preparing our students for the cutting-edge jobs of the modern economy.”

Moreover, as a member of the Partnership of 21st Century Skills, Ohio has committed to, within the next three years, ensuring that

  1. Every educator participates in at least one significant professional development program focused on integrating 21st Century Skills into content
  2. Update state standards to reflect a combination of skills and content
  3. Develop and introduce one significant assessment of 21st Century Skills.

Internet access to primary source documents and original artifacts is transforming teaching methods for students at all levels of education. The Hayes Presidential Center Website , with its emphasis on collections featuring primary source documents and original artifacts resources, is ideally suited to provide resources that assist educators in integrating 21st Century Skills into their Social Studies Curriculum.

Highlighted below are just a few of the important resources (from government, non-profit institutions, and the private sector) available to further assist Ohio educators in developing Social Studies curricula with lesson plans that utilize the 21st Century Skills of critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills. Each contains a multitude of links, grade level lesson plans based on primary sources and original artifacts, historical time periods, categories (i. e. visual arts, geography, economy, etc.) and interactive activities.


Database containing a series of lesson plans that utilize online research, integrating multimedia development

Smithsonian History Explorer

American History resources designed by the National Museum of American History that are fully aligned with national standards. Students can search by primary sources, websites, lessons/activities, artifacts, interactive media. The site also contains an interactive Timeline in American History. The timeline can be browsed by historical era or by one of eight themes.


The National Arts and Education Network integrates social studies and the arts. Materials can be searched by grade level and content (i.e., dance, music, theater, and visual arts). The site makes use of multimedia tools using voice and instrument, allowing students to compare and contrast music, art, and dance pieces, and interpret meanings and purpose.


National Council of Economic Education's Internet-based economic lesson materials for K-12 educators and their students.


National Geographic Society website with lessons and activities aligned with the U. S. National Geography Standards, containing maps, and interactive geographic journeys. Students can explore the world by region, environment, and physical landscape


National Endowment for the Humanities website features lessons in History and Social Studies, Literature and Language Arts, Art and Culture, and Foreign Languages. History and Social Studies lessons are searchable by grade level and category. EDSITE provides links to websites to a multitude of resources