Typically, sixth graders learn about the earliest known humans, the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, development of tools and agriculture in social studies class. They also learn about civilizations that emerged in the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and Asia.
More specifically, students are introduced to origin and spread of religion and philosophy in sixth grade social studies, especially the major ones of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Greek and Hinduism. The migration of people across continents and their adaptation to new environments and climates teaches students about general development of societies and extends to the emergence of urban societies. Students also learn about the different political institutions (democracy, monarchy, and empire.) The diversification of societies and civilizations is tied to these themes, as they are characterized by surplus economies, centralized states, social hierarchies, trade, writing, art and architecture.
All of these subjects are founded upon previously learned history of colonial America, the constitution, and the birth of the nation. These topics allow students to expand on world history and its effect on the history of the United States, so that they gain a better of understanding of the country's progress as they progress to eighth grade. The essential skills learned include chronological and spatial thinking, map skills, primary and secondary sourcing, cause and effect and interpretation of events.