Social Studies
Social Studies Multi-age Web Gallery Continents FLW Main Page Social Studies Weather Bibliography

Social Studies: Continents, Beginning Mapping, Climate and Food Production

Here the students were working on a drawing of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

1.Pretest: The students were given an index card and asked to draw a map of the world. 

2.Read the non-fiction books Continents and Oceans as an introduction.

3. The children went out to the playground to learn the four directions. Oriented towards north by both landmarks and by looking at the sun in relationship to the time of day. Did a version of Simon Says using the cardinal directions.

4. Posed the question as to what the difference was between a globe and a map.  Would a shape on a globe change it were a flat map? Using an orange, I then drew the continents on the orange and using a ruler measured the width of each. Then, roughly using the Mercator cuts, we pealed the orange and measured it. The kids then saw the effects of distortion.

5. Introduced a compass rose to indicate the cardinal directions. A series of pages on maps and directions from the Beginning Maps and Globes book was used to reinforce the directions.

6. The student selected their Continent groups. Each continent had four slots, which could be filed. The individual studentís numbers were put on a piece of paper and drawn randomly out of a hat. Each child then selected the group they would want to be in. After that, each group had to come up with a contract for the project. On the contract, were three behaviors that would help them do their job, three that would help them work in a group, three options if the group was not working well, and finally, three things they would like work towards. Each day the students worked on Continent Groups they used the rubric to score themselves. Click here for the contracts.

7. The groups then constructed grid maps of their continents.

8. Concurrently, they did the Continent Web Quest in the lab. Working together they discovered the major lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and atmosphere aspects of their continent, they explored how different amounts of light from the sun lead to different kinds of climate, and selected the city that they would chart on the next part of the project. See Web Quest link.  

9. After they finished, the children were introduced to physical maps in an atlas. They then used an atlas to help draw in the oceans, major lakes and rivers, and mountain ranges of their continents.

10. Climatic bands (artic, temperate, and tropical) were reinforced with the children as they drew the zones on a physical map. They then marked their cities in their countries. After a discussion about the topographical layout of each city, the students went and compared the climate of their city to what band the city fell in using the criterion they learned in their Taiwan location groups of elevation, protection and amount of sunlight to see if there was a mesh.  

11.The next major part of the geographical unit was based on a second grade web quest named Weather? A Weather Observational Check List. The children started out by graphing their cities temperature and comparing it to the current temperature in Taiwan as they had in their science charting.

12.Each group member had a different kind of job in interpreting the information. They met in their cross-continent groups to think about how they would display their data from their temperature graphs. The jobs are quoted as follows from the web site:

          Meteorologists - Your job is to keep track of the weather and find a pattern.

          Geographer - Your job is to find out how geography affects weather conditions.

          Mathematician - Your job is to use math to examine the weather.

          Clothing Designer - Your job is to design the right clothes for the weather in your city.

13.Following that discussion, each member of the group went back and then applied it to their country.

14. The students ended this section by given a hypothetical situation in which a sandstorm has struck their city for a week. They were to draw the adaptations that the people would have to make if this were to happen.                                

15. We read the book, Everyone Cooks Rice.  The focus was on not only understanding how various cultures use rice but location of rice growing countries. By doing this, they found that rice was grown in tropical areas that were near the equator with high heat and amount of water. 

16. This was followed up by a jigsaw activity where children compared Every One Cooks Rice to four different non-fiction articles on the various stages of rice production.  The children read the non-fiction, prioritized what they thought were the most important details, and then compared these in a form of a Venn diagram.

17. Bread was introduced by reading Bread, Bread, Bread and viewing the video Bread-From Farm to Table.  Farming techniques, bread making and distribution of bread was covered.

18. On Bread Day, the students made their own loaves of white bread while they did experiments with yeast. (See the Science section.) Click here for both recipes.

19. On Rice Day, the students ate a rice recipes that they selected from Everyone Cooks Rice, as well as comparing various types of rice. (See the science section.)

20. In social studies, as the final performance evaluation was to redraw their continents on index cards and then compare the information that they were able to give the second time around.

21. As the final behavioral evaluation, the children in each group totaled up their earnings for their Continent Contracts. Each 50 yen, earned them one of the things they wanted. All groups were able to get at least two things. The two most popular were a super huge word search and a small snack.