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Andrea Coates

ISP:  INSTRUCTIONAL STRATEGIES PLAN

UNIT TOPIC:  United States Geography and Topography

 

UNIT OVERVIEW

            The topic of the geography and topography of the United States is of interest to students because students are living in the United States so they will want to be familiar with its geography and topography.  In this increasingly global world, the students in my class might grow up to be businesspeople or any other profession that requires them to travel for their work, so it is important to know about the geography of the United States.  Moreover, many of my students are the children of immigrant families so my students will not have the opportunity to learn about the geography of the United States from their parents so they should have the opportunity to thoroughly learn about the geography and topography of the United States.  Learning about various places is interesting to children in general because children like to imagine what it would be like to live in places that are different from where they currently live.

The purpose of this unit on U.S. geography and topography is to teach students about the lay of the land of the country in which they live.  I have noticed that many students leave elementary school with only a cursory conception of U.S. topography and geography.  People are at a great disadvantage when they are unfamiliar with the land where they live.  For example, if one of my students is interviewing for a job someday and the interviewer asks my former student if she is willing to relocate to Topeka there could be a problem if my student has no idea where Topeka is.  In fact, this lack of knowledge by my former student might cause the interviewer to decide not to offer the position to my former student. By teaching children about the different regions in the U.S. students will become aware that there are many different regional cultures and customs within the U.S.  Furthermore, as future voting citizens, it is important that my students feel familiar with areas of the U.S. so they feel like they are connected to the rest of the country, which is important for building a certain sense of patriotism and civil responsibility.  It is also important that students learn about U.S. topography and geography because when they grow up they probably will have to travel for personal reasons to visit relatives and friends.  Furthermore, when my students apply for scholarships to various universities, it is important to know about geography so that they can determine if the university is too far from home that it would cost too much to visit home.  The students need to learn how to read a map at a young age because many adults still don’t really know how to read a map. The purpose of this unit is to teach children important aspects of the geography and topography of the United States so they will be knowledgeable about the various regions of the U.S., about the topography of the U.S., about major cities, and about what various areas are known for.   By knowing about the geography of the U.S. my students will have the advantage of knowing about where they live and this will help my students become successful in the United States.

            This unit is targeted for fifth (5th) grade.  Students often learn about some U.S. history in the upper grades so it is important that they are very familiar with the topography and geography of the U.S. by this time so that they can better integrate what they learn in later history lessons.  By the fifth grade some students have a basic idea of U.S. geography but I believe when students are older when they are in fifth grade, they are ready to deepen and expand their knowledge of U.S. geography and topography.

            This unit is designed to be two and a half weeks in length.

 

5 UNIT LEARNING GOALS

1. The learner will be able to a. name the major regions of the U.S and will b. learn how to read a map. (part b makes use of the critical thinking/analytic cognitive level)

2. The learner will be able to recognize and describe the physical features of the U.S.

(This makes use of the knowledge cognitive level)

3. The learner will be able to create a U.S. map depicting U.S. topography and geography. (This makes use of the applications cognitive level).

4. The learner will be able to research and report on what various states are famous for. 

5. The learner will be able to identify the state to which various state capitols cities belong.

 

The Unit Learning Goals meet the following California State Standards:

1.                  Research topic from various resources including use of textbook, library, and internet.

2.                  Social Sciences—Familiarity with United States cities and geography

3.                  Social Sciences—Understanding how to create a map

4.                  Presentation—Ability to orally present information to others

 

INSTRUCTIONAL OVERVIEW

            I will teach some aspects of this unit in a deductive fashion, while I will teach other parts of this unit in an inductive manner.  I will begin the unit using the deductive approach, from generalizations to specific facts, so that my students are all on the same level of knowing the major regions of the U.S.  The deductive approach will be used when the knowledge foundation is needed in order to take the learning to the next level.  I want to educate my students about the “big picture” of the different regions of the U.S. and the geography and topography in general before we get into too many specifics as this will help them organize and internalize what they learn easier.  I feel that students must have an overall understanding of the different regions of the U.S. (ex: the Southern region) before they can appreciate where individual cities are (ex: Atlanta) in relation to the rest of the U.S.

            I will use direct instruction to introduce the information we will be learning in each lesson.  It is important to use some direct instruction where the teacher lectures for a few minutes because this will prepare students for high school and college where most of the instruction is direct instruction.  However, I believe a combination of direct and indirect instruction is necessary.  Elementary school children learn better from indirect instruction methods, so the majority of the time for each lesson will be taught in and indirect style.  Students will learn to discover things for themselves and this will help them retain the knowledge which makes the indirect approach better than just “spoon-feeding” the students.

            Once my students have developed sufficient background knowledge of the topic I will switch to a more inductive approach in which students will explore and research facets of the topic on their own so they can learn to think for themselves.  This will be accomplished by having the students work cooperatively in groups on projects at various learning centers such as a “map-making” learning center, for many lessons in the unit.  Cooperative learning will give my students the chance to learn from one another.  It will also give my students a sense of responsibility, internal locus of control, and it will increase their enthusiasm and participation since they have the opportunity to engage in hands-on learning. Cooperative learning group learning centers will help the students learn how to work in a group environment. Also, the class discussions will provide students with the chance to share their ideas and opinions and they will remember this more than the monotonous tone of a teacher lecturing. In this way this unit is student-centered and it espouses self-directed learning.  The unit is student-centered because the students will contribute to class discussions, ask questions to which they will be answered with feedback, and students will have the opportunity to discuss what they are learning with their peers.

            TEACHER FACILITATION: The teacher will facilitate student learning in general by prompting insightful questions during class discussions, by monitoring students via kid-watching, and by asking individual students questions and by giving students the opportunity to ask questions.  The teacher will answer questions, clarify points of confusion, and will use many visuals such as children-friendly maps.  The teacher will also facilitate student learning by using techniques that support different learning styles.  I will have some lessons that appeal to visual learners, other lessons that appeal to auditory-focused learners, and other lessons that include hands-on activities for students who learn by doing.  Some activities will be well-structured to appeal to field-dependent students while other lessons will be more open ended and creative to appeal to field-independent learners.  I will also model activities and projects while explaining them for my students so they have a better idea of what to do.  Furthermore, I will give my students an assessment rubric so they can see exactly what they must do to earn different levels of points and the teacher will provide a great deal of feedback.  Another example of teacher facilitation I will use is that I will use scaffolding techniques including the method of “previewing” vocabulary to help increase the amount of comprehensible input for those of my students who are English Language Learners.  Moreover, another aspect of teacher facilitation that should not be overlooked is the energy and enthusiasm the teacher puts into the lessons.  Instead of giving a boring lecture that strains children’s attention spans, I will try to make the lessons fun, enjoyable, interesting, and authentic in quality.

            Furthermore, I designed this unit to be thematic in that the lesson plans draw on various other subjects such as language arts, technology, writing, research and investigation skills, and the arts.

            The lessons in this unit build upon one another.  Knowledge students learn from the first lesson are useful background knowledge that help them complete the second lesson, and they learn things in the second lesson that help them with the third lesson and so forth.

            In this unit we will also have class discussions in which we consider questions such as why U.S. states are different certain shapes and sizes.  At the end of the unit students will ultimately be able to create (draw) a map of the U.S. including topographical features, state boundaries, different colored regions of the U.S., with labels of big cities, and what various states are known for, also including the locations of national or historic monuments.

            This unit is designed to help students acquire a good understanding of, and become aware of, the land in which they live.  Knowing the topography and geography of the U.S. will help students in their personal and work lives.  It is also designed to help students learn about the process of classification, and it will help students learn how to read maps in general. 

            Lesson number 1/ U.S. Topography will open the unit by giving students an overview of U.S. topography and geography.  This lesson is the first in the series because it is designed to put all of my students on the same page.  By fifth grade some students have some knowledge of U.S. geography, especially if they have traveled.  It is important to refresh everyone’s memory and teach them something new also.

            I will begin Lesson 1/ “U.S. Topography: Physical Features of the U.S.” by giving a prompt to spur their curiosity and I will ask them questions during a class discussion.  I will have my students locate the U.S. on a globe and we will discuss how the U.S. is in the northern hemisphere.  As part of an anticipatory set to spur their curiosity I will show the National Geographic Educational Video on U.S. Topography and Geography.  The video has stunning camera shots of physical features of the U.S. such as stunning vistas of the Rockies, incredible shots of the Grand Canyon, a visit to the swamps in Florida, views of the Great Lakes and the Great Salt Lake, shots of the expansive Mississippi River, views of Mount Rushmore, shots of the hot springs at Mount Rushmore, magnificent views of Half Dome at Yosemite National Park, views of the expansive plains, the glaciers in Alaska, and the waterfalls on the Hawaiian Islands.  This will pique my students’ curiosity and it will inspire them to learn about the lay of the land in the U.S.  For the next part of the lesson we will discuss the video and we’ll have a class discussion on U.S. topography. I will take out an outline of the U.S. that marks our country’s borders and I will use this on the overhead projector.  During the class discussion that ensues I will ask students to name some physical features of the U.S.  If someone says “The Rocky Mountains” I will ask the students where I should draw the Rocky Mountains with my marker on the overhead outline of the U.S.  I will draw all the physical features that my students name and I will prompt them and give them clues to some physical features they are missing.  For example, I will ask the students if they know of any big lake in Utah that is salty.  This might prompt a student to name the Great Salt Lake.  I will discuss what the term “topography” and I will draw other physical features on the overhead projector map that the students were not familiar with.  Many students might not be familiar with the Cascade Mountains by fifth grade, so I will teach them by showing them on the map.  After our class discussion, we will read a section out of our social studies/ history textbooks on U.S. geography and topography, and we will also read a selection on various physical features of the U.S. out of a book from the school library.  We will do this by “popcorn” reading where one student reads a paragraph and then calls on another student at random to read.  After we do our reading I will tell my students that we are going to write a poem about the physical features in the U.S.  I will model for them that I want them to write “UNITED STATES” vertically, with one letter on each successive line of their paper.  Then they are to start each line with that particular letter.  They will also learn that a poem need not rhyme.  For example, I will tell them that when I write the poem I will begin my poem: “Under the geysers at Yellowstone there are hot springs, Northwest has mountains called the Cascades, I can’t believe the Grand Canyon is so deep, To the south the border of Texas is marked by the Rio Grande River,…etc.  I will tell my students that each line of their poems must talk about the physical features of the U.S. and they must include the appropriate names.  I will give them an example of what not to do by telling them not to write “There are mountains in the northwest.”  Rather, they are to include the appropriate name, that is, the Cascades.

Lesson 2/ “Regions of the U.S.is designed to clarify and expand students’ conceptions of the major regions of the U.S.  By fifth grade some students have some knowledge of U.S. geography, but many students have never traveled to many places in the U.S. and they often don’t really know where a state like Missouri or Wisconsin is located.  This lesson will teach students the official names of various regions.  For example, by fifth grade some students know that Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona are all in “The West.”  However, most students probably do not know the official classifications that distinguish the three states such as the Pacific Coast Region, the Rocky Mountain Region, and the Southwestern Region, respectively.  I will have the students work in pairs.  I will hand each pair a handout that has the outline of the U.S. on it.  I will tell them that they are to divide up the U.S. into seven regions depending on how they se best fit.  I will tell them that they can divide up the U.S. into seven sections however they think it should be done, but I will tell them they might want to take into consideration U.S. topography when dividing up the U.S.  This will help me gain an idea of students’ prior knowledge regarding U.S. geography.  After students divide up their outlines of the U.S. on the handout into seven sections we will have a class discussion.  Students will volunteer to share how they divided up the U.S. and we will discuss how it makes sense to divide the U.S. into seven regions based on distinctions between north, south, east, and west.  We will discuss how many of the states in a particular region have a lot in common.  For example, the Midwestern Region is composed of a cluster of states that are very flat plains, while all of the states in the Rocky Mountain Region have big mountain peaks of the Rocky Mountains.  We will also discuss why the Northeast is separated into the New England Region and the Middle Atlantic Region.  Students will learn that states are smaller in these regions because that is where the European settlers started to settle during a time when means of transportation were slow.  After our class discussion students will get into groups of four or five.  I will give them small note-cards.  They will work together by looking at a map with states colored in various colors according to the region.  I will show students that they map key tells them that yellow states all belong to the Southwestern Region.  I will instruct the students to write the name of each state on one side of the note-cards and the region to which that state belongs on the reverse side of the note-card.  The students in each group will quiz each other.  For example, one student will say “Maryland” and the other student will hopefully say “Southern Region.”  Then the student who answered correctly first will choose a card from the deck, will say “North Dakota” and another student will say “Midwestern Region.”  After I give the students some time to practice within their groups we will play a game as a class.  I will divide the class into two teams and I will tell the students we are going to have a little light competition game in which we will put together the pieces of a big jigsaw puzzle of the U.S.  A student will call out the name of a state and whatever group gets the right answer by saying the correct region to which it belongs will get a point.  Then someone within that group will place the state in the proper position.  If the student knows that Oklahoma is in the Southwestern region the team gets one point.  However, if the team member places Oklahoma in its correct position (directly above Texas) then the team gets an extra point.  This light competition increases student participation and attention, yet it is not harmful because the winning team is not rewarded with a prize.  The completion of the jigsaw puzzle map as a class completes Lesson 2.

Lesson 3/ “Research and Presentation on a U.S. State” is designed to deepen students knowledge of the particulars of a U.S. state of their choice.  So far students know where states are and what physical features are present in various areas but now we need to give students a personal connection with a state of their choice.  This is important for students to learn that even though states are grouped together in a particular region like the Rocky Mountain Region, despite this lumping together, each state within that region is unique in many ways.  This will teach students “not to judge a book by its cover” because even though all the states in this region are colored orange on the map (as noted in the key) each state is unique.  Students will learn how to research information about their state on the internet and we will go to the school library and find books pertaining to various states.  I will teach students how to search for information on the internet and we will use educational websites that are relatively easy for the students to read and understand.  The students will learn how to scan articles from websites and books for information they are looking for by spotting for key words.  This will also give students an authentic opportunity to use the index in books to find particular information about their selected state. Each student will research a different state and will answer a set of questions I have prepared such as “What is this state famous for, what types of manufacturing occur in this state, do a lot of people live in this state, what’s the weather like, what’s the capitol of the state, what would you recommend a tourist to visit in this state?”  Students will write a short essay including a paragraph in response to each of these questions and will conclude with a paragraph of why the student is interested in the particular state she chose.  The next day the students will each give a short oral presentation about their state to the class and the rest of the class will take notes in their journals so they can use this information for the project in the final lesson.

Lesson 4/ “Reading a Map” is will build on students’ knowledge from the prior lessons.  It is helpful that they already have an idea about where states are and where physical features of the U.S. are located so they can better imagine what it would be like to travel from city A to city B.  First I will give the class a general lesson on map-reading with special attention to the key.  We will learn how to measure distances on the map(one inch represents 100 miles) and we will note marks of elevation and the difference between major highways and smaller roads. I will go over an example in map-reading with the class as a whole.   For example, I will give the example that we have to travel from Oklahoma City to Denver.  I will photocopy the map from Rand McNally’s Atlas Today’s World and I will bring in maps from the Automobile Club.  I will show the map to the students and I will ask them how we should get there.  Since the Rockies are in the way somewhat we will discuss how we should go north on the highway from Oklahoma City up a little past Wichita, Kansas, at which point we should turn left and go west on the highway that will bring us west all the way to Denver.  We will then discuss how far the trip will be.  We will look at the key and note that one centimeter is 100 miles.  We will measure the number of centimeters with a ruler from Oklahoma City to Wichita and we will add this number to the number of centimeters from Wichita to Denver, which turns out to be about 8 centimeters.  Since each centimeter represents 100 miles we know that our entire trip will be (8X100=800) about 800 miles.  Next we can calculate how long it would take us to go from Oklahoma City to Denver if we drive at an average speed of 60 miles per hour.  This means that in every one hour we travel 60 miles. To do this we will do the following conversion (given that we have already studied conversions in math lessons) where the units cancel:

800 miles X  1 hour/    

                                60 miles

In this case the miles cancel since miles are in the numerator and the denominator and we are left with 800/60 hours.  We reduce 80/6 and do long division to determine that it will take us approximately a little over thirteen hours.  This kind of application will be very useful for students to know in the future.  I will have the students work collaboratively in groups of about four and I will give each group a similar problem, “How to go from Nashville, TN, to Trenton, NJ?” Each group will answer the following questions:  What route should we take?  How many miles is it? About how long will it take us to get there if we drive at about 50 miles per hour?  What should we pack for the trip given the weather in the region we are going to?  Is there any historic site along the way we might want to see?  What will the elevation be like for parts of the trip?  Will we see any big rivers/mountains, etc?  The group members will take on different roles and the recorder will write the answers to the questions on a piece of paper that each group will turn in to the teacher at the end of Lesson 4.

The unit will culminate with Lesson 5/ “Drawing a Detailed Map of the U.S.” which will sum up what students have been learning about U.S. topography and geography during the two and a half week unit.  I will explain to my students the steps involved in map-making.  This final lesson will hopefully cement in students’ brains the locations of the fifty states, the relative sizes and shapes of the states, and the regions in which the states are found.  This will be accomplished by having students, in small groups, start with a big blank sheet of white construction paper.  They will use maps provided to study the shapes and sizes of the states.  They will begin the map-making process by carefully drawing the outline of the United States in pencil and they will draw the boundaries of each individual state.  I will remind them to study the sizes of each state relative to the others carefully so they remember to draw Montana larger than Wyoming, for instance.  Once they have drawn the outlines of each state they will write the name of each state, the capital, and what the state is famous for within the boundaries of the state.  Once they have done this for all states they will draw significant topographical features such as various mountain ranges, noteworthy lakes and rivers, and the locations of national historic monuments.  Finally they will use colored pencils to lightly shade in states according to the region to which they belong, and what the color represents (ie. Yellow for Southwest Region) should be noted in the key.  Also noted in the map key will be approximate relative distances (ie. One inch represents 100 miles).  Upon completion of the map students will be very familiar with the topography and geography of the U.S., as they have studied this topic for the past two and a half weeks.  The last activity of the unit that I will use as a assessment in addition to the other assessments will be a selected response multiple choice test that includes matching, true and false, etc.  Also, I will include a page of short response questions so students can express their knowledge in multiple ways.

Since my goal is to have my students walk away knowledgeable about the topography and geography of the U.S. I have chosen to present the material in a variety of ways so all my students with various learning styles learn about the country in which they live.  I have used inductive, deductive, direct, and indirect forms of instruction in addition to the use of learning centers and cooperative learning hands-on activities because all of these techniques have been supported by research in the field of education.

Clearly then, I have designed my lessons based on the tenet that variety of instruction techniques is the best method.  This is how I will facilitate the instruction of my unit.  I will use a variety of instructional methods so every student can relate to some technique and students will learn about different ways of learning.  The introduction to many lessons starts out with a deductive approach that involves direct instruction and modeling by the teacher to get the students started.  The activities are based on a more inductive approach in which students engage in discovery learning where they learn things by drawing their own conclusions rather than being constantly spoon-fed the information.  Most of the activities during my lessons included cooperative learning experiences for my students in which they worked on a project with several peers at learning centers to produce a final product.

I will also facilitate the instruction of these lessons by constantly monitoring the students by circulating through the classroom and noting how students are doing on their activities.  I will use kid-watching techniques to monitor students’ interest and attentiveness in various activities.  If students seem to be having a hard time or look bored I will explain the concepts again, answer questions, and I might choose to modify the activity to make it appeal to my students more.

 COGNITIVE PROGRESSION/STRUCTURE OF THE UNIT: the activities I planned invoked a range of different cognitive levels with the earlier lessons focusing on knowledge levels and then invoking reasoning, critical thinking, analytical and application knowledge levels as the lessons progressed and built on one another over time.  First we learned about the lay of the physical landscape of the U.S.  Then we learned how some of the physical features of the land form the basis for dividing the U.S. up into several general regions.  Next we learned general information about individual states by doing research and then giving presentations.  Once we had an idea of where places were and why they are significant, we learned how to read a map.  We applied this to think about how we would travel from one city to another, how far it was, what to pack for our trip, etc.  Other lessons in this unit expand on the topic of topography and U.S. geography.  The final lesson tied everything we had learned together in that groups of students designed their own detailed maps of the U.S. and this hands-on activity will help them remember the topic of U.S. topography and geography.

Students should come away from this unit with thorough understanding of the regions of the U.S., an idea of where states are located, an appreciation that each state is unique, an understanding of the physical features of the U.S., skills regarding map-reading and map-making, reasoning, researching and critical thinking skills, and a better idea of how to work cooperatively with others.

ASSESSMENT OVERVIEW:

--All the ways in which I will obtain evidence of student learning:

I will use a wide variety of assessment techniques during this unit.  At the beginning of the unit I will use mostly informal assessments such as personal communication, student self-assessments, kid watching, and class discussions.  Students will still be learning the material at the beginning of  the unit, and they learn at different rates, so it is best to give them time to learn the material before they are formally tested on it.  The informal assessments I will use during the earlier lessons, such as the lessons I will present the first week, are used mostly to give me, the teacher, a better idea of how my students are digesting the material.  From these informal assessments  I will learn what I should clarify, where the students are having trouble, what they already know, and how I should modify the following lessons.  The students will do self-assessments when they write in their journals about what they learned, what they felt confused about and need to review, what they feel very knowledgeable about, etc.

During the second week of studying this topic, after students have background knowledge about U.S. topography and geography, I will use more formal assessment methods such as performance assessments (in which I will take the product and the process of completing that product as evidence of student learning) which measure skills, some selected response questions including selected response, true and false questions, and matching ( which will assess basic student knowledge), and I will use some short essay questions which will be a good evidence for students’ knowledge, reasoning, and affect/dispositions regarding the topic (according to Stiggins). 

RATIONALE FOR WHY I CHOSE EACH ASSESSMENT METHOD: I chose to use a variety of assessment methods because different assessment methods provide me with different kinds of information.  My goal is for my students to achieve a variety of outcomes, and I want my assessment methods to be well matched to Stiggins target areas of learning.  I used performance assessment so I will have evidence that students can do a skill such as determine from the key of a map how many miles it is from point A to point B and I will also use performance assessment to evaluate students’ ability to collaboratively construct a product, namely, their final project, the map of the U.S.  Since the performance assessment won’t tell me much about the affect/dispositions of my students  I will use personal communication and essay questions to ascertain this.  Furthermore, since reasoning skills involve the opportunity for explanations by the student I will use personal communication and essay questions to assess students’ reasoning ability. Throughout the unit  I will assess students knowledge of the topic.  I will asses them informally during the first week by personal communication and then I will assess them formally during the second week via essays, performance assessments, and selected response test questions.  I used a variety of assessment methods also due to the fact that students with different cognitive learning styles do better on different types of assessments.  Since some of my students are English-Language-Learners I might better discover how much they really comprehend by personal communication and performance assessments since they might not understand the questions on a selected response test.  Other students have a terrible time with selected response tests but can show they know the subject when given the opportunity to write about it in their own words.  Still, other students do best when they can create things in a hands-on fashion, so those students will be able to shine during the part of the assessment where I assess the products they produced, and the related skills used. 

HOW I WILL COLLECT, AND USE, MY ASSESSMENT INFORMATION:

            Personal Communication Method:  I will collect evidence of learning via personal communication by class discussions and by talking privately with individuals.  During class discussions I will note how students are responding, and I will note any inconsistencies in their explanations.  I will ask them to clarify when their responses imply incorrect information.  I will ask the class questions continually during class discussions to collect evidence that students are learning the material.  Also, when the students are working either individually at their desks or in groups I will circulate around the classroom asking various students if they have any questions and I will ask them some questions so I can get an idea of how well they understand the concepts by talking to them.  I will keep a little notepad in my pocket and I will jot down notes of areas of confusion amongst my students.

            Other Informal Assessments such as Student Self-Assessments:  I will collect other informal evidence of learning by collecting students’ journals and I will read their short responses to my questions.  This will not be graded but it will give me a sampling of what they have learned.  One such journal question might be “Tell me about all the mountain ranges you know of in the U.S.?”  I will collect the journals every few days and this will help me determine what I need to clarify during the next lesson.

            Formal Assessment methods:  I will have each student write a short essay about the state that he or she researched.  This essay is to include all major topographical features in the state, the location of the state (the region), and the capital and big cities in that state.  I will take the essay as evidence that the student knows how to research a topic and how to write an essay in paragraph form.  This essay will give me some insight into the students’ conception of where a particular state is located and what physical features are found in that region of the U.S.  I will collect assessment information from performance assessments when the students make their final product, their hand-drawn detailed maps of the U.S.  From the final product, the map that they will turn in, I will collect information regarding their knowledge (it will show me they know the relative sizes of various states, what region they are found in, and what topographical features are found in various regions).  Also, I will monitor the students during the process of their map-making activity and I will also consider this as evidence of their learning about the process of how to go about making a map and labeling it using a key.  Finally at the end of the unit I will give them a selected response quiz with twenty questions regarding U.S. geography and topography.  All questions in the selected response quiz will assess students’ knowledge about things we covered in depth.  If the student gets 16/20 answers correct he will get an A.  If he gets 12-16 correct he will get a B.  If he gets 8-12 correct he will get a C.  These are just grades on the quiz.  I will provide feedback and explanations of grades for all graded material, including essay and performance assessments.  There will be matching questions, multiple choice, and true/false questions as part of this selected response quiz.  I will take the score on this quiz as evidence of student knowledge. I feel it is important to give the students one selected response quiz at the end of the unit because it will give students practice in taking tests.  Even though I believe tests are not the best way to assess students’ ability, college admissions and administrations require that students take tests as evidence of their knowledge so it is a good idea to have students practice taking multiple choice tests.  This is why I included a selected response quiz at the end of the unit.  Students’ final grade for this unit will be based on a combination (weighted average) of all the assessment methods mentioned.

            To collect evidence of student learning from Lesson 1 I will use personal communication during the class discussion and I will collect their poems (product/performance assessment) about the physical features of the U.S. to assess how well they are digesting the material. This will be graded with a check, check plus, or check minus, depending on the effort and if the students followed my guidelines in one of the checklists I gave them. 

            To collect evidence of student learning from Lesson 2 I will use personal communication as I ask individual groups questions and I will use monitoring while I watch how much trouble students have in completing the jigsaw puzzle “Name the Region” game.  Students will write about their experience in this game in their journals (student self-assessment) and I will read their journals (informal assessment) to collect evidence of student learning and points of confusion.

            To collect evidence of student learning from Lesson 3 I will use personal communication in which I will talk with individual students about how they are coming on their research projects for the state they will write their essay about.  I will also collect evidence of student learning from reading their essays. Their essays will be given a check plus if they included 9-10 the items I asked for on the check-ist, a check if they included 6-8 items I asked them to include and a check minus if they included five or fewer items that I asked for on the checklist. 

            To collect evidence of student learning for Lesson 4 I will use personal communication and performance assessments in which I will collect students responses to my questions and I’ll take this as evidence of student learning.  I will ask students to show their work so if they set up the conversion from centimeters to miles correctly but did not compute the correct answer I will still take it as evidence of student learning.

            To collect evidence of student learning from Lesson 5 I will use performance assessment in which I will take their product, their hand-drawn detailed map of the U.S. as evidence of student learning.  I will also monitor students (via kid-watching) during the process of their map-making exercise and I will consider this also as evidence of student learning.  BELOW IS A RUBRIC FOR HOW I WILL ASSESS THE MAP:

AUTHENTIC PEFORMANCE ASSESSMENT INSTRUMENT:

The authentic performance assessment instrument I have chose to assess the product (detailed hand-drawn U.S. map) for Lesson 5 is an analytic/Primary Trait Scale that will serve as an assessment rubric.  I will give this rubric to each student before they begin the project so they know what I will be looking for in their final product when I grade it.  I chose to use the primary trait scale because there are several aspects of the map I will be assessing, and there are multiple combinations of points to be earned, so I must be able to assign a point value to each trait individually.  This is why a primary trait scale is the best assessment rubric for this particular performance assessment project.  I will be assessing three traits: Trait A/Topographical features, Trait B/Region distinctions Trait C/Capitol cities.  Level 1 signifies highest accomplishment on meeting all the requisites for a state, Level 2 means average accomplishment, and Level 3 represents relatively poor accomplishment.  To determine the overall grade on the project I will take the average of the scores on the three traits.  I will provide the rubric with comments as feedback to the students so they can see why they earned the mark they earned.

            For Lesson 5 the project will be for the students to draw a map of the U.S. with certain components included.  I will encourage the students to include as many features as they can as these maps will be displayed during Open House.  However, I will tell them that I am only grading them on three main areas, namely their work regarding topography, regions, and capitol cities.  For the project the students will work in groups of about four.  I will give each group a large sheet of white construction paper.  The students will draw the outline of the U.S., the state boundaries, will label each state with the state name, the capitol city, etc.  I will encourage the students to write such facts as what the state is famous for or how large the population is, but they are only to do this after they finish what is required since they will only be graded on topography, regions, and capitols.  I want the students to choose five topographical physical landscape features of the U.S. and I want them to draw these features (labeled) in the correct region of the U.S.  For example, if students draw the Great Lakes for one of their features, but place this feature in the Rocky Mountains region this will not count as a physical feature since they were completely wrong on its location.  I want the students to use color pencils to shade in all the states in the Southwest Region one color, and all the states in the Midwest Region another color as labeled in the legend of the map.  If a student’s legend says pink represents the Southern Region and blue represents the Midwestern Region, and the student colors Kentucky blue (as a Midwestern state instead of a Southern state) the student, and the student colors all the other states their appropriate regional color as indicated in the legend, the student will have colored 49/50 states correctly and this places him in Level 1for the Region trait.  Finally, students will be assessed by the number of capitols they labeled correctly for the state.  If a student accidentally names the capitol of North Dakota Pierre and the capitol of South Dakota Bismark (switching the capitols) but the student labels all other capitols appropriately for their state, the student will have labeled 48/50 capitols correctly and this merits Level 1 for the Capitols trait.  Each student will be graded based on the map created by his group.  I will make sure my collection of student performance data is reliable by monitoring students while they are working in groups to make sure everyone is participating and I will tell students I will mark them down if I find them not participating.  I will use this performance data to compute students’ grades on their map-making project, and this grade will be averaged with all the other assessments to compute their overall grade for the unit.  I will collect student performance data by collecting the group-made maps and assessing them. When I grade their maps I will use the rubric shown below to reliably evaluate their performance on this product. This is for Lesson Plan # 5

AUTHENTIC PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT INSTRUMENT RUBRIC:

PRIMARY TRAIT SCALE:

________________________________________________________________________

                        |           TRAIT A:         |           TRAIT B:         |           TRAIT C:         |          

                        |           Topography      |           Regions            |           Capitols            |

 

LEVEL 1         student drew 5              student colored 46-50        Student wrote the correct

(3pts)               physical features           states the right color            name of the capitol of

                        and the features            according to major              and the state name of

                        were located in U.S. region as                     46-50 states.

                        the proper shaded         noted in the key.

                        region.                          (ie. Oklahoma is

                        (ie. The Rocky              colored yellow

                        Mountains were            because it belongs

                        drawn in the                  to the Southwestern

                        orange-shaded  Region and yellow

                        Rocky Mountain           demarks the Southwest

                        Region.)                       according to the key.

 

________________________________________________________________________

LEVEL 2         student drew 3-4          student grouped 40-46             Student wrote the

(2pts)               physical features           states into the correct               correct name of the

                        and 3-4 of the               major U.S. region by                capitol and state name

                        topographical                coloring 40-46 states                of 40-46 states.

                        features were                the proper color for

                        located within               the region as noted in

                        the proper major           the map key.

                        U.S. region

 

Level 3 student drew                 student  colored 39                   student wrote the

(1pt)                 2 or fewer                    or fewer U.S. states                  correct name of

                        Topographical              the proper color for                  the capitol and the

                        Features in the their region as                           state name of 39 or

                        Correct major               depicted in the map’s                fewer states.

                        U.S. region.                  key/legend.

Level 0             No attempt                   No attempt                               No attempt

 

I will add up all the points a student earned by adding up the total number of points he earned on this rubric.  The following grading scale will be used:

9pts=A+, 8pts=A, 7pts=B+, 6pts=B, 5pts= C+, 4pts=C, 3pts=D+, 2pts=D, 1pt=F

 

LESSON PLANS:

 

LESSON PLAN #1:

Introduction, Purpose, Overview

LESSON TITLE: “Physical Features of the U.S.

Unit Topic: Topography and Geography of the U.S.

Time: 1 class period, about 90 minutes

Grade Level: Fifth (5th) grade

Subject Area: Reading, language arts and poetry, basic science

Goal: To introduce students to the physical features of the U.S. and the topic of topography. The students will understand what types of physical features there are on the U.S. landscape, and they will understand about where these features are located.

Specific Behavioral OBJECTIVES: 

1.  The learner will be able to make a list of at least five physical features of the U.S. landscape.

2.  The learner will identify the approximate locations of various physical features of the U.S. landscape (ie. They will know that the Cascade mountains are in the northwestern U.S.)

3.  The learner will create an acrostic poem in which they describe features of the physical landscape of the U.S.

STANDARDS:

This lesson meets standards in the following areas:

Reading Comprehension—Students will comprehend what they read about academic subject matter.

Writing Standards—Students will be able to write more complex poems that do not necessarily rhyme.

Social Studies/Geography—Students will be knowledgeable of the location of various physical features of the U.S. landscape.

MATERIALS: National Geographic Educational Video about the physical features of the U.S. landscape, television, overhead projector, overheads, chalk for the board, social studies textbooks, 30 sheets of lined paper, 30 pencils, teacher’s model poem, dictionary.

PROCEDURE (Steps)

ANTICIPATORY SET: 

1.                  We will watch the National Geographic educational video on the physical features of the U.S. landscape.

PROMPT:

2.                  Hold a class discussion about the U.S. physical landscape

3.                  Ask students to name all the physical features they already know and draw the features on an overhead that you project via an overhead projector.  For example, if one student says “The Cascade Mountains” ask him where you should draw them on the map.

ACTIVITY:

1.                              Discuss the term “topography.”

2.                              Popcorn-read the selection on the U.S. physical landscape out of the social studies textbook.

3.                              Explain what an acrostic poem is and tell the students they are to write such a poem in which they describe physical features of the U.S. landscape. Tell the students that they will write “UNITED STATES” vertically on their page, with one letter on each successive line.  They will use each letter in “UNITED STATES” to begin that line of the poem

4.                              Model the project for the students and show them the example the teacher has written (see my explanation in the Instructional Overview section).

CLOSURE:

5.                              Have the students work independently on their poems and provide each student with a map of physical features on the U.S. landscape. Provide students with a checklist of things to include in their poem.

6.                              Have the students hand in their poems and ask them if they had any questions.

FOLLOW-UP/Extension Activity:  Have the students read their poems to one another in partners so they learn about other landscape features that they did not include in their own poems.

ASSESSMENT FOR LESSON 1:  I will use informal assessment methods such as personal communication with individual students while they are writing their poems and I will evaluate their learning from the responses they give to the questions I ask them during the class discussion. This will tell me what I need to clarify or re-teach. I will grade their poems by judging them according to the checklist that I provided the students.  If the students included all the aspects on the checklist the student will receive a check plus.   If the student was missing several items in the poem from the checklist I will return the poem with feedback about what the student needs to do in order to improve.  I will give the students who were missing several items the chance to polish their poem up for homework and then they can re-submit the poem to get a check plus. This will show me how well students are internalizing the new information.

 

LESSON PLAN # 2

 

TITLE:  “REGIONS OF THE U.S.

UNIT TOPIC: U.S. Topography and Geography

TIME: 1 class period, about 90 minutes

GRADE: Fifth (5th) grade

SUBJECT AREA:  language arts (spelling, speaking), geography, critical thinking

GOAL:  To introduce students to why U.S. states are classified into various regions and to deepen students’ knowledge of the regional locations of individual U.S. states.

Specific Behavioral OBJECTIVES:

1.                  The learner will categorize (match) individual states to the appropriate geographical region to which they belong (ie. by saying “Southwest” when shown the piece of the jigsaw puzzle labeled Arizona)

2.                  The learner will compare and contrast the sizes and shapes of different U.S. states

3.                  The learner will be able to describe in detail why various states belong to the same major U.S. region (ie. Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah all belong to the Rocky Mountain Region because all these states contain the Rocky Mountains).

STANDARDS:

This lesson meets standards in the following areas:

Analytical skills--students learn how to compare and contrast.

Oral Communication skills—students will be able to explain academic matters

Study Skills—students  will be made aware of ways to help them study (such as flashcards)

MATERIALS:  30 Worksheets/Handouts with outline of the borders of the U.S., 30 pencils, overheads, overhead projector, dry-erase marker, (50 states X 5 groups=) 250 small note-cards, U.S. maps from the AAA, 30 copies of U.S. map from textbook, jigsaw puzzle of the U.S., scorecard to keep track of points.

PROCEDURE:

            ANTICIPATORY SET:

1.                  Pass out the worksheet/handouts of the outline borders of the U.S. to each student.  Instruct the students to think about what they learned about the major features of the U.S. landscape from Lesson 1 and instruct them to divide up the continental U.S. into seven areas as they see best fit to categorize different parts of the U.S.

2.                  Ask students to share with the class how they divided up the U.S. into seven sections.

PROMPT:

3.                  Hold a class discussion.  Prompt students with questions such as, “Why should we group certain states together into the same region?”  “Does it makes sense to classify different regions in terms of north, south, east, and west?”

4.                  Ask students why they think western states are generally larger than eastern states?

5.                  Discuss with students why certain states have certain shapes (when a major river borders the state).

ACTIVITY:

1.                              Have the students get into groups of about 5

2.                              Teacher will distribute a stack of 50 small flashcards to each group.

3.                              Students in each group will divide up the note-cards between them.

4.                              The teacher will instruct the students to write the name of a U.S. state on one side of the notecard and the region to which it belongs on the reverse side (for example, they will write “Oklahoma” on one side of the notecard and “Southwest” on the reverse side.

5.                              Once they complete their notecards, each group will quiz each other using the notecards as flashcards.

6.                              The teacher will instruct the class that they will play a group game with a large jigsaw puzzle of the U.S. with the class divided into two teams. 

7.                              One person will call out the name of a state (say Oregon) and then one person from team X will have the chance to give the answer.  If that person says “Pacific Coast Region” (the correct answer) that team will get one point.  Since team X got the answer correct they get a chance of placing Oregon in the right spot on the map (below Washington state) that is already there.  If they do this correctly team X gets another point.  However, if team X did not do either of these tasks correctly team Y will get a chance.

8.                              Continue the sub-steps in step 7 until you have completed the jigsaw puzzle.

CLOSURE:

9.                              Have the students gather/sit around the completed jigsaw puzzle and take a photograph (provided parents’ earlier permission) for the class scrapbook.

10.                          FOLLOW UP/EXTENSION ACTIVITY:  Have the students get back into their earlier groups.  One student in each group will count the number of states in the region they were assigned to, another person in the group will record it in their journal, another student in the group will write the name of the region with the corresponding number of states on the board (i.e. New England Region: 6), an another student will report the number to the class.

ASSESSMENT FOR LESSON 2:  For this lesson I will use solely informal assessment because students are just starting to learn about which states belong to which regions of the U.S. since it is only our second lesson in the unit.  I will assess them informally when the students are quizzing each other with the flashcards.  I will circulate from group to group and I will mentally note if students are taking a long time to locate Kentucky or whether they quickly and confidently respond that it belongs to the Southern Region.  Also, when we are playing our jigsaw puzzle game as a class I will note the approximate percentage of correct answers.  For example, if students give correct answers for most of the Rocky Mountain Region states I will not have us spend much more time on that region.  However, If students tend to get a significant percentage of answers wrong for the Middle Atlantic Region and the Southern Region I might ask the students to study these two regions for a quiz in a few days.

 

 

 

LESSON PLAN # 3

 

TITLE:  “RESEARCH AND PRESENTATION ON A U.S. STATE”

UNIT TOPIC:  U.S. Topography and Geography

TIME: 2 class periods, about 120 minutes

GRADE LEVEL:  Fifth (5th) grade

SUBJECT AREA:  language arts, speech, researching, technology, and writing

GOAL:  For each student to develop an in-depth understanding of one U.S. state; to give students skills in researching, technology, and summarizing.  The students will know how to present academic material to an audience.

Specific Behavioral OBJECTIVES:

1.  The learner will demonstrate that he/she knows how to use the internet to research his/her state by providing a list of websites used to research his/her state. (Application)

2.  The learner will write a short essay in which they summarize and describe several noteworthy points about their state.

3.  The learner will explain to the class audience where his or her state is located, the physical setting, and one other interesting fact about the state. (Comprehension)

STANDARDS: 

Students will be knowledgeable about how to use the internet for research. 

Students will be able to write an essay about academic content, students will be ale to summarize and present academic material to an audience.

MATERIALS:  Computers with internet access, a selection of library books on U.S. states, encyclopedias (from teacher’s home), dry-erase marker for the board, 30 pieces of lined paper, 30 pencils, dictionary, students’ journals for them to take notes.

PROCEDURE:

            ANTICIPATORY SET/PROMPT:

1.                                          The teacher will ask her class if they know what certain U.S. states are well-known for. 

2.                                          Hold a class discussion and write down student input on the board

3.                                          Count up the number of facts students know about the U.S. states.

4.                                          Tell students that there are so many interesting facts about U.S. states.

5.                                          Ask the class if anyone knows the home of President Lincoln is Illinois.

ACTIVITY:

1.                  Each student will choose one U.S. state to research and present.

2.                  Take the class to the school library and have them find books that they can use to research their state of interest.

3.                  Bring the library books back to the classroom and have the students read about their state.

4.                  Teacher will list several questions on the board in the form of a checklist that students must answer:  a. What is this state famous for? b. What types of manufacturing occur in this state?  Do a lot of people live in this state?  What’s the weather like?  What’s the capitol of this state? What would you recommend a tourist to visit? Why are you personally interested in this state?

5.                  Students will take notes regarding the answers to these questions in their journals while they are reading about their state.  If several students choose the same state they can work in small groups or in partners.

6.                  While most of the students are reading about their state by reading library books, the teacher will call several students at a time over to the computer and she will give them tips on how to research their states on the internet. 

7.                  Each student will have some time to use the internet to research various websites.  The students will list in their journals at least five websites they used  to research their state of interest.

8.                  Once students have compiled their notes about their state of interest they will begin writing their essays.  They will write an introductory paragraph followed by one paragraph for each of the questions on the checklist.  Finally they will write a concluding paragraph in which they describe why they are interested in that particular state.

9.                  The students will exchange their essays with a classmate to proof-read their work.

10.              The students will submit their papers to the teacher.

11.              The next day during the same period each student will give an oral presentation about his/her state by reading his/her one-page report in front of the class.

12.              While each student gives his/her presentation the other students will write brief answers to the questions on the checklist about the state (listening comprehension) and they will turn these papers in (ex: Idaho, potatoes, relatively sparse population, snows, Boise, etc.)

CLOSURE: Hold a class discussion in which you ask the students what states they want to visit and why.  Tell the class what states you (the teacher) have visited and what intrigued you about that state.

FOLLOW-UP/EXTENSION ACTIVITY:  Have the students get into small groups and have them ask each other about what states they want to visit someday.

ASSESSMENT FOR LESSON 3:  I will use formal assessment to assess students’ essays in that I will give them a check plus if they include answers to all (7/7) the questions on the checklist.  I will give them a check if they answer 5-6 of the questions on the checklist.  I will give them a check minus if they answer four or fewer questions on the checklist.  I will give any student who wishes to improve the opportunity to add to his/her essay the missing section for resubmission and re-assessment.  Also, I will informally grade my students on their oral presentations (via oral communication, occasional question-asking) to check for their knowledge.

 

LESSON PLAN # 4

 

LESSON TITLE:  “READING A MAP”:

UNIT TOPIC: Topography and Geography of the U.S.

TIME: 1 class period, about 90 minutes

GRADE LEVEL: Fifth (5th) grade

SUBJECT AREA: mathematics, geography, analytic skills, critical thinking

GOAL:  Students will read a map, will learn how to use a legend, and will be able to calculate the distance they would have to drive to get from city A to city B.

Specific Behavioral OBJECTIVES:

1.                  The learner will be able to distinguish big cities from smaller cities on the map after studying the map’s key or legend.

2.                  The learner will calculate the distance (in miles) along a driving route between city A and city B, after taking into consideration the highways on the map and given the scale comparing centimeters to miles in the map’s legend.

3.                  The learner will use their math skills to determine the time it would take to get from city A to city B, given that the car’s average speed is 50 miles per hour.

STANDARDS:

--Interpretation of information (such as the map’s key/legend).

--Application of mathematical skills to practical situations.

--Critical thinking and analytical skill regarding real situations.

MATERIALS:  10 maps from the Automobile Club covering different sections of the U.S., overheads and overhead projector, 10 pieces of lined paper, 30 pencils.

PROCEDURE:

            ANTICIPATORY SET/PROMPT: 

1.                              Ask a student what U.S. city he/she would like to visit and call this city A.

2.                              Ask the class for another city they would like to visit that is located in the same geographical region as city A and call this city B.

3.                              In a class discussion, ask the class how they would get from city A to city B.

ACTIVITY:

4.                               Use overheads to explain the meaning of a map’s key/legend.

5.                               With the overheads give the students an example of how to find the route they would take if they were going to be the navigator to help their mom drive from city A to city B.

6.                               Teach students how to determine the number of miles it would take to drive from city A to city B, using the map’s legend. 

7.                               Use a ruler on the overhead projector to measure how many centimeters along the driving route from city A to city B. (North on route X for 4 cm, then west on route Y for 2 cm.  Total distance= 4cm + 2cm= 6 cm.  Then look at the map’s legend and see that on the map 1 cm is equal to 100 miles.  Since you have covered conversions in math lessons before do the following:

6 cm X 100 miles/ 1 cm = 6 X 10 = 600 miles (the centimeters cancel).

            8.  Now model how to find the time it would take to get there if the car was going

                 at an average speed of 50 miles per hour.  Set it up so the miles cancel.

                    600 miles X  1 hour_            =  600/50 = 12 hours to get from city A to city B.

                                           50 miles

            9.  Have the students get into groups of four.

            10. Give each group a map and give them an assignment, such as “Going from Oklahoma City to Denver).

            11.  Have each group repeat steps 7-10 for their cities, for practice.

            12.  The students will show their work on a piece of paper, showing how they

                   answered the above questions and they will turn this paper in to the teacher.

CLOSURE:

13.               Have a class discussion in which you ask the students what items they would      

bring with them if they were traveling from Austin, TX to Denver CO.  Ask them what kind of scenery they should expect, how the temperature might change, etc.

FOLLOW-UP / EXTENSION ACTIVITY: 

            Have the students write in their journals (for homework) about somewhere they have driven to with their families.  Ask them to describe the route along the way including how the scenery changed and how the climate changed throughout the trip.

ASSESSMENT FOR LESSON 4:

            I will use informal assessment to determine how well students understand how to use a map key/legend.  I will do this by asking questions during the class discussion that ensues after I explain how to read a key.  I will also circulate from group to group as they are deciding on the route they will choose to get from city A to city B.  I will assess the students formally about their knowledge of how to interpret the scale by collecting their group’s answers to the questions (how far is it from city A to city B along your route, how long would it take you to get there if the car’s average speed was 50 miles per hour).

I will disregard mathematical errors as I will be focusing on the process of how they set up their calculation (if they just multiplied wrong but set up the problem right I know they understand the concept of how to interpret a map’s scale).  Also, I will use personal communication with individual students throughout the lesson to determine whether or not they need more practice.

 

 

LESSON  PLAN  #  5

 

LESSON TITLE:  “DRAWING A MAP OF THE U.S.A.

UNIT TOPIC: U.S. Topography and Geography

TIME: 2 class periods, about 120 minutes

GRADE LEVEL:  Fifth (5th) grade

SUBJECT AREA:  Art--Visual Arts, penmanship, geography, social studies

GOAL:  For students to learn how to go about creating a map, to give them hands-on experience with the locations of states and capitol cities, to cement in their minds the relative sizes, locations, and regions of various states.

Specific Behavioral OBJECTIVES:

1.       The learner will create a map of the U.S., which incorporates things we have previously talked about (states belonging to the same region will be shaded in one color, etc.) (Synthesis)

2.       The learner will be able to correctly label the capitol for each U.S. state.

3.       The learner will be able to draw and label five physical features of the land on the map (ie. draw and label the Cascades in the northwest U.S.A., etc.)

STANDARDS:

            This lesson meets standards in the following areas:

--Visual arts: students will learn to pay attention to spatial relations and shapes.

--Interpersonal skills: students will learn how to work with group members on a project by dividing up tasks            with each person in the group taking on a specific role.

--Classification/Categorization skills

MATERIALS:  5 3ftX2ft pieces of blank construction paper, 5 packets of marking pens, reference maps, reference atlas, students’ journals so they can access their notes

PROCEDURE: 

            ANTICIPATORY SET/PROMPT: 

1.       The teacher will ask her students to raise their hands if they know when Open House is scheduled.

2.       Every student who thinks his/her parent/relative/friend might come to Open House is to raise his/her hand.

3.       The teacher will comment on how many people will be coming to the classroom and how nice it would be to have more projects up on the walls.

4.       The teacher will tell the class that they could draw maps of the U.S.A. for their last project to end the unit on topography and geography.

ACTIVITY:

1.  Have the students get into groups of five.

2.  Give each group a large piece of white construction paper and a packet of colored markers.

3. Explain to the groups that each person in the group should take on a specific role so that the group can divide up the tasks.

4. The teacher will explain that the students are to draw the outline of the U.S. and the individual states in pencil and then trace over in marking pen afterwards.  They should pay attention to drawing states according to relative sizes (so Montana is bigger than Washington state).

5. The teacher will show an example map that she created as a model.  She will explain that the students are to write the name of each state and the capitol of each state within the state.  They will shade in all states that belong to the same region the same color as noted in their map’s legend/key.  They are to draw and label five physical features of the land in the correct region on the map (ie.  They will draw triangles in the Pacific northwest and they will label these “The Cascade Mountain Range”)

6. The teacher will give a rubric that explains what they are required to do (as described in step 5) and the rubric (a primary trait scale) will tell them what their point value grade will be based on (please see this rubric, shown above in the “Assessment Instrument” section).

7. The teacher will tell the students that they will be graded on three main things:

a.                                                  shading the states different colors by region (as noted in the key)

b.                                                 writing the correct capitol city for the corresponding state

c.                                                  drawing and labeling 5 physical landscape features (mountains, rivers…) in the approximately correct location (ie. Within the correct geographical region).

8. Tell the students that they should be proud of their maps as they will all be posted on the walls for Open House.  Encourage the students to include other things on their maps after they have finished with the required features.  To add more detail students can write a word that describes what each state is famous for (this would involve adding “potatoes” to the state of Idaho).  Encourage students to include more physical landscape features and tell them they can include various elevations.  Encourage students who finish the required content early to include other big cities on the map (as long as they note these cities with a different mark as listed on the legend—so that capitol cities are marked with a star and big cities are marked with a dot with a circle around it).

9. Tell students they can use their notes, maps, atlases, textbooks, etc. to help them.

10.   While the students are working on their maps the teacher will circulate from group to group giving advice and encouragement.

CLOSURE:

1.                  When a group is done with their map the teacher will ask them to discuss with their other group members how well their map meets the requirements detailed on the Assessment Instrument Rubric.

2.                  Each group will grade their own map according to the rubric by marking the number of points they calculate their map merits for each of the three areas.

FOLLOW-UP/EXTENSION ACTIVITY:

1.                  When groups are finished with their maps they will exchange their maps with another group and each group will discuss how well the other group’s map meets the requirements on the rubric.  Then the groups will give each other feedback and each group can modify their map before turning it in to be graded by the teacher.

2.                  Since all groups will finish with the map activity at different times (after which they can read or work on another art project), the teacher will grade each group’s map when they turn it in.  She will use the Primary Trait Scale described in the Assessment Instrument section to assign points.  She will give the rubric marked with comments and feedback back to each group so they can see exactly what their strong points and weaker points were.

3.                  Finally, the teacher will post each group’s map on the walls to get the room ready for Open House.

ASSESSMENT FOR LESSON 5:

Group Map of the Physical Landscape Features and Geographical Regions of the U.S.A.

(Please see the Primary Trait Scale RUBRIC in the Assessments Instrument section on p. 10)