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Jessica Nordenson Geography Lesson Plan Social Studies Methods

Explore-A-State
Grade 4 Topic: Exploration, Geography, and the United States This lesson is part of unit plan on explorersthe latest ones studied being Lewis, Clark, and Sacajawea. Students have been exposed to knowledge involving geographical features, map skills, and what goes into an explorationfor example, preparation, research, etc. Objectives: Students will be able to find research on an assigned state using different tools Students will be able to grasp a better understanding of what exploration of a new place may have required and felt like Students will be able to write journal entries resembling those of past explorers, discussing multiple aspects of their assigned state Students will be able to work together to conduct research and will use discussion as a tool to further their knowledge Students will be able to demonstrate knowledge of an assigned states weather and geographical features, and will understand how this may relate to where the state is located within the United States Students will be able to distinguish geographical features NCSS Standards: III. People, Places, and Environments b. interpret, use, and distinguish various representations of the earth, such as maps, globes, and photographs c. use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools such as atlases, data bases, grid systems, charts, graphs, and maps to generate, manipulate, and interpret information e. locate and distinguish among varying landforms and geographic features, such as mountains, plateaus, islands, and oceans f. describe and speculate about physical system changes, such as seasons, climate and weather, and the water cycle This standard is relevant because it deals with geography, which is mainly what the students are studying. It involves students locating and understanding geographical features, interpreting information, and analyzing things like climate.

IV. Individual Development & Identity g. analyze a particular event to identify reasons individuals might respond to it in different ways h. work independently and cooperatively to accomplish goals This standard is relevant because in this lesson students may be interpreting how it may have felt to be an explorer. They also are working individually and cooperatively. Materials: A list of states to assign to students Materials dealing with each states features, such as: o Atlases o Globes o Maps o Books o Possible online resources ______, ________, and ______ Explore ______! Worksheet (spaces to be filled with 3 names and a state) Paper (or social studies notebook/writing journal) for a journal entry Writing utensil Possiblydiary graphic organizer References: A good atlas to have in the classroom: The Nystrom junior geographer atlas. (2005). Chicago, Illinois: NYSTROM Herff Jones Education Division. Activity/Procedure: Direct Instruction: Lately we have been studying explorersrecently, we have studied Lewis, Clark, and Sacajawea. We have talked about how difficult some of their journeys must have been, and how much preparation had to go into their explorations. We have also talked about the geographical features that they dealt withfor example, things like storms, rivers, mountains, etc. Today you will get a chance to be part of an expedition team just like Lewis, Clark, and Sacajawea. You will be paired up with two other students and together you will explore a state. I will assign you a state and you and your team of three will use tools such as maps and atlases to research your states geographical features and climate. I have a graphic organizer that will help you record the information that your team finds, and you must work together in order to complete this task. After you and your team have explored your state you will individually write a journal entry in the form that Louis and Clark did while exploring.

Guided Practice: In this section, students will be doing their group activityexploring their assigned state. In groups of three (or two/four, depending on the amount of students and the appropriate groupings), students will be assigned a state. States will be pre-selected for the groups in order to ensure that the groups are given a diverse range of states. Students will be provided with maps, atlases, globes, and any classroom books that can help them conduct research on their states climate and geography. They will fill out the graphic organizer they are given that will help them organize the information they research titled ______, _______, and _______ Explore _______!. During this time, the teacher will walk around to ensure that students are all fully participating and are on-task. The teacher will stop at every group for a few minutes to check on how they are doing, and will let the students know that they are available for questions at all times. Students will be made aware of the fact that the teacher expects them to be respectful to their group members and other peers at all times. They will also be made aware that they need to spell their state name correctly. Independent Practice: During this section, students will begin by having a short, two-minute small group discussion with their team on what they learned while researching their state. The teacher will prompt them with questions like If you were exploring this state, what do you think it would be like? Students may discuss this for a few minutes, then come back to a short two- or- three minute large group discussion about this topic. After this, students will take out their writing journals or social studies notebooks and write a journal entry like Lewis and Clarks journal entries. The students will be instructed to date the entries, title them with their state name, and respond to the prompt What is it like exploring your state? Students will be encouraged to write about things they would see, the weather they would experience, and geographical features that they would seethey will be given a checklist stating all of this. Grouping: Throughout this lesson, students are grouped in multiple ways. During the guided practice session, students are grouped in groups of three in order to replicate the idea of Lewis, Clark, and Sacajawea working together. They needed to have a team to work with, but a group of four may be too manythere may not be enough information to research between four people without making the activity too easy. However, a group of four may be appropriate if the state requires a lot of research or spans many different geographical features or climates. It is in these groups that students participate in small group discussion, but they also participate in large-group discussion with the whole class in order to review what was said in the small groups. I wanted students to take part in this large-group discussion in order to assist any groups that may have been struggling with forming ideas. Students also participate in independent practice during their journal writing timethis activity needs to be differentiated for individual students.

Modifications: Modifications will be made in the following ways: Advanced Students: Will be asked to not only write a journal entry about what they may see while exploring, but also how the exploring would make them feel. Also, if they have time, they may write a separate journal entry discussing what they would need to prepare for their journey and how they would possibly be feeling prior to leaving. These students will receive separate rubrics for these assignments. Struggling Students: Students will be provided with extra resources that may be more direct and self-explanatory. Students may receive the help of an associate if necessary or applicable. When doing group checks, the teacher will stop and give assistance for longer at groups that include students that may be feeling pressured because they are struggling. For students who struggle with reading/writing (for example, possibly an ELL student), their journal entry may be shorter or in the form of a graphic organizer that mimics a diary entry (provided in the Attachments section). Groups with struggling students may be given a state that has less variation in geographical features and climate. Assessment: There are both informal and formal assessments in this lesson. Informal: The informal assessments in this lesson happen during the guided practice sectionwhile the teacher walks around and has individual group discussions, they will take note of students participation and behavior towards their peers. Observations made while the teacher is talking to individual groups will let the teacher know if the class as a whole is possibly struggling with a certain aspect of the activity, or if they need more or different resources. Formal: There are two main formal assessments in this lessonthe completion of the graphic organizer students are given while exploring their state (checklist form), and the journal entry they write from the perspective of an explorer exploring their assigned state (checklist form). The teacher will use these two assessments to see how well students were able to not only understand things like geographical features, but also to write from the perspective of an explorer and to incorporate what they learned about their state into their writing. Checklist for Graphic Organizer: Student completed every section of the graphic organizer to the best of their ability Student spelled their states name right

Student all put in effort to complete their organizer Student behaved respectfully towards their peers and group members throughout the activity

Checklist for Student Journal Entries: Student included all aspects of the checklist into their writing Student included a date Student included a title Student used level-appropriate grammar, spelling, and punctuation while writing Checklist for Advanced Student Journal Entries: Student integrated a perspective regarding how they feel while exploring their state Student used nearly all correct forms of grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation (Possibly) student wrote a separate journal entry dealing with what preparations for the trip may look and feel like Attachments The attachments are listed on the following pages.

Research Graphic Organizer

__________, __________, and __________ Explore __________________!


State Name My state is located in the ___________________ part of the United States The geographical features located in my state are

The weather in my state typically looks/feels like

Plants that are local to my state are

Animals that are local to my state are.

Checklist for what students should write about in their journal entries

What is it Like When You Explore Your State?


When writing your journal entry, be sure to write about What you will see when you are exploring What geographical features you come across while exploring What the weather is like while you are exploring Anything else you see that is interesting!
(what plants and animals will you see?)

Mock Journal Entry Graphic Organizer

Explorer Journal Entry


Date:

State Name: What animals or plants have I seen in my state while exploring?

What does my state look like?

What does the weather in my state feel like?

What else do I see that is interesting as I explore my state?