Continents of the World


Grade: 2

Created by: Channie Shearer

"Completed as part of the requirements for Eled 4050 Fall Semester, 1999, Jay Monson, coarse instructor, USU."

Unit Overview:

This unit is designed to create an understanding of the world around us. It starts out with a basic lesson about how people are the same and how people are different and where the continents are located. Then it takes the students on a trip around the world to visit a country in each continent. Many of the lesson plans require finding a guest speaker to talk to the class about the different cultures. The students color world maps of their own and keep track of where they have visited with star stickers. Each day, they write in their World Traveler Journals about the adventures of the day and what they learned about the continent. The final activity consists of making balloon globes and having an "Around the World Celebration" complete with games, food, and dancing from each of the continents!


Sample Lesson Plan: Australia

Date : November 18

Time : about an hour

1. Objectives: The students will name the characteristics that make marsupials unique and participate in a shared reading/singing activity.

2. Motivation: Start this lesson with a KWL to find out what the kids know about Australia. Ask someone to show the class where Australia is on a map and a globe. Decide what direction it is from North America where we live. Ask them if anyone knows what animals are found in Australia that aren't found on any other continent.

3. Method: Have the kids on the floor in front of the chalkboard and do a picture walk through Disney's Wonderful World of Knowledge: Australia and Oceania. Have a class discussion about how the Australians live. (One point that they will especially be interested in is the fact that many Australian children go to school by radio. They stay home and listen to school on the radio and have to mail their tests and assignments in to the teacher.) Be sure to talk about the Aborigines , who are the natives of Australia.

Next, bring out the kangaroo skin and let them all feel it. Talk about what Kangaroos and Koalas have in common and read excerpts from Koalas by Patricia Hunt. Teach them basic facts about Koalas and Kangaroos. Be sure to point out that Koalas are not bears. They are marsupials and part of the Kangaroo family.

Finally, bring out the song "Waltzing Matilda" (copied on poster board so everyone can read it together). Explain to the kids that Australians speak English, but they have added a few words that we aren't really used to. Read the first sentence of "Waltzing Matilda" and ask them if they can figure out what a swagman is by looking at the words around it and what they already know about Australia. See if they can guess it. This is a fun activity because the kids get really excited when they can guess what the word means and it is also a great skill that they can use when they are reading on their own: looking for context clues and drawing from previous knowledge. Here are the meanings of the words:

swagman : nomad/sheep herder

billabong : water hole

billy : pan

jumbuck : sheep

After getting through the whole song, read it once again so that the kids are more familiar with the words and are able to read it fluently. Then the teacher sings it first and the students just listen and follow the words with their eyes. Finally, sing the song a couple of times together as a class! Note: if needed, have one student be the pointer for the rest of the class.

4. Materials Needed: Kangaroo skin

Disney's Wonderful World of Knowledge : Australia and Oceania

Koalas by Patricia Hunt

Words to "Waltzing Matilda" printed on poster board

Guitar (if you can play)

5. Check up: Have students write in their world traveler journal about what they would do if they went to Australia and the adventures they went on today with their trip to Australia. Pass out stars and have the students put a star on their individual maps to prove that they went to Australia.

6. Assessment: I had a really good time with this lesson. Australia is kind of an interesting place to go and I think that the kids really enjoyed it. They came out knowing a little bit more about Australia and its culture and animal life. Learning about marsupials tied science into social studies without them even noticing! They also practiced some reading skills and they really loved singing the song. It helped them to think about what a good reader does when he comes to a word that he doesn't know. I am feeling more and more comfortable in front of a class which really helps with the success of my lessons. When I use books in my lessons, I put them in the class library for the day and later in the day I caught some of the kids looking through the books during their free time so I guess they were interested. These kids love to learn and were a lot of fun to teach!

Waltzing Matilda

Written by: Unknown
Copyright: Unknown

Once a jolly swagman
Camped beside a billabong,
Under the shade
Of the coolibah tree,
And he sang as he watched
And waited 'till his billy boiled
"You'll come a-waltzing,
Matilda, with me

Waltzing Matilda,
Waltzing Matilda
You'll come a-waltzing
Matilda with me
And he sang as he watched
And waited 'till his billy boiled,
"You'll come a-waltzing,
Matilda with me"

Down came a jumbuck
To drink at the billabong,
Up jumped the swagman
And grabbed him with glee,
And he sang as he stowed
That jumbuck in his tucker bag,
"You'll come a-waltzing,
Matilda, with me


My Favorite Resource:

Another Trip Around The World, by Leland Graham, PhD and Tracey Brandon M.Ed.

Illustrated by Gary Rittenour, Pub. Carson Dellosa Publishing Company, Inc.

Last Updated on November 30, 1999 by Channie Shearer

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