Activities

These activities are sequenced by helping the students to gain a basic understanding of maps and features before studying community issues.

PNEUMONIC COMPASS

Explain to children the cardinal directions and the order they must always be in. Give children a few of the pneumonic devices that others have come up with for remembering the correct order. Examples of these are: Never Eat Soggy Waffles, or Never Eat Sour Watermelon. Have children come up with some of their own devices to remember, and share with the class. Materials: picture of compass rose. Time: 15min.

 

USING THE SUN TO FIND NORTH

Source: Hands on Geography. (1993). Scholastic.

Set this up as a direct instruction format by including the following: anticipatory set (show the picture of a compass rose), establish context (explain reasons that we need to know our directions), state purpose or objective (SVBAT understand direction in relation to themselves and their surroundings, guided learning (model and explain the direction: show that when they face their shadows, they are facing north), appropriate practice (use chalk and arms to observe East and West), feedback (emphasize that north will no always be in front of them-it must be at noon), and independent practice (have students discover other relationships with directions and draw a compass rose with chalk on the ground). Materials: chalk, picture of compass rose. Time: 45 min.

 

MAP INQUIRY

Show students several different maps: world, country, state, city, building, etc. Ask them for things that they notice are similar in the pictures. Ask them for things that they have noticed that ware different in the pictures. Have them write down any other observations that they may have about the maps. Ask if any of the students know what they are. Describe some of the attributes that maps have. Model the beginning of a list of attributes and have students add on. Discuss maps and the things that make them maps. Materials: several maps, paper, and pencil. Time: 20 min.

 

CHILDREN'S MAPS

Children construct maps of their own familiar environments (classroom, bedrooms, playground). When the children want to take short cuts instead of drawing 20 trees or 25 desks introduce the idea of a legend. Share how to construct a legend by showing examples on other maps. Materials: paper, pencil, crayons. Time: 25 min.

 

GRID CONCEPTIONS

Make a list on the board of examples and non-examples of grids. Have the students try to add to it. Let them know if their predictions of the "item" you are trying to discover are correct, but do not tell them what it is. Help them to see attributes that grids hold in common. Once they have discovered what the "item" is have them try to come up with a reasonable definition. Some students may want to share their definitions. Tell them essential parts of a grid and also some of the interesting variations. Make sure that students have the fundamental concept, and then have them make their own grids. Materials: non. Time: 45 min.

 

EARLY MAPS

Explain to children that long ago people used to believe that the earth was flat. They were afraid that someday someone would fall off. Show some examples of early maps and talk about how they were drawn by explorers. Have them go out into the school playground and try to draw a map of what they see. Talk about how inaccurate these maps must have been. Materials: paper, pencil. Time: 40 min.

 

CITY MAP

Discuss the several landmarks and individual characteristics of their city. Have them try to draw a rough map of their community. Talk about why the location of the city building, fire department and other locations are so important. Introduce the method of naming streets and giving them numbers. Have them try to determine where they live on their individual maps. Ask them if their houses are located on streets that have manes or numbers. Show an enlarged picture of a structured city with numbered streets. Have them try to find several different addressed according to the street numbers. Material: paper, pencil, city map (enlarged). Time: 40 min.

 

MAP FEATURE MIND BOGGLE

Review with students all the features that make maps maps. Encourage them to remember as many as they can. Time them for two minutes and have them list as many of the feature they can, using their notes. Stop them at the end of two minutes and inform them that they will have another two minutes to add to their lists, but using only their memories. Now have students get into very small groups of three or four and have them collaborate their lists to add as many as possible. Finally, have the groups of students compare their lists. For any features one group had that the other doesn't they get a point. Remind students of proper conduct with competition. The highest scorer is the winner! Material: paper, pencil. Time: 25 min.

 

BOUNDARY JIGSAW

Students will split into cooperative learning groups of four. They will divide the four categories: Western Hemisphere, Eastern Hemisphere, prime meridian, and 180th meridian between them. Centers will be placed around the room where each child becomes an expert on his/her certain topic. Once they have learned as much possible about heir topic at the center, they will return to their base groups and report on their findings. Each child will be held responsible for teaching the other children in hi/her group about their topic. By the end of the activity, every child should have an understanding of the eastern and western hemispheres, prime meridian, and 180th meridian. Materials: copies of explanations of the four categories. Time: 30 min.

 

MOVING SIMULATION

Students should not be aware of the activity. Change the rules, structure, set up, and anything else familiar to the students. As the children go about their normal day, get after them for doing the things that they usually do. Tell them that they should have known not to do some of the things that they are used to doing. When the students are thoroughly confused and have had enough, explain to them the purpose of the simulation. Ask them how they would feel in a new town where everything seemed unfamiliar. Ask them ways that they can help others who move to their community to feel more welcome. Materials: non. Time: 60. Varies.

 

RESPECT COMMUNITY LEADERS

Talk about the many jobs that people in the community must hold: fire man, police officer, postal deliverer, etc. Ask children what they think would happen if we did not have some of them. Help them to understand how important every individual of the community can actually be. Handout the "Respect" worksheet given in social studies class. Have students full it out discussing three of the people in their community that they respect the most. Have students share some of their responses for the class. Discuss how important community-trust and responsibility is. Ask students for feedback on things members of the community can do to support these individuals. Materials: worksheet. Time 30 min.

 

CULTURAL ANTICIPATIONS

Have students begin to fill out an anticipation guide that deals with their feelings toward ethnic groups. Make sure they mark their feelings on the paper. Then, have the students get into small groups and discuss the marks they made on their papers. Have the students come to a consensus as to how they feel about the issues as a group. With the students, read a story pertaining to ethnic persecution. Have students fill in the part about how the author must feel on certain topics. Discuss the relationship in context with their own community. Talk about how we treat them and some of the major contributions of the race for the community. Let children know that there are no right or wrong answers, but that they need to be sensitive to the feelings of others. Materials: anticipation guide, ethnic story, pencils. Time: 60 min.

 

TURN-2-THINK ABOUT LITERATURE

Source: Deborah Byrnes, U.S.U

Read a piece of literature from the children's literature list provided in the unit. Briefly discuss the book to get students thinking. Divide students into groups of four. Students number off in their groups. Starting with the person who is #1, and rotating clockwise, turn over the question car. Students take time for everyone to think about the question, with no taking. Turn over the answer question. This card will say who in the group must answer the question. Continue until al the cards have been read and answered. Materials: "Turn-2-Think" cards, literature text. Time: 30 min.

 

FIRE STATION FIELD TRIP

Review the guidelines for giving a field trip in Social Studies in elementary Education, by W.C. Parker, and J. Jarolimek. Plan a trip to the fire station in your community. Make sure that either someone knowledgeable about the station is guiding a tour, or that you have studies up. Have children record their leanings and feelings in a journal. Make sure the trip ends with closure as directed by the previously mentioned guidelines. Materials: advanced planning: transportation, permission slips, journals, pencils, lunches (if needed). Time: 120 min. Varies.

 

GROWTH DEBATE

Divide the class into several small groups of three or four. Have half the groups be group A and the other group B. Explain that group A's are trying to argue for the growth of the community, in regards to new homes and grocery stores being built et. Group B is arguing against community growth. Have the A team get with a B team and debate which would be better. When they are through, switch roles. The A team will argue against, and the B team, for. Have a class discussion on the pros and cons of community growth. Explain that there are no wrong or right answers. They are simply exploring the possibilities. Materials: none. Time: 25 min.

 

BOOK JACKET

Tell children to pretend that they are going to write a book about the town in which they live. Have them develop a book jacket that would represent the book that they would write. Materials: paper, crayons, glue, scissors. Time: 30 min.

 

TOWN JINGLE

Help to restore the children's memory by talking about some of the features of their town. Have them divide into groups of three or four and come up with a town jingle. The jingle can be about pride, honor, a significant figure, roles, jobs, school, etc. Have children share the jingle with the class and talk about why they thought it was significant. Materials: none. Time: 30 min.

 

GUEST SPEAKER

Invite a prominent figure in the community to come into the classroom and tell bout what he/she does. Make sure that they know your expectations and a good amount of time that you would like for them to speak. Have children prepare questions to ask ahead of time. After the speaker leaves, have a discussion of the things that they learned. Have students draw a picture of what the speaker meant to them. Display their art on a bulletin board. Materials: paper, crayons, pencil, questions. Time: 15 min-speaker, 15 min-picture.

 

EARLY EXPLORERS

Introduce to children some of the early explorers that founded Utah. Have them write a short story as if they were explorers, and some of the things they might find. Talk about the landmarks that are specific to their area and how their lives would be different if they were not there. Allow time for several of the students to share what they wrote. Materials: paper, pencil. Time: 35 min.

 

COMMUNITY VALUES

Talk about the important components of a community with the students. Ask them what they think would happen if the people of the community did not obey or behave properly. Have students make a list of values that they think are the most important for a community to function properly. Students should share their lists and compare them to others. Have a class discussion about their conclusions. Make sure the students understand how important having values is. Materials: paper, pencil. Time: 20 min.

 

SCHOOL SCRAPBOOK

Students should collect stories or histories from the school. They can make a time ling, collect pictures, and hold interviews. All artifacts should focus on the history of the school. When enough information is collected, students will all participate in making a school scrapbook. Individual assignments can be given before hand, or students can divide roles between themselves. This can be extended by having them do some more collecting from the city, and have the scrapbook be city focused. Material: paper, pictures, articles, varies. Time: ongoing.

 

TELEPHONE SIMULATION

Begin by whispering a message into the first child's ear. Have them pass the message on until everyone in the class has heard the message. Have the final person that received the message tell what they heard. Discuss with the class how the message has changed throughout all the different people the message traveled through. Ask students if they think that the same thing happens when people in the community or school talk about others. The message changes and often there is little truth left in the end. Talk about how this can effect the person that the message is about. Remind students to be careful about what they say bout others. It may not always be true. Material: possible messages. Time: 15 min.

 

COMMUNITY DECISION ISSUES

Present a current problem with community. Make a decision tree and have the students talk about the pros and cons of either decision. Have a discussion about how the city council must make decisions. Talk about how that may be difficult and how it may be impossible to please everyone. Students may want to discuss their feelings in small groups and then share them with the entire class. Help student to understand that making decisions can be difficult, but must be made. Material: none. Time: 20 min.

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