Context for this Lesson
GENERAL TOPIC: Geography- Maps
GRADE: 6th Grade
FOCUS Question/s: What strategies can I use to locate a major country on a map? What skills do I need to know about map making and map reading in order to locate countries on a map? What vocabulary is needed in order to understand world maps?
Two pieces of chart paper (already listed with the alphabet on it); markers; blue painter’s tape; different kinds of world geography maps (see appendix for a website); index cards (each card has the name of a country on it, countries are listed above in the standard).
§113.18. Social Studies, Grade 6
(4) Geography. The student understands the factors that influence the locations and characteristics of locations of various contemporary societies on maps and globes and uses latitude and longitude to determine absolute locations. The student is expected to:
(F) identify the location of major world countries such as Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Russia, South Africa, Nigeria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Iran, India, Pakistan, the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), Japan, North and South Korea, Indonesia, and Australia.
§117.34. Theatre, Grade 6
(1) Perception. The student develops concepts about self, human relationships, and the environment, using elements of drama and conventions of theatre. The student is expected to:
(B) expand body awareness and spatial perceptions.
(2) Creative expression/performance. The student interprets characters, using the voice and body expressively, and creates dramatizations. The student is expected to:
(A) demonstrate safe use of the voice and body;
(B) imagine and clearly describe characters, their relationships, and their surroundings.
"The class will be split into two groups in order to do an alphabet relay race. An alphabet race is where a team must add a word, phrase, or saying to their chart paper that relates to the given topic. Each team must go in order from A to Z. And you can help your teammates if they can’t think of a word for the letter. But remember, you might want to whisper so the other team doesn’t hear your word and steal it. Before I assign teams and tell you the topic are there any questions?" Give wait time and answer any questions.
"The topic of your alphabet poster is maps. You can think about words or phrases which relate to map making or reading a map. Let’s brainstorm categories of words that you could put on the poster." List the categories you come up with on the board so students can reference them during the game. (Examples- countries, landforms, symbols which might appear on a map, features of a map, where you can find maps, technology that displays maps.) "Thanks for sharing these ideas. I have written the categories on the board so that you can use this to help you during the game. For example, say I have the letter F and I can’t think of a word. I can look at the categories on the board. I see the category of countries. I think of a country that begins with the letter F- France." Provide more examples of how to use the categories to brainstorm a word for the alphabet race if needed.
"I am going to explain the directions first. We will not get up out of our seats until I say go. Directions: I am going to divide the class into two groups. In your group you will form a line. Each group will get one marker. Once you are done writing your word on the poster you hand the marker to the next person who will be at the front of the line. You then go to the end of the line. While you are waiting in line you can think of a word for your next turn and you might have to help a teammate come up with a word." Split class up into groups by the table they are sitting at. Distribute one marker per group. Line the groups up behind the “line” and begin. Side-coach as needed.
"Great work everyone. Let’s gather around and discuss what we see on these posters. Let’s first just describe what we notice. Do you see any connections between the two posters? What else is popping out at you? Do you notice any differences between what the teams came up with? What vocabulary do you see on these posters that we have discussed about maps?"
Transition: "Please move back to your seats and I am going to explain to you the three steps to reading a map."
Three steps taken from: http://www.wikihow.com/Read-a-Map
"We use maps for all different reasons in order to locate something. For example, I notice that here on the front bulletin board you have a map of your school to indicate the closest exit incase of a fire. If there were an emergency and we needed to exit the building, I would (1) find this specific map, (2) read the map, and then (3) exit the building quickly and safely using the information I learned from the map. I just followed these three steps:"
- Choose the Right Map
- Understanding the Map
- Using the Map
Write the steps on the board. "Let’s look at another example using these three steps. Does anyone have a time they used a map outside of school?" Allow a student to explain a time they used a map outside of school. Reflect back to them how they used the three steps. Can do another map example with the three steps if you feel students need additional explicit teaching.
Transition: "Today we are going to do some drama-based activities that allow us to explore these three steps using world maps."
"Please join me in a circle. You may sit down. I am going to lay out a few different kinds of maps in the center of the circle. I want you to take a few seconds to just look at them silently." You may move the maps around so all students have a chance to look at the maps. "We are going to use DAR to share out some observations we have about the maps." Allow students to popcorn out observations. Guide students through the DAR process.
DAR side-coaching questions:
D: Describe what you see. What do you notice about these?
A: Why do you think the mapmaker created the map like that? Who do you think would use the map? What are some similarities and differences between the maps that you notice?
R: Do any of the words from our alphabet posters connect to the maps you are looking at? Would you use any of the maps, why?
Transition: "Now that we have looked at some world maps we are going to create our own map using our bodies." (Remind students of expectations that we discussed at the beginning of the lesson if needed.)
2) Procedure: Mapping Geographies
"We are going to create a map in this space by using our bodies. We need to first establish the confines of the space." Outline the space for the students. (Could use blue painter’s tape on the floor to mark the corners or you can walk around the perimeter of the space to show the students the area you intend to work in.) "I invite you to all come stand here on this side of the map (south). Where we are standing is the south, which makes east to our right and west to our left. Please point to the directions with me: North, South, East, and West."
"We are going to work non-verbally as a class. Explain what non-verbally means if needed. We are going to put Kealing Middle School in the center of the map. I would like you to think about where you live in relation to our school. Think about how close or how far away and in what direction. Please go stand where you live on the map. If you are not exactly sure that is okay, just try it out." Allow students time to place themselves on the map. Assist students that might be struggling by giving them reference point around the school (N,S,E,W). See first map in appendix section of the lesson. "Would anyone like to share where they are located? You can say the name of your street or area." Give time for students to share if they would like to.
"Please join me on the south border again. Now our map will become the state of Texas. Lets identify where we think some key cities would be located on the map. Point to where Austin would be? Dallas? Houston? We are going to work non-verbally again, but this time I would like you to place yourself on the map where a relative was born. We might have a lot of people in one area and that is okay." Allow students time to place themselves on the map. Assist students that might be struggling by giving them reference point around the school (N,S,E,W). See second map in appendix section of the lesson. "Would anyone like to share where they are located? You can say the name of the city." Give time for students to share if they would like to.
"Thank you for sharing. Please join me on the south border again. This time our map will be the entire world. Let’s point to where we think the continents are on this map to review. North America? Africa? Australia? Antarctica? Europe? South America? Asia? We are going to work non-verbally again, but this time I would like you to place yourself on the map where you would like to visit. Remember you can go anywhere in the world!" Allow students time to place themselves on the map. Assist students that might be struggling by giving them reference point around the school (N,S,E,W). See third map in appendix section of the lesson. "Would anyone like to share where they are located? You can say the name of the city, country, or continent." Give time for students to share if they would like to.
"Thank you for sharing. Using the world map we just created we are going to work non-verbally as a class to located some features of a map we have discussed. I would like you to go stand on the equator. Please point to the northern hemisphere. Please point to the southern hemisphere. I would like you to go stand on the prime meridian. Please point to the eastern hemisphere and the western hemisphere." Can review oceans too.
"I am going to pass out a card to each of you. The card will have the name of a country that you need to be able to locate on a map. When I say go, I will allow you to stand on our map where your country is located. This time, you will be allowed to discuss what countries your classmates are so you can negotiate space on the map."
Pass out the cards. Once everyone has a card say go. Allow students to work through making the map.
"Would everyone please share the name of your country when I point to you. We are going to unpack the activity you just did:"
- Describe a strategy you used to locating your country?
- What were common strategies that students used?
- What are some other strategies we could use that we didn’t mention?
- How can you apply these strategies to locating countries on a paper map?
Transition: "Please move back you your seats and we are going to do some think-pair- sharing in order to reflect on today’s activities."
- How did we use the three steps in our activities today?
- Why is being able to read a map a useful skill in life? (Does not have to be a world map.)
- Why do you think it is critical for us to know the names and locations of these countries?
- What skills and vocabulary do I need to know about map making and map reading in order to locate countries on a map?