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Circle Time: Learning About My State
Begin a discussion of various cultures, to develop an awareness of differences in the people living in your state. If appropriate, children of different cultures may discuss something special in their family tradition, and if time allows, plan ahead to have the children bring an item from their family culture, such as a coin, book, clothing or a snack.
Read the story, There's a Map on My Lap! by Tish Rabe, from the Cat in the Hat learning library.
Show a map of the United States and ask if someone can point out the state in which they live. Allow this opportunity for the children to think out loud and discuss the terrain of their state. For example, if there are mountains, or a desert, near the ocean of gulf. Discuss landmarks, such as national buildings or the state capital, as they place a marker, such as a colored push pin.
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In the "Learning About My World Unit, this activity that teaches map skills and cardinal directions, you will need to prepare ahead of time, pictures of landmarks pasted on construction paper sheets. Each sheet should include a picture with the "name" of the landmark that is located anywhere in the United States, such as the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans, Canada, a nearby state, a mountain range, the Grand Canyon, or the Mississippi River, etc. Review the cardinal directions, using the mnemonic device of remembering "left is west" tip as previously learned. Give each group of two or three students a "picture ", as they study the United States map, locate the landmark and tape it on the appropriate wall marked north, south, east and west. This develops social and problem solving skills.
This lesson adapts to appropriate grade levels, allowing older children to work on a "pen pal" project to another school in the state.
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Learning About My World Unit: My State
This geography unit consists of a series of lesson plans adaptable for kindergarten through 3rd grade, focusing on the town, state, country, continent and planet.