Friday, October 12, 2012

So That's What Our Country Looks Like!

 You may remember that last month, Ms. Bishop's third grade class started their adventure learning American history. At the end of that post, we told readers to stay tuned for the maps that the kids would be making next.   

So off they went to their geography unit.  The kids learned the continents and oceans, the compass rose and directions, and where they live in the world. Then they looked more carefully at the United States, after all, how can you learn its history if you don't know what the country looks like. 

Then to make the information feel more concrete, the kids worked in groups of three to create three-dimensional maps of the United States. Each day they added more information. They started by learning what borders the United States. Then they learned about the largest river, the Mississippi River, and two of the largest mountain ranges (the Rocky Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains). The kids also put Washington, D.C. and Massachusetts on the map so they could visualize where we live within the United States. 

As they move forward in our history studies, these maps will serve as a reference tool. For example, when the kids learn about the Pilgrims leaving Europe and sailing to the United States, they will understand that the Pilgrims sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and reached the east coast. 

Before that, however, they will be using their maps in the Native American unit they have just started.  They are looking at the land features and climate in different regions of the United States and learning about how these features affected the way of life for Native American tribes within the region.

This is getting interesting, isn't it?  Start tuned...