This lesson was used during the Planet Friendship Class, College For Kids - Tuesday/Wednesday, August 5/6, 2003
This lesson is an introduction to the subcontinent of India. This activity is based on a lesson developed by Dr. Ila June Brown, professor emeritus, University of Wisconsin in River Falls. The lesson is designed to be a hands-on map study and intended to provide the foundation for further activities and projects—in this case, IEARN classroom projects. Because the history and culture of any country is influenced by its geographical qualities this study is intended as a stepping-stone to pursue further projects and activities related to the country being studied. The complexity of the material presented can be varied based on the class size, age, etc.
Grade Level: Grades 3-5
Curricular Areas: SS, LA, Art, Math
Standards: Geography: A.4.5, A.8.5, A.12.4, A.12.13
Time: Two hours
Background information for teachers
This lesson will work with any country. You will need to make a large map of India (or whatever country you are studying) out of fabric. The map must be made to scale. I have seen Dr. Ila June Brown do this lesson with beautiful padded maps that add interest and enhance the sense of physical features. Be creative!
Start the lesson with just the country created out of fabric, laying it on the floor. It should be quite large. Have students sit around the map. You then add features, depending on your focus, intent, etc. You will need to have placards or some other ways (be creative) to identify the features on the map.
What is important is that you provide background information and explanations after each feature is added. This is what will imprint on the students’ minds as the various features are added to large map, bringing it to life.
Also, allow the students to add the landmark (using whatever item you have chosen to identify the features). For example, direct a student to put down the Ganges River by pointing out where the beginning is, the cities and features it passes, and where emptied into the Bay of Bengal. Particularly younger students should sit around the map, so point out to students that they are sitting in the Bay of Bengal, or wherever! Have fun with this.
All this brings the map alive, which is the intent.
For fact sheets, photos of India, and information on Indian culture visit the Center for South Asia Webpage at www.southasiaoutreach.wisc.edu
Landscapes: Children’s Voices, edited by Gita Wolf, Tara Publishing, Madras, India
Potters Story: Appendix 1
For information about iEARN Projects visit www.iearn.org
Have students research a country of their choice. Or they could do a state of India. They then must create a map lesson similar to the one provided for the country of India, but specific to their selected country, of course.
Extent to which the country/state represented to scale
The number of physical features that are included
Number of political (cities) features that are included
Number of historical features that are included
Overall creative quality of the project
Accuracy of information
Math: if the map is drawn to scale there will be endless possibilities for calculating distances, area, travel time, etc.
Art: the students can be asked to draw or create artifacts that will be used to indicate the various physical, political, or historical sites.
The entire map could be directed toward a specific topic, such as science (indicate location of endangered species, migration patterns, water usage, etc.), historical (locate the world heritage sites in India), geographical, of course, etc.
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