Academy Curricular Exchange
Columbia Education Center
Social Studies


AUTHOR:  Janet Smith ;Midway Intermediate School
        Highline School District, Seattle, WA

GRADE LEVEL:   4th through 8th

OVERVIEW(s):  How better to introduce students to maps, location and
movement than to see exactly where their house is located and where
their ancestors have lived.  This activity does that.

PURPOSE:  It is important for children to understand how movement of
people brings ideas and changes into a country or neighborhood. Using your
own family personalizes the process and makes it real.  This is an opener
activity to help connect movement and location.

  1) become familiar with local surrounding areas
  2) use of Thomas Brothers maps
  3) use directions on a map
  4) find and label a specific address on a map
  5) locate countries in the world
  6) explain other cultures

  1) picture of the world from space
  2) world map
  3) United States map
  4) state map
  5) county map
  6) city map
  7) Thomas Brothers map of your area
  8) construction paper and pin for flag
  9) yarn

  1)  At the beginning of the school year have a bulletin board set up with 
    a picture of the world from space, a world map, a United States map, 
    a state map, a county map and a city map.
  2)  Discuss where they are in this series of pictures and the idea of a 
    specific location.
  3)  Have students ask at home where ancestors had lived and when and 
    why they came to the United States.  This could be expanded as far 
    as you wish.
  4)  A whole group, using the Thomas Brothers map, locate several 
    community places--- the school, library, park, etc.
  5)  Work in groups with a Thomas Brothers map to locate where each 
    student's house is located.
  6)  Make a small flag and pin it to the spot on the map where their house 
  7)  Put yarn from their house to a country of one of their ancestors.
  8)  This can go on to 1) graph the results of where ancestors lived 2) 
    study the country and customs of their ancestors 3) find Christmas 
    customs from that country.

This is a lead into studying multicultural literature, movement of people
and ideas, or an understanding of your neighborhood.  It isn't all tied
together, in fact it is an opening exercise to many varied possibilities and
at the same time is an exercise in using maps of different kinds to find
specific information.

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