Humans are curious creatures, always wondering what lies beyond the horizon. Lewis and Clark did not describe themselves as geographers, but they might well have. Geography is the study of the surface of the earth. It is about people and places. It is about the physical character of a country, its climates and landscapes, and its biological environment.
A remix of Michigan social studies resources all in one place. In this foundational lesson students are introduced to the ways geographers look at places and the questions they ask. Students begin by reviewing the concept of ‘community’ and the geography of their local community by completing a class chart.
The Roadmap is a remix of Michigan resources all in one place. Students review relative and absolute (street address) location. They then use a Michigan map and cardinal directions to describe the relative location of their local community. Using a map of the United States and cardinal directions, students identify a variety of ways to describe the relative location of Michigan. The lesson concludes with a brief discussion of how location influences the development of a state. This lesson serves as the launching point for subsequent lessons in both history and economics.
After reviewing natural (physical) and human characteristics from Lesson 1, students use maps to identify and describe significant natural (physical) characteristics of Michigan including mountain ranges, sand dune areas, the Great Lakes, inland lakes and important rivers. In a connection to science students briefly explore how glaciers helped to create some of these natural (physical) characteristics. The lesson uses multiple resources including informational text, legends and photographs.
In this lesson students continue their study of the important natural (physical) characteristics of Michigan by exploring vegetation and climate. They begin by analyzing special purpose maps of forests and orchards. Next they are introduced to the concept of climate, connecting to science topics of weather and seasons from previous grades. In addition, they briefly explore the impact of the Great Lakes on climate. The lesson also includes a chart reading activity dealing with Michigan state symbols.
Important bodies of water include the Great Lakes, inland lakes, rivers and waterfalls. In a connection to science students briefly explore how glaciers helped to create some of these natural (physical) characteristics. The lesson uses multiple resources including informational text, legends and photographs.
The Roadmap is a remix of the Michigan Open Book, MC3 and GIANTS all in one place. In this lesson students continue their study of the geographic theme of ‘place’ by exploring significant human characteristics of Michigan including bridges, cities, highways and lighthouses. In addition, students explore how people interact with natural (physical) characteristics by creating human characteristics (e.g. bridges are built over rivers, towns are built along bays.)
The Roadmap is a remix of the Michigan Open Book, MC3 and GIANTS all in one place. This lesson expands upon the concept of region by having students invent ways to divide Michigan into regions. Students compare the Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula of Michigan and then explore other ways in which Michigan can be divided into regions based on common characteristics (e.g., the Thumb, the Fruit Belt). Finally students examine regions to which Michigan belongs. (e.g., Great Lakes Region, Midwest).
This tool is used for teachers to understand what the students are getting out of their learning by recording three things they learned, two questions and one main idea.
This Roadmap is a full year plan that covers the geography, economics, government and history of Michigan.
On field, students have to image a given asteroid on two consecutive nights, producing two sets of images obtained over 10-15 minutes, each set separated by about 4-5 hours. In class, students have to process the images in order to measure the observed diurnal parallax and then determine the corresponding asteroid distance.
In this unit students explore the United States through the social studies discipline of geography. In exploring the United States in spatial terms, students first consider the location of the United States. They learn about and use a variety of geographic tools such as maps, globes, and satellite images to answer the question “Where is the United States?” Next, students examine the concept of place relative to the United States. They use songs, stories, photographs, and aerial images to investigate the question, “What is it like there?” and to describe significant physical and human characteristics. Students also use the concept of regions to compare sections of the United States. They build on their understanding that regions are defined by common characteristics and explore ways in which the United States can be divided into regions. Students then compare a region to which Michigan belongs with other regions in the United States using special purpose maps. In doing so, students examine geographic features such as elevation, climate, and patterns of population density in the United States. As a culminating project, students summarize what they have learned by creating a poster, picture book, Flipbook slide show or other visual describing the United States according to the geographic themes of location, place, and regions.
This is one lesson in the geography theme with the driving question, "What is Geography?".
This is Lesson 3 of The 4th Grade US Geography Social Studies Roadmap "How is this place connected to other places?"
4th Grade US Geography Social Studies "What Relationships Do We Use To Think About and Organize Places?"
This unit on thermal energy transfer begins with students testing whether a new plastic cup sold by a store keeps a drink colder for longer compared to the regular plastic cup that comes free with the drink. Students find that the drink in the regular cup warms up more than the drink in the special cup. This prompts students to identify features of the cups that are different, such as the lid, walls, and hole for the straw, that might explain why one drink warms up more than the other.
Students investigate the different cup features they conjecture are important to explaining the phenomenon, starting with the lid. They model how matter can enter or exit the cup via evaporation However, they find that in a completely closed system, the liquid inside the cup still changes temperature. This motivates the need to trace the transfer of energy into the drink as it warms up. Through a series of lab investigations and simulations, students find that there are two ways to transfer energy into the drink: (1) the absorption of light and (2) thermal energy from the warmer air around the drink. They are then challenged to design their own drink container that can perform as well as the store-bought container, following a set of design criteria and constraints.
- Physical Science
- Material Type:
- Lesson Plan
- Student Guide
- Unit of Study
- Assessment Specialist David Fortus
- BSCS Science Learning Ari Jamshidi
- BSCS Science Learning Emily Harris
- BSCS Science Learning Michael Novak
- BSCS Science Learning Zoe Buck Bracey
- Charles A. Center at UT-Austin Dawn Novak
- Lindsey Mohan
- Maple School Tyler Scaletta
- North Shore Country Day School Katie Van Horne
- Northwestern University Tracey Ramirez
- Stanford University Abe Lo
- Date Added:
This unit on weather, climate, and water cycling is broken into four separate lesson sets. In the first two lesson sets, students explain small-scale storms. In the third and fourth lesson sets, students explain mesoscale weather systems and climate-level patterns of precipitation. Each of these two parts of the unit is grounded in a different anchoring phenomenon.
The unit starts out with anchoring students in the exploration of a series of videos of hailstorms from different locations across the country at different times of the year. The videos show that pieces of ice of different sizes (some very large) are falling out of the sky, sometimes accompanied by rain and wind gusts, all on days when the temperature of the air outside remained above freezing for the entire day. These cases spark questions and ideas for investigations, such as investigating how ice can be falling from the sky on a warm day, how clouds form, why some clouds produce storms with large amounts of precipitation and others don’t, and how all that water gets into the air in the first place.
The second half of the unit is anchored in the exploration of a weather report of a winter storm that affected large portions of the midwestern United States. The maps, transcripts, and video that students analyze show them that the storm was forecasted to produce large amounts of snow and ice accumulation in large portions of the northeastern part of the country within the next day. This case sparks questions and ideas for investigations around trying to figure out what could be causing such a large-scale storm and why it would end up affecting a different part of the country a day later.
- Environmental Science
- Atmospheric Science
- Material Type:
- Lesson Plan
- Student Guide
- Teaching/Learning Strategy
- Unit of Study
- Assessment Specialist Colleen O’Brien
- Boston College Emily Harris
- BSCS Science Learning Audrey Mohan
- BSCS Science Learning Dawn Novak
- BSCS Science Learning Katie Van Horne
- BSCS Science Learning Lindsey Mohan
- BSCS Science Learning Tracey Ramirez
- Columbia University Elisabeth Cohen
- Indian Woods Middle School Ann Rivet
- Indian Woods Middle School Whitney Smith
- Lombard Middle School Vanessa Hannana
- Michael Novak
- Northwestern University Renee Affolter
- Williston Central School Heather Galbreath
- Date Added:
Students' conceptual understanding of chemical reactions is foundational to much science learning. Understanding atomic level reactions is crucial for learning physical, life, earth, and space science. Even more importantly, they open up new windows of curiosity for students to see the world around them. By seventh grade, students are ready to take on the abstract nature of the interactions of atoms and molecules far too small to see.
To pique students’ curiosity and anchor the learning for the unit in the visible and concrete, students start with an experience of observing and analyzing a bath bomb as it fizzes and eventually disappears in the water. Their observations and questions about what is going on drive learning that digs into a series of related phenomena as students iterate and improve their models depicting what happens during chemical reactions. By the end of the unit, students have a firm grasp on how to model simple molecules, know what to look for to determine if chemical reactions have occurred, and apply their knowledge to chemical reactions to show how mass is conserved when atoms are rearranged.
Embedded in this unit are a variety of assessments, including self, peer, formative, and summative assessment tasks. This unit concludes with a transfer task in which students apply what they have figured out to two different related phenomena, elephant’s toothpaste and the crumbling of the marble that makes up the Taj Mahal.
This unit on matter cycling and photosynthesis begins with students reflecting on what they ate for breakfast. Students are prompted to consider where their food comes from and consider which breakfast items might be from plants. Then students taste a common breakfast food, maple syrup, and see that according to the label, it is 100% from a tree.
Based on the preceding unit, students argue that they know what happens to the sugar in syrup when they consume it. It is absorbed into the circulatory system and transported to cells in their body to be used for fuel. Students explore what else is in food and discover that food from plants, like bananas, peanut butter, beans, avocado, and almonds, not only have sugars but proteins and fats as well. This discovery leads them to wonder how plants are getting these food molecules and where a plant’s food comes from.
Students figure out that they can trace all food back to plants, including processed and synthetic food. They obtain and communicate information to explain how matter gets from living things that have died back into the system through processes done by decomposers. Students finally explain that the pieces of their food are constantly recycled between living and nonliving parts of a system.
- Forestry and Agriculture
- Material Type:
- Unit of Study
- Assessment Specialist Kelsey Edwards
- BSCS Science Learning Meghan McCleary
- BSCS Science Learning Tyler Scaletta
- Chicago Public Schools Katie Van Horne
- Field Test Unit Lead and Reviewer
- Hugh B. Bain Middle School Elizabeth Xeng de los Santos
- James Ward School Mary Colannino
- Jamie Noll
- Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance Emily Harris
- Northwestern University Christina Murzynski
- Northwestern University Dawn Novak
- Northwestern University Kate Cook-Whitt
- Northwestern University Misty Richmond
- Northwestern University Tara McGill
- The Nora Project Michael Novak
- University of California – Davis Cindy Passmore
- University of Illinois Extension Katy Fattaleh
- University of Illinois Extension Sue Gasper
- University of Nevada – Reno Chris Griesemer
- Date Added: