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.
4th Grade Social Studies
From the Michigan Content Expectations:
Using the context of the United States, 4th-grade students learn significant social studies concepts within an increasingly complex social environment. They examine fundamental concepts in geography, civics and government, and economics through the lens of Michigan history and the United States. Expectations that particularly lend themselves to being taught through a historic, geographic, civic, or economic lens are denoted.
This is one lesson in the geography theme with the driving question, "What is Geography?".
In third grade you learned about the geography of the state of Michigan. You may have studied the geography of Michigan by learning about what makes Michigan special. This year, in studying the geography of the United States, you will explore a similar question. It is centered around what makes the country in which we live special.
In previous grades you’ve learned a little about economics and that economics deals with choices. We all make choices every day. We make choices about what to buy. We make choices about whether to save or spend money. You will learn in this chapter that economics is about more than just choices. Economics is the study of how individuals and societies use resources to produce goods and services. It is about competition and prices and trade. As you learn you will be working as an economist, someone who studies economics.
You have learned that there are different areas of social studies and different kinds of social scientists. You learned that geographers study geography and economists study economics. This chapter is about civics, another important area of social studies. Civics is the study of government and the role people play in government. But who studies civics??? Civicsers? Civicsists? It’s a little more complicated this time. Political scientists study civics! Politics is just another name for government. But wait, what is government? Government is a system that people use to provide order and make decisions. It is also a system for distributing power like the power to make laws and the power to enforce laws. It is also a system for regulating the conduct of people, or how people
Should water from the Great Lakes be used in other places? The question of “who owns the water?” and “should it be used to help other places in the country that need it?” is one that our nation has been wrestling with for years. You will be responsible for writing an opinion essay on this very topic. You will be introduced to the topic of decreasing water levels in the Great Lakes by watching two videos and reading a short passage. Finally you will compose an opinion essay on the public issue: Should water be diverted from the Great Lakes to other parts of the United States that need water?