Do you remember learning about geography when you were in grade school? I do! My teacher sent me to the school library with a blank map. I found an atlas, flipped through the pages, and located the map I needed. I colored in my map to look just like the one in the atlas. That’s it. I can’t tell you a thing about the country I was coloring, but I remember using pretty colors and doing a nice job outlining.
Imagine how this “lesson” in geography would look if classroom educators and the school librarian collaborated on the project. They would use their respective standards to develop a robust and meaningful lesson. Learners would be driven to do a lot more than just color in a map. Compare the Competencies, Indicators, and Performance Expectations listed with each standard. How can these standards ramp up geography lessons?
- AASL Standards Framework for Learners
- College, Career, and Civic (C3) Life Framework for Social Studies State Standards
- Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
Let’s give that map-coloring activity a makeover. Here is a lesson idea that integrates the AASL Standards with NGSS and C3.
Collaborative Geography Lesson
AASL Explore Shared Foundation/C3 Inquiry Arc Dimension One and Two/NGSS Practice 1
Essential Question: What can we learn about the world by understanding how people get water?
- Ask learners what they already know about drinking water. How do people access clean drinking water in different parts of the world?
- Introduce The Water Princess by Susan Verde. Ask learners to read the title and look at the illustration. What they can expect to learn from the book?
- Wonder aloud while you read. Invite learners to ask questions. Write inquiries for investigation on chart paper.
- Meet Badiel by watching “Georgie Badiel: The Water Princess.”Learn how she is helping to bring clean water to her homeland.
- Search for Badiel’s homeland using an online geography tool. Try using one of the tools described by Sam Northern in his Knowledge Quest blog post titled “Geo Tools Connect Students with the World.”
- Find answers to questions about clean water by reading “Can You Drink Water from a Stream?” Investigate how to make a homemade water filtration system.
- Design and make a clean water filtration system.
- Invite learners to do an image search of women carrying water. Ask learners to find out where the pictures were taken. Map the locations with a digital map. Read “8 Options for Making Digital Maps” by Richard Byrne to find a mapping tool that works for your learners.
- Synthesize new learning by creating an infographic. Try using Piktochart, an AASL Best Website for Teaching and Learning. Click here to see an example from the World Health Organization and UNICEF.
- Learn about the Georgie Badiel Foundation. Consider how learners can make a difference by choosing a suggested projects or developing a project of their own.
What is your favorite collaborative geography lesson? Please share in the comment box below!
Author: Maureen Schlosser
Author: Lessons Inspired by Picture Books for Primary Grades published by ALA Editions