Saturday, March 7, 2009

School Subjects: Geography

For Geography this year, both Social Butterfly and Jetter are learning about the United States. The main objective for Jetter is the memorization of the states and capitols as well as map skills. We do this primarily by using flash cards and a map skills book. Jetter loves looking at maps, following roads with his finger, comparing this map to that, etc. He's not real big on his map skills book though. I think it might be too simple. Here he is studying his flash cards:

Social Butterfly's main objective is to finish memorizing her states and capitols (ahem!) and learn the locations of each state. She also has a map skills book which is more advanced and more interesting. She learns the locations of the states by working on 3 different things. Above, you see Builder working at a map that is made of felt. This is actually one of the things Social Butterfly uses. She places each felt piece on it's corresponding space, like a puzzle, studying that state's name (and capitol!) and location. It's fairly easy, but it builds familiarity with the state's shape and position, helping her to remember. She is assigned to do this every Monday. Then on Tuesday, she moves to another activity. This is a pin map which I made when Night Owl was in 4th grade. It is actually a Montessori activity that works wonderfully in helping the kids learn state's and even capitols.

It is simply a blank map of the United States mounted to cork board. There are 50 pins, one for each state. Each pin has a tiny flag that gives the state's name and capitol. She puts the pin into the state on her map. Here she is working with the level 1 map. Above, is the key. The Level 1 map is color coded like the key, so she can check easily. The flags on each pin are also color coded. The level 2 map is all white. She doesn't normally have the key right there, but I put it in for the picture. She is assigned to do this once a week as well. Finally, she is given a blank map on which she must write the names of each state. This is like a weekly quiz. She is able to fill in more and more states each time she does it, which is the goal.

Builder is in the first picture above, but his geography studies right now are mostly just for fun. He likes doing the felt map like a puzzle and we also have 3 or 4 other puzzles around here in the shape of the United States. I'm hoping my kids know their geography more than I did at their age! My husband will vouch for the fact that I must have been sleeping during geography when I was in school.

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