Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Geography Introduction

As usual this is not an original idea but it worked so well for my class that I thought I should share.

We just started our unit on Thailand.  Side note: it is terrifying teaching about a country that the students know more about, through personal experience or life, than I do!!  Anyway, we started the unit by discussing the geographical features of Thailand.

I wanted the students to be able to explore this on their own without me lecturing about it.... Boring!!

So, I was given 4 sets of the same map of Thailand cut into pieces.  The pieces for the most part were countries or bodies of water.  Each piece was colored, with marker actually!  Each set of the map was put in envelopes so the puzzle was hidden.

I told the class that we were going to do a puzzle to help us learn about Thailand. They were intrigued.  Then I said that we were going to race to see who could do it fastest.  They were stoked.  Then I said they were going to do it without talking.  They were stunned and confused! BUT it totally worked.  It honestly took some of them a long time to figure it out. It was quite interesting.

This is the put together map

After everyone had completed the puzzle we looked at our blank map of Thailand in our notebooks.  We were able to use this map to help us learn about the neighboring countries and bodies of water.

We then went on to discuss the rivers and mountains in Thailand.  I do wish that our map would have had these things on it as well.  Instead I pulled up a political map and we figured it out that way.

Anyway, I had never thought about using a map as a puzzle to help students figure out neighbors and bodies of water and what not.  I thought it was a great idea.  Also, the coloring helped some students figure out what pieces went together easier.

Finally, I wanted to share this bulletin board I made.  It is completely for show but I think it turned out quite nice.  I kept putting things on and when I stepped back I surprised myself with how great it was! We have a bulletin board in the hallway that I was told needed changed this week in time for our visitors that are coming to school......tomorrow. So I had to throw some pictures up on the board.  At least we will be talking about these things so hopefully it is for some learning value too :)

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