Exploring America: The U.S. from A to Z

By: Amy Samuels

Overview

Abstract

Teacher will lead a presentation to students in order to introduce cultural and physical landmarks that are emblematic of the United States. During the presentation, students will take notes in a graphic organizer to record important information. At the conclusion of the presentation students will be given the choice to either compose a poem or journal entry to describe landmarks. Students must include a minimum of three physical landmarks and three cultural landmarks for a total of 6 landmarks in either the poem or the journal entry.

Keywords: United States landmarks

Objectives

Students will describe and analyze important physical and cultural characteristics of the United States by viewing a presentation and completing a creative writing assignment.

Standards

(SS.7.G.2.1): Understand physical and cultural characteristics of places. -- Locate major cultural landmarks that are emblematic of the United States. Examples are Statue of Liberty, White House, Mount Rushmore, Capitol, Empire State Building, Gateway Arch, Independence Hall, Alamo, Hoover Dam.
(SS.7.G.2.2): Understand physical and cultural characteristics of places. -- Locate major physical landmarks that are emblematic of the United States. Examples are Grand Canyon, Mt. Denali, Everglades, Great Salt Lake, Mississippi River, Great Plains.

Lesson

Academic Preparation

This lesson would best introduce students to general information about the United States. The lesson could be completed any time throughout studies of the U.S., but would work best near the beginning of the course or unit.
Teacher will need access to technology to display the presentation. Teacher should review the presentation before facilitation in order to ensure familiarity with the content.

Procedures

Teacher will write the word "America" or "United States" on the board. Ask students to write down a list of important cultural or physical landmarks that they feel are significant. Students should be given time to compile an individual list. After they compose their own lists, they should be given an opportunity to partner share. Once all students have had an opportunity to share out, explain that you will be exploring many of the important physical and cultural landmarks that are emblematic to the United States through a US from A to Z presentation.
Discuss with students that, although there are countless landmarks in the United States, there are particular landmarks that have become significant and emblematic of America. Students will view a presentation with teacher-led discussion while they complete a matrix in order to develop a greater understanding of these landmarks.
Instruct students to copy the U.S. from A to Z Matrix on paper (see slide 2). Direct students to complete the matrix with important information discussed in the presentation.
Teacher will lead-discussion through the presentation in order to highlight important information.
At the conclusion of the presentation, students will complete a creative writing assignment. Working individually, students will be given the choice to either compose a poem or journal entry on landmarks that are emblematic of the U.S. Students must include a minimum of three physical landmarks and three cultural landmarks for a total of 6 landmarks in either the poem or the journal entry.
As a culminating activity, students will be asked to share out their writing assignments. If time permits, all students could share out to the whole class or, if time is limited, students could be placed into groups of 4-5 and share only to other members of their group.

Assessment

Understanding of the objective will be assessed through accuracy reported in the creative writing assignment.

Estimated Lesson Duration

2hr 00min

Citations

  • Information taken from Glencoe, The World and Its People (2005)
  • Pictures taken from www.loc.gov/pics and http://etc.usf.edu/clippix/picture/

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