Spatial Thinking

I’ve just completed an ORC-ON on the topic of Spatial Thinking. I explain how the skills build  K-12, address student misconceptions, suggest content to pair the skills with and offer instructional resources to help you.

You can check it out at : http://ohiorc.org/orcon/spatialthinking/58.aspx

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Grades 5 and 6 social studies in Ohio: Dilemma or Opportunity?

Grades 5 and 6 Social Studies in Ohio: Dilemma or Opportunity?

What instructional approach are you considering using with grades 5 and 6 social studies? It appears teachers and school districts alike are struggling with this.

I think a great place to start would be to identify skills statements within each of the four strands, and then pair them with content you deem most appropriate. Don’t forget to check out the Expectations for Learning for each of the statements to find out what your students need to know and be able to do.

Here’s one idea:

Grade 5: Regions and People of the Western Hemisphere

Spatial Thinking and Skills

Content Statement 4: Globes and other geographic tools can be used to gather, process and report information about people, places and environments. Cartographers decide which information to include on maps.

Expectation for Learning: Use appropriate maps, globes and geographic tools to gather, process and report information about people, place and environments.

Places and Regions

Content Statement 6: Regions can be determined using various criteria (e.g., landform, climate, population, cultural or economic).

 

Expectation for Learning: Identify and describe regions within the Western Hemisphere using criteria related to landform, climate, population, culture and economics.

In this pairing, students use globes and other geographic tools to gather and report information about people, places and environments in the Western Hemisphere and use specific criteria to identify and describe them.

Grade 6: Regions and People of the Eastern Hemisphere

Spatial Thinking and Skills

Content Statement 3: Globes and other geographic tools can be used to gather, process and report information about people, places and environments. Cartographers decide which information to include and how it is to be displayed.

 

Expectation for Learning:

  • Use appropriate maps, globes and geographic tools to gather, process and report information about people, place and environments.
  • Understand that maps were created for specific purposes and represent the context in which they were created.

 

Places and Regions

Content Statement 5: Globes and other geographic tools can be used to gather, process and report information about people, places and environments. Cartographers decide which information to include and how it is to be displayed.

 

Expectation for Learning: Use various criteria to describe, classify and compare regions within the Eastern Hemisphere.

In this pairing, students use globes and other geographic tools to gather and report about people, places and environments in the Eastern Hemisphere and use various criteria to describe, classify and compare these regions. As they work with these tools, students begin to understand that maps are created for specific purposes and that the role of the mapmaker is to select the information to display and decide how it is displayed.

This content might be most appropriate for early in the year when students are being introduced to the hemispheres. Have students use maps, globes, diagrams and aerial or other photographs and provide them opportunities to practice using these tools to gather, process and report information about each region. Building skills with these specific tools prepares them well for work with GIS, GPS and RS in later grades and they are representative of some of the 21st century tools for geography.

I know of three resources you will find very useful as you consider these themes and others:

http://www.gapminder.org/

Gapminder is used in classrooms around the world to build a fact-based worldview. With this resource, data related to world trends can be charted, compared and analyzed. Students and teachers can use Gapminder World without the Internet by installing the Gapminder Desktop, which updates automatically. Graphs can also be created and saved.

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/

The World Factbook provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, and transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities. The site features maps of major world regions, flags of the world, physical and political maps and a standard time zone world map.

http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/?ar_a=1

The new beta site for National Geographic Education features teacher resources, abundant multimedia, mapping applications, reference and news resources and educational programs for both teachers and students.

While you’re on the National Geographic site be sure to check out this introduction to geographic literacy.

Do let me know if you’re able to use this framework in your classroom or want to share other strategies. I’d love to hear!

Virginia