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pal 05-27-2012 03:04 PM

Road Trip to US geography
Texas TEKS require 5th grade students to be able to label all 50 states and capitals. Struggle is an understate! Need help finding a virtual road trip lesson plan, with dvd. I believe this approach would help, most of our students will never have an opportunity to see other places beyond their little world here. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.

1956BD 05-27-2012 03:30 PM

Maybe Mystery State will be helpful

I also like Mrs. Waffenschmidt, from the same website. However, it is worldwide landmarks. US landmarks would be fun to learn about. You could create a powerpoint with their pictures. Students could try to name the state they are located within and then find the state on a US map. They will have seen these places in movies so they should have some prior knowledge about them.

I would get a large scale puzzle of the US for them to do on rainy days at recess. Time them and see if they can beat their time from before. Or maybe get two puzzles so they can race and see who completes it first.

There is an online game called Know your states. I would have them practice this as well.

Buy several US maps. I would get enough for students to work in pairs on the floor. Create a list of questions that are specific to the map's design and will also help them to learn the states. It is a race to see which team can find the answer first. Then they should help you show the others how to locate the answer. this will add a cooperative aspect to the lesson.

Have each student research a state and create a brochure. Then share the brochure with their classmates to learn more about each state.

motherhen 05-29-2012 02:46 PM

For just memorization purposes this is a great site -

My kids record their scores and are thrilled when they learn them all!

Enkidu 07-02-2012 04:04 AM

Ideas for teaching the states and capitals
1. Pre-test to see who already knows what, and differentiate accordingly. Students who already know the states can do more in depth study of one state, or even have them start on North America. For students who are challenged in this area, have them focus first on their state, then the bordering states or bodies of water(or countries), then to their region.

2. "I Have Who HAs" at the beginning of every class. I call it Capitalympics, and I time them. I start with half of the states, which is perfect for most class sizes. (Handing out the cards is a huge deal for some reason. The other students try to cajole the card person into giving them their favorite state or capital.)

3. Human map. Break students into groups, or work with the whole class, to "be" the United States. Have one person be your state, then have the bordering states connect until you have a region. If done in groups, you could, again, time them. (I need to write a Scholastic book on The Power of the Timer.) As a challenge, make them orient their maps to N, but point to different places in the room and say "The flag(bookshelf, door) is North: go!"

4. Centers centers centers. There are tons and tons of books at all levels, puzzles, games, and online activities that can easily be used as rotating centers, or leveled group work.

5. Latitude/longitude bingo. Give the lat/long of state caps and they all have to find it and check it with their bingo sheets. Great practice for latitude/longitude, and it is a good way to learn the states.

6. Most important: Make it fun, because it is fun.

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