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    Continents
    By Anneliese

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    I have a few ideas that I learned from a colleague. To start we use maps with continents labeled on our desk. I guide the students in tapping the approximate spot on their desk where the conintent is on the map. I do this by drawing a rectangle on the board to use as my desk and I face the board so I am using the same hands they are. We touch the spots and say the names as we go around the map: North America South America... Then we do it without the maps and eventually I touch a spot on the rectangle and they tell me which continent it would be.

    Another idea is a cooperative group project where students create a map of the continents by tearing color coded pieces of construction paper in the approximate shape and relative size of the continent. These are then glued on a large sheet of blue construction paper, the oceans are labeled as are the continents and a compass rose is added.

    As a culminating activity to the unit on continents I have the students plan a trip. They pick a country on a continent other than North America and then complete a worksheet with informaion about the distance and general direction a flight from NYC would take, what oceans they would fly over if it flew directly to the country, the average temperature for the area and what they would want to see. Some of this information comes from maps in our text books and some from web sites. Then the students have to add this to a framed paragraph and pack a suitcase to bring in with appropriate clothing and at least 5 extra items that would be appropriate. This is used in an oral presentation. The students receive extra credit if they "send" a postcard (they create) to the teacher or class.

    Hope these help.



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