In addition to the map, we gathered tons of books on deserts (not only CA deserts, but deserts in general). Students enjoy exploring new books and having a classroom full of resources (even if it means hauling 50+ books from the local library). Taking the time to gather tools always pays off!
|A blank map of our state|
We began the unit with a quick pre-assessment: a blank map that students were asked to fill out with as much as they knew about the state (thank you Kathie from Tried and True Teaching). This was very telling as many…many of the maps were mostly blank or labeled incorrectly (Vegas in CA…anyone?). We assured students that the maps were going to give us all an idea of what we knew as both individuals and as a class. You can find here a free copy of a blank CA map.
Then, in small groups, children were given a set of 5 to 6 photos to classify according to where they thought each animal lived.
Over the course of a week +/_ we:
- Created a K-W chart with our class (What We Know/What We Want to Know) about the Desert. It was great to hear about misconceptions and questions students had
- Read the book Desert Giant by Barbara Bash
- Students discussed Desert Giant by Barbara Bash and answered the following questions:
- Why do you think the author calls the cactus plants the “saguaro people?”
- If you were a desert plant or animal, what would you be? Why?
- How did the animals in the book depend on the cactus for their survival?
- What else would you like to know about deserts? How could you find out?
|What makes a desert a desert? One of our guiding questions|
created small illustrations about the different types of animals one
could find in the desert, added captions and other info they found using
the mentor texts provided: One Hundred One Questions About Desert Life by Jablonsky, Cactus Hotel by Guiberson, A Desert Habitat by MacAulay, Creatures of the Desert World a National Geographic Publication, Deserts by Gibbons among others
‘Social Studies and Science” periods are called Inquiry. We want to
spark students’ interests and have them pursue/further their learning.
After talking about the deserts, it was great to see students bring
their own books and or photos about the desert and share with their
|Our CA Map taking shape|
Happy teaching. Do you teach the CA Regions? If so, I would love to hear what you all do.