Lesson Plan

Objectives

This lesson has students explore an atlas. Students will:

  • review when and how to use an atlas.
  • learn about text features and use them to aid comprehension and gain information.
  • explore an atlas to find information about a country.
  • make inferences and draw conclusions about a country based on information in an atlas.

Essential Questions

  • How do we think while reading in order to understand and respond?
  • Why learn new words?
  • What strategies and resources do readers use to figure out unknown vocabulary?
  • How do learners develop and refine their vocabulary?

Vocabulary

  • Research: A systematic inquiry into a subject or problem in order to discover, verify, or revise relevant facts or principles having to do with that subject or problem.
  • Text Features: Conventions used in texts to guide the reader and provide additional or supporting information.

Duration

1–2 hours/2–4 class periods

Prerequisite Skills

Prerequisite Skills haven't been entered into the lesson plan.

Materials

  • a variety of children’s world atlases. You may need to check the atlases beforehand to make sure they have the necessary features to go with the lesson. The lesson can be adjusted to accommodate the resources you have. You will need at least one atlas for every two students. The following atlases are possible suggestions:
    • Children’s World Atlas. DK Publishing, 2011.
    • Hammond Children’s World Atlas. Hammond World Atlas Corporation, 2008.
    • The Kingfisher Children’s Atlas by Belinda Weber. Kingfisher, 2004.
    • National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers. National Geographic Children’s Books, 2007.

Teachers may substitute other books to provide a range of reading and level of text complexity.

Related Unit and Lesson Plans

Related Materials & Resources

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  • a variety of children’s world atlases. You may need to check the atlases beforehand to make sure they have the necessary features to go with the lesson. The lesson can be adjusted to accommodate the resources you have. You will need at least one atlas for every two students. The following atlases are possible suggestions:
    • Children’s World Atlas. DK Publishing, 2011.
    • Hammond Children’s World Atlas. Hammond World Atlas Corporation, 2008.
    • The Kingfisher Children’s Atlas by Belinda Weber. Kingfisher, 2004.
    • National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers. National Geographic Children’s Books, 2007.

Teachers may substitute other books to provide a range of reading and level of text complexity.

Formative Assessment

  • View

    The goal of this lesson is to reinforce and expand students’ understanding of how to use an atlas and make inferences based on the information they find. Through observation and anecdotal notes, assess each student’s progress. Use the following activity to determine which students have met the goal:

    • Assign each student a different country from the one he or she researched previously. Have students complete the Research Questions worksheet. Then check their work. If students do not understand how to use the text features in an atlas, work with them, modeling how to use the different text features, and then guiding them through additional practice.

Suggested Instructional Supports

  • View
    Scaffolding, Explicit Instruction
    W: Have students explore using an atlas.
    H: Encourage students to utilize text features of an atlas to increase understanding.
    E: Engage students in meaningful activities that provide practice in locating and making inferences about information in an atlas.
    R: Allow students to share with the class their information, discuss findings, and confirm understanding.
    E: Use the quick-assessment activity to provide an understanding of each student’s atlas skills.
    T: Provide opportunities for students to reinforce or extend their understanding of the uses of an atlas.
    O: The learning activities in this lesson provide for large-group instruction and discussion, small-group exploration, partner interaction, and individual application of the concepts.

     

Instructional Procedures

  • View

    Focus Question: How do we use an atlas and its features to find information?

    Have partners look through an atlas. Say, “Make a list of the kinds of information you can find in an atlas.” Allow time for students to explore the atlas.

    Ask, “What did you find in the atlas?” Record answers on two separate sheets of chart paper. Put the text features on one page and the other answers on another page (L-3-2-2_Text Features.doc).

    Note: Text features include the table of contents, glossary, index, pictures, captions, maps, and key/legend. Information to list on the other page includes facts such as “There are seven continents on Earth.”

    If students did not identify all the text features, lead them through the atlas to find others.

    Draw students’ attention to the chart paper where you have written the text features. Ask, “Why does an atlas have text features? Do they support the reader’s comprehension or understanding of the information in the atlas?” Go through each feature and discuss how it helps the reader. Spend some extra time showing students how to use the index. Distribute the Text Features information page (L-3-2-2_Text Features.doc) so that students have it as a reference.

    Choose a page for students to read. Have them read in partners or small groups. Ask them to analyze the text features on the page (e.g., charts, graphs, tables, legends, insets). Ask, “Why did the author choose to add those text features? What information do they support or add? Would other text features provide better information or support for the reader?” Have students share in small groups and then share with the whole group.

    Play a game in which students race to find information in the atlas. For example, ask questions such as the following: “How many countries are in South America? What part of the world has the largest population? Which text feature is used on p. ___?” Make sure you include some questions that would require students to use the index and glossary in an atlas. Use the atlas activity questions provided as a guide (L-3-2-2_Atlas Questions.doc).

    Have students look at the maps of the United States in their atlas. Ask, “What information can you find about the United States from an atlas?” Write students’ answers on chart paper. Use the following questions to guide students to locate information about the United States. Say, “Use the text features in the atlas to find the answers to the questions I ask. Be prepared to give the answer and name the text feature that contained the information.”

    1.      “How big is the United States?”
    2.      “Locate and name two mountains in the United States.”
    3.      “How many people live in the United States?”
    4.      “Locate and name two lakes and two rivers in the United States.”
    5.      “What is the weather like in different parts of the United States?”
    6.      “What other countries border the United States?”
    7.      “What text features helped you locate that information?”

    Use the following questions to help students make inferences:

    1.      “What kinds of clothes do you think are worn in different parts of the United States? Why do you think so?” (warm clothing in the north because it is cold; light clothing in the south because it is warm) “Where did you find that information?”
    2.      “What outdoor activities might you enjoy in different parts of the country? Why do you think so?” (skiing and sledding in the north because it gets snow; swimming and boating along the coasts because of the nearby water) “What text features helped you determine that information?”

    Distribute items with labels indicating where they were made. Have students look at an item and use an atlas to locate the country where the item was made. Distribute the Research Questions worksheet (L-3-2-2_ Research Questions.doc).

    Have partners record the information about the country that they can find in the atlas. Tell them to use the text features to find information and draw conclusions about the country.

    Encourage students to share with the class what they found about the country they were researching. Discuss how the text features helped students find the answers to their research questions and how students were able to answer the questions when the answer was not found explicitly in the atlas. For example, how did they know what kind of clothes people might wear in that country or what kind of houses people might live in?

    Extension:

    • Have students who are ready to move beyond the standard write questions for a trip around the world. Tell students to write questions that can be answered only by looking up and viewing the page in the atlas on which each country is located.
    • Students who need more practice using an atlas might work in a small group under your direction to locate information about a continent, a country, or a state. Have students indicate which text features they used to support or gain information.

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Final 03/01/2013
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