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Selecting Great Internet Lesson Plans

There are two primary approaches to finding resources on the Internet General Searches and Site-specific Searches, and in both cases, finding quality resources is the goal.

GENERAL SEARCH

With any search engine like Goggle or MSN, you can conduct detailed searches by using quotes and AND. As an example, if you insert “The Great Depression” AND “lesson plan” you will generate over 1400 websites (“Hits”) of varying quality (see selection criteria below). It is then, largely a matter of sifting through each site and assessing its quality and fit with your Big Idea and Standards. Because it is a general search (as opposed to a site-specific search), you have the additional burden of evaluating its Source (that is who published it) in order to determine its quality (things like accuracy of information, appropriateness of content and pedagogy, etc.). The U. S. Government, state agencies, national and state professional teacher organizations, textbook publishers, school districts and universities, and non profit organizations offer a degree of credibility, quality and durability that teachers can usually rely on because the lesson plan has typically undergone peer review (review by experts to insure quality). For this reason it is often wiser to conduct site-specific searches (see next). Commercial websites such as Teacherworld and personal websites (a teacher who created some materials and posted it on the web) sometimes offer many fine materials and lesson plans but these resources may not have undergone any third party review and thus they cannot be assumed to have the same level of credibility.

      

SITE-SPECIFIC SEARCH

Site-specific searches include the kinds of sites listed below for use in this course. The most comprehensive general website for Internet resources for all subject fields in elementary education is GEM (The Gateway to Educational Materials). It is a U. S. government sponsored website for both lesson plans and materials that you can use with your internet lesson.

Selection Criteria

For all Internet lesson plans, there are a number of indicators (other than the credibility of the source) of a well developed plan that you should consider as you select your lesson plan.

    1. Standards. Is the plan tied to national or state standards?
    2. Instructional Sequence. Is there a clear and detailed explanation of the sequence of the instruction?
    3. Rigor. Does the plan challenge the students with tasks and activities that require critical thinking and self-discipline?
    4. Creativity. Does the plan creatively engage the students with:
      1. opportunities to further develop of basic skills
      2. a variety of strategies, and
      3. meaningful, grade appropriate content.
    5. Resources. Are there resources, such as well crafted handouts or links to other high quality websites?
    6. Evaluation. Is their an evaluation component?

The extent to which something on the Internet that is called a lesson plan actually is a lesson plan - rather than an activity - is based largely on how many of the above 6 components are found in the plan. The extent to which an activity, Internet lesson plan, or task is effective in helping you teach your students depends on the quality of the components.

Internet Lesson Plan Sources

 

The Gateway to Educational Materials select The Gateway to Educational Materials BROWSE Option. Click on SHOW next to subject, click on SOCIAL STUDIES , use the SEARCH box or scroll down and use by GRADE LEVEL or KEYWORDS to search for a lesson plan on the topic you decided to cover in your lesson.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has a large number of Internet lesson plans that can be used to teach government, history, geography and economics at the elementary school level and can be used as a source for your Internet Lesson.

MarcoPolo has a large number of Internet lesson plans that can be used to teach government, history, geography and economics at the elementary school level and can be used as a source for your Internet Lesson.

Core Knowledge Lesson Plans has history, Geography and Humanities Internet Lesson Plans.

National Geographic Lesson Plans

The National Council for the Social Studies is a great source of information on teaching social studies at all grade levels.  If you join, you will receive the periodical Social Studies and the Young Learner.

Websites

National Organizations

National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE)

http://www.ncge.org

Association of American Geographers

http://www.aag.org/intro.html

American Geographical Society

http://www.amergeog.org/index.html

Videos: Learner.org

16. Explorations in Archeology and History
Gwen Larsen teaches sixth–grade social studies at Harbor School in Boston, Massachusetts. In her introductory lesson, Ms. Larsen guides students through an exploration of their family histories, leading to their place in the larger human family and the development of civilizations. Ms. Larsen’s students work in groups to differentiate between fossils and artifacts. The lesson concludes with student presentations of their own family heirlooms. http://www.learner.org/resources/series166.html

VOD17. Exploring Geography Through African History
Lisa Farrow is a seventh–grade world cultures teacher at Shiloh Middle School in a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland. Ms. Farrow's lesson provides her students with an understanding of African history and geography. After creating a personal timeline, the students create a historical timeline of Africa, focusing on the Bantu migrations, the rise of Islam, the West African trading empires, the Turkish empire, the slave trade, and European colonialism. Students take an active role in group work as they create maps and captions that define each period. Ms. Farrow concentrates on the importance of the trading empires and their connection to Africa's history as a whole. http://www.learner.org/resources/series166.html

19. Population and Resource Distribution
Becky Forristal teaches seventh–grade economics at Rockwood Valley Middle School, 20 miles outside St. Louis, Missouri. Her lesson focuses on a population simulation that explores world economics, demonstrating the inequalities in land, food, energy, and wealth distribution in the world today. Using a global map on the classroom floor, students are able to visualize how resources are distributed in both wealthy and under–developed nations of the world.

21. The Middle East Conflict
Justin Zimmerman is a sixth-grade teacher at Magnolia School in Joppa, Maryland, about 30 miles north of Baltimore. Mr. Zimmerman explores the claims to land in the Middle East from three major religions — Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. After learning about the geography of the area, the students begin to explore the region’s political unrest and discuss the controversy over control of the land of Israel. Through this lesson, the students begin to make connections that relate their own lives to the political and religious struggle.

Workshop 1. Introduction
This overview of the geographic perspective highlights the 18 National Geography Standards and associated skills that inform Teaching Geography. A case study looks at the borderland region of El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico; another follows NASA astronauts on a space shuttle mission. The geographic perspective is explored further in a classroom segment in which students investigate why Russia’s Aral Sea is shrinking.

VODWorkshop 2. Latin America
In Guatemala, a historical geographer explores the reasons for the decline of the Maya and their present-day explosive growth. In Ecuador, physical geographers work toward reducing the potential hazards of living near an active volcano. Classroom segments feature students investigating the migration of Mexican populations and, after discerning patterns of volcano location, discussing the issues of living near volcanoes.

VODWorkshop 3. North America
Through studies of ethnic and economic diversity in Boston and suburban sprawl in Chicago, this session illustrates issues of urban development and expansion in North America. Classroom segments demonstrate how teachers can use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and census data to investigate similar issues in their own communities.

VODWorkshop 4. North Africa/Southwest Asia
This session explores problems of religious conflict and urban organization with a case study on Jerusalem as sacred space. It also looks at urban and agricultural use of scarce water resources by studying Egypt’s Nile River. Classroom segments show students exploring the problems of refugee populations and engaging in a hands-on activity about the Nile River Delta.

VODWorkshop 5. Sub-Saharan Africa
This session features case studies on the impact of apartheid on present-day South Africa and on AIDS diffusion in Kenya. Classroom segments show educators using role-playing activities to teach students about land allocation in South Africa and the impact of the AIDS epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa.

VODWorkshop 6. Russia
A case study examines the history of St. Petersburg and its adaptation to a post-Soviet society. Students learn, through a constructivist teaching approach, about the geographic factors behind the location of St. Petersburg and other Russian cities. Cultural mosaics are the focus of a case study on the Russian republic of Dagestan and a classroom segment in which students role-play the negotiation of cultural boundaries in a fictional country.

VODWorkshop 7. Europe
Two case studies analyze developments toward a more unified Europe. First is an exploration of Berlin’s role as the dynamic capital of a reunified Germany and as a centrally located city in an increasingly unified Europe. Students analyze issues of urban organization in Amsterdam. Supranationalism and the European Union are examined through a case study on Strasbourg and further explored in a classroom debate.

VODWorkshop 8. Global Forces/Local Impact
A case study focuses on globalization’s impact on the booming Chinese economy and the population that drives it. Students analyze economic data to understand the disparity in the quality of life in Southeast Asia. The second case study examines the conflict between Native Americans and farmers over water usage in Oregon. Students perform field research to determine how human activities affect the quality and availability of water resources.

Content Resources

Geogrpahy Terms, a comprehensive lisitng
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/glossary.html

National Geographic Standards Related Lessons and Activities http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/standards/

U.S. Census Bureau Statistics
http://www.census.gov/

The National Atlas
http://nationalatlas.gov/

Geo Data
http://gos2.geodata.gov/wps/portal/gos

Enchanted Learning for Geography for a collection of geography pages, maps, printouts, flags, quizzes, and activities for students http://www.enchantedlearning.com/geography/

Internet Lessons or Activities

The Gateway to Educational Materials select The Gateway to Educational Materials BROWSE Option. Click on SHOW next to subject, click on SOCIAL STUDIES , use the SEARCH box or scroll down and use by GRADE LEVEL or KEYWORDS to search for a lesson plan on the topic you decided to cover in your lesson.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has a large number of Internet lesson plans that can be used to teach government, history, geography and economics at the elementary school level and can be used as a source for your Internet Lesson.

MarcoPolo has a large number of Internet lesson plans that can be used to teach government, history, geography and economics at the elementary school level and can be used as a source for your Internet Lesson.

Core Knowledge Lesson Plans has history, Geography and Humanities Internet Lesson Plans.

National Geographic Lesson Plans

The American Heritage Education Foundation

The National Council for the Social Studies is a great source of information on teaching social studies at all grade levels.  If you join, you will receive the periodical Social Studies and the Young Learner.

ED35698 Teacher Use of Economics and Cultural Geography for a Middle School Social Studies Class: Planning a Trip to Kenya and Tanzania.

Upper Elementary: Core Knowledge Where in the Latitude are You? A Longitude Here -
http://www.coreknowledge.org/CK/resrcs/lessons/5.htm

Florida Alliance of Almost 100 Lesson Plans
http://fga.freac.fsu.edu/lessonplans.htm

Classroom Materials

Blank Maps of Countries and States
http://geography.about.com/cs/blankoutlinemaps

Solar System and Season lesson plan with resourceshttp://www.libsci.sc.edu/miller/Solar.htm

Gateway to Geography Games
http://members.aol.com/bowermanb/games.html

 

ERIC ONLINE Documents

ED476500 The Best of Both Worlds: Blending History and Geography in the K-12 Curriculum. (2003),

ED433271 An Analysis of Four Middle School Geography Textbooks: Meeting the Needs of Students with Learning Problems

ED357558 Places, Spaces and Memory Traces: Showing Students with Learning Disabilities Ways to Remember Locations and Events on Maps.

 

 

 

 

 

Documents

Geography Home Page

Geography Themes

National Geography Standards

Sunshine State Standards

Web Resources


NCSS Recourses

The NCSS Themes of Social Studies

The NCSS Democratic Beliefs and Values

The NCSS Essentials of Social Studies Education

2005 NCSS Notable Trade books

2004 NCSS Notable Trade books

2003 NCSS Notable Trade books

2002 NCSS Notable Trade books

2001 NCSS Notable Trade books