Indiana and its Neighboring States

We will be focusing on the standard: 3.3.6 Compare and contrast the physical characteristics of Indiana to neighboring states using words, illustrations, maps, photographs, and other resources. We will be comparing and contrasting the differences and having children create clay models  of each state based on the research that they have collected.

Driving Question:

Driving Question: “What are the differences between Indiana and the neighboring states: Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky?”

The driving question provides opportunities for students to evaluate their research of the physical characteristic differences when comparing information to Indiana and the neighboring states. Students will get the chance to present and defend these differences in their research to their classmates and teacher.

The goal of our DQ is for students to be able to identify key geographical and cultural aspects of Indiana that make it different from neighboring states. From these facts, students can further understand basic cultural and geographical distinctions between Indiana and its neighboring states. Centering the question around Indiana, makes it relevant to the students since Indiana is their home state. Students are learning about states in 3rd grade so doing this project will give students more information about how each state is different from each other. Students will be able to compare how the neighboring states’ history, geography, industry, sports, and culture differ from Indiana’s.


Indiana - 50 States - US Geography Video

This grabber will be used at the very beginning of the lesson to show the students some basic facts about their own state and give a general idea about what to look for when starting to research. This video is relevant to the students because the facts used in the video will give the students examples of starting points for their own research. The video will hook the students into finding more research about Indiana and also the neighboring states. This video gives the main criteria that sticks out about Indiana, but from this video we want students to be able to gain an interest in learning more about Indiana and then grow this interest into learning about the states around them.

Culminating Activity:

Students will be split into 5 groups, each with a different state. Students will first find research about their state starting with the basic facts and then finding more complex characteristics such as history, geography, industry, sports, culture, etc. The students in each group can divide up the research so that it requires all student engagement and collaboration. Students can work together or apart and then compare the different facts that they found to those of their classmates. Once all the research has been found, each group will get a slab of clay and will work together to make a model that represents their state they were assigned and its features and characteristics.  

The activity authenticity because the groups will each be researching another state and making a clay model of it and presenting it in front of the class, showing and explaining why the neighboring states differ from Indiana. Each group will be assigned a different state to look at and they will each individually pick a category or two to focus on. They can construct research outside of school, but they will also be given time in class to look up information on the computer or in books. They can then compare and contrast the knowledge they previously know about Indiana to the new knowledge they have about their own assigned state.

The students will be able to defend their ideas and facts about what makes Indiana different from their state when they present in front of the class. They will explain the key differences between each state that gives that state their own identity.  After each group's presentation, there will be a time for dialogue between students to ask questions, make comments, or state their concerns. Students from the class may ask questions or make comments trying to disprove information given by the presenters, so this will be the time for the group presenting to refute and use their information from their research to further prove their point. This dialogue will help each child go further in depth with the concept and gain a deeper meaning and understanding of what they are learning, allowing them to possibly make ties to other things that they have learned or will learn in the future. Not only are they able to hear the information, but they are also getting a visual model and representation of the information to better learn.

This activity requires lots of student collaboration. Since the students are working in groups, they will need to share the research they found individually and ask a group with each other so they know what each should present in front of the class. They also need to share this information so at the end of their presentation when they are asked to answer questions or defend their point, they are able to have in depth background knowledge to support their claims. This will keep them all engaged and on the same path. They will also need to work together when making their clay model so they can each have a role in helping identify the key facts and design a model of the state that is accurate and helpful for further learning. They will then all work together to present this model to their classmates and teacher.

To judge what the students have learned, the teacher will look at how well they present their state and the facts and differences they have learned. We will be focusing on if they find distinct differences between their state and Indiana. Another way we will be able to assess what the student has learned, is how well they deal with the questions being asked by their classmates. Are they able to take answer these questions with supporting evidence of their research? Do they feel confident enough with the information they have learned to teach it to the other students or back up their claims? Are they able to go in depth with facts and backup? The rubric below will also be a guide used to assess the students while they present, how well they present, and how good of a job they did on their clay model of their state.


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