Created by: Bedria Hassen
Grade level: 2nd grade
Content area: Social Studies
I think children are always fascinated to learn about the lives of other children their age that live in a different country or continent where there are geographical differences. The WA State Social Studies Standards indicate that 2nd graders are expected to “understand the physical characteristics of places in the community by being able to describe physical characteristics such as rivers, lakes, mountains, and parks of the community in which they live in” (EALR 3.1.2 Geography). To this effect my 2nd grade students, here in Western Washington will connect with students in 2nd grade in a city located in Kenya and learn about the geography of the communities they each live in.
Introduction: In this activity, students in both classrooms will start by introducing themselves using ePals blog – name, age, city they live in and something about their family (siblings, parents’ main source of income etc.) and anything else they would like to say about themselves. Before the main activity starts, students will have an opportunity to connect via Skype or another technology for a face to face introduction.
- Students in each classroom will be grouped in threes or fours and will be given a choice to research and describe particular physical characteristics of their communities such as rivers, lakes, valleys, mountains and parks.
- They will find length measurements for water bodies and depth/height measurements of valleys/mountains. In their research, students will be encouraged to include any interesting information that is known in the community about a particular geographic marker. (For example, Mr. Rainier is the highest mountain in WA State.)
- They will record their information in a table form using any word processing program or Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint which will then be uploaded onto ePals’ media gallery. http://en.community.epals.com/epals/support/p/web-tools.aspx#whatIsAMediaGallery
- Students in either classroom can blog about their ongoing experience so that others can share in their journey. Teachers in both classrooms will check periodically for updated blogs and share with their classes.
- At the end of a two week period of researching and recording, students will present their findings using their digital files on ePals’ media gallery. This can be achieved by uploading a summary of their findings on to the gallery.
- Students will have an opportunity to have a face to face interaction via Skype and share what they learned from the experience. As an ending to this activity, students may use ePals blog to reflect on their shared experience and acknowledge each others’ efforts.
Technology standards addressed:
EALR 1: Integration
Component 1.2: Collaborate – Use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
Component 1.3: Investigate and Think – Research, manage and evaluate information and solve problems using digital tools and resources.
The above components in this standard were met by having students work in groups to investigate and describe geographic features in their communities and share their information using ePals and Skype as well as other word processing and presentation programs.
EALR 2: Digital Citizenship
Component 2.2: Practice Safety – Practice safe, legal and ethical behavior in the use of information technology.
Component 2.3: Operate Systems – understand technology systems and use hardware and networks to support learning.
Component 2.4: Select and Use Applications- Use productivity tools and common applications effectively and constructively.
The above components in this standard were met by having students access computers safely with teacher supervision, record their information using Word or Excel for the benefit of sharing with others online so that they can learn from each other’s community and experience.