City, State, Country, Continent Ideas


One thing I have done is to seat my students in pods that are labeled by continent. Then the computers at their continent are given country names according to the continent. For example, the continent of Europe has the computers labeled with Great Britian and Germany. This way they get a dose of continent every day. When I call them to line up, I call by continent. If I'm really thinking about it, I call them by country.
Donna Horn
  I put them into concentric circles. The town was the smallest circle in the middle, then the county, then the region, then the . state, then the country, then the continent in the largest circle on the outside. They seemed to get it. We did it in chalk on our floor, but you could do it on the smartboard or with butcher paper. It gives them a visual of something that is pretty abstract to most of them.
Jacqueline Frieda
  I got this idea from my mentor years ago. Use different sized containers (cylinders) that fit inside each other. We have a film canister for the city, a veggie can for the state, a larger can (maybe a big chili bean can or the like) for the country, and a coffee can for the continent. Each container is labeled of course. If you could find different sized cans, you could do county and region and other things. I just do city, state, country, and continent.
Jennifer Woods 
  I use the book ZOOM by Istvan Banyai. It is great for those visual learners. Amazon even has a sample of it (you can see inside the pages) online.
Maria Thomas

Using interactive tools such as Google Maps or Earth, have students zoom in by clicking and notice the changes that take place. Switching between map view and satellite view can help students understand that often geographic features create political divisions.

Have students create graphic organizers using Inspiration or SMART Ideas or even SMART Notebook. A tree-type organizer would work well, starting with the Earth then branching to the continents, etc. Students could use images and outlines or shapes of decreasing size.

I have previously taught in rural Missouri and many of my students had no idea that there was a world past the Super-Walmart in the neighboring town. To help my students understand that they were a part of something much larger, I had them memorize their global address. For example, the global address of my training room would be Room 160A, Valley Park Elementary School, Valley Park, MO, St. Louis County, State of Missouri, United States of America, North American Continent, Planet Earth, Our Solar System, the Universe. So how could technology be integrated into this simple memorization activity? Combining PowerPoint and MovieMaker with narration could produce an effective personal audio-visual experience. First have students create PowerPoint slides: The Universe, Solar System, Earth, on so forth until arriving, in this case, at a picture of me sitting in front of my computer. Save the PowerPoint slides as jpegs. Import the slides into MovieMaker. Drag them to the storyboard in sequential order. Add narration of the student citing his/her global address and a title? Perhaps "Where in the Universe is Diana?".
Diana Dell


We went outside and sat in a circle. Then we tossed a globe beach ball to each other. Wherever their right thumb landed, when they caught it, they had to say what country it was on and on and what continent or what ocean. Some interesting things came up. We graphed how many times we landed on land or oceans. We ended up doing a lesson on how much water there is in comparison to land. They also really began to grasp that a country is on a continent. They then began to ask what countries where in the big country of Canada and Australia and the united States, which we were then able to do discovery learning that Canada and Australia have territories and we have states. When they began asking questions like that I knew they were getting it. It hadn't really occurred to some that the United states was a country on the North American continent until they had to do this activity, they just had never made the connection and this was with 6th graders. We played this several times over a period of time. It was a great activity. The hands on made all the difference.
Nanette Niebergall



Center School District
This website is maintained by Colleen McLain
November 15, 2006

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