Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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LINK: Social Studies in Action Home Image of an elementary school student.
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Classroom Profile | Lesson Background

Read this information to better understand the lesson shown in the video.

Content: Learning About China Through Geography
China is the world's most populous nation. Occupying nearly one-fourth of the Earth's land area, it is also one of the largest (behind only Russia and Canada). China can be divided into three main geographic zones: the eastern zone with its vast plains and rivers, the arid northwestern zone, and the mountainous southwestern zone. The following are some of the geographic landmarks featured in this lesson:

Ms. Norton working with her students.Taiwan is an island located 100 miles off the southern coast of China. Forced from the mainland in 1949 by occupying communist armies, the Nationalist government of China sought refuge in the island's main city of Taipei, making it the seat of government of the Republic of China. The island is heavily populated, and people live mainly along the coastal plain or on the western side of the island. Volcanic mountain ranges are found in the eastern part of Taiwan.

Hong Kong, located on the southern coast of mainland China, was a British Crown Colony following World War II until 1997, when it reverted back to Chinese control. With a large population and little arable land, Hong Kong has become one of the world's largest banking centers.

The Yellow River (Huang He), the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang), and the Xi River (Si Kiang) are prone to flooding but also provide fertile soil for agriculture. Population concentrations are found in the valleys along these rivers.

The Great Wall of China is the only human-made structure that can be seen from space. Ranging from 20 to 50 feet in height and stretching for 1,500 miles, the earth and stone wall is located along the Mongolian Plateau in northern China. The earliest part of the wall was built in the third century to protect against invasion from the north. Gates built into the wall, especially those located in the city of Beijing (Peking), became centers of trade.

The Gobi Desert extends from the north-central China border into Mongolia. Europeans first learned of the Gobi from Marco Polo's travels during the thirteenth century. As Asia's largest desert, it represents another geographic barrier.

The Himalayas are on the border between Nepal and China and are home to the world's highest peak, 29,035-foot Mount Everest. Geologists believe the Himalayas were formed when two continents collided.

The Kunlun Mountains are north and east of the Himalayas. The Kunlun range is one of the highest in the world.

The Plateau of Tibet is located in southwest China, between the Himalayas and the Kunlun Mountains. At 13,000 feet above sea level, it is the highest plateau in the world. Cold and inhospitable to early settlement, it lies in the Tibet Autonomous Region and the Tsinghai Region.

Teaching Strategy: Integrating Social Studies with Other Curriculum Areas
A position statement by the National Council for the Social Studies regarding students in early childhood and elementary grades states that:

Basic skills of reading, writing, and computing are necessary but not sufficient to participate or even survive in a world demanding independent and cooperative problem solving to address complex social, economic, ethical, and personal concerns. Knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for informed and thoughtful participation in society require a systematically developed program focusing on concepts from history and the social sciences.

Using content and skills from a variety of subjects to enhance your social studies curriculum not only encourages students to explore a topic from different angles, it helps reinforce what they have already learned. For example, students apply their newly acquired map skills to learn about the history and culture of China, and read books that enhance what they are learning about the culture and traditions of China. Information presented from a variety of subject areas allows students to relate to content from other academic perspectives, and underscores the connection between subjects.

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