We have been studying the seven continents for quite a while now. In fact, we have finally made it to our last continent for in depth study, Australia. During our continent study, students picked a country to research. The whole second grade is participating in this research project and in June parents are invited to a continents performance. We have representation from each of the seven continents, with the exception of Antartica, for obviously chilly reasons.
Since most students are close to finishing their research on their country, I thought it might be fun to do a little side project. We trekked down to the computer lab so students could do a picture hunt for their country. Most of their research has been spent reading, gathering information from books and websites, so I thought I would shake it up a little.
Once in the lab, I reviewed with students how to add pictures to a word document, a skill they practiced with our technology teacher but who doesn’t love a little refresher?! Each student also received a check off list of specific pictures to look for. Then they were off and running!
The only downside to typing in the key phrases into a web based image search is that sometimes students got pictures that didn’t relate to their own country or a few strange things. Walking around and checking in with each student gave me a chance to address any of these issues. No, Pikachu is not a real animal that lives in the US, but someone in the US did a very nice job photoshopping a picture of an animal to look like a “real Pikachu”. Time to find a more native animal to the US!
We spent two blocks in the computer lab gathering pictures. At the end of our second visit students printed out what they had found (“Wait we get to print, Ms. White??!” “Yes.” It was kinda a big deal). We printed the pictures in black and white, knowing that students would add color with crayons and markers later.
Back in the classroom, students divided up by continent. My aide and I, had traced and cut each continent onto bulletin board paper. Students then cut and glue their own pictures onto the correct continent. To keep confusion to a minimum I placed continents around the room and double checked with each student they were working in the correct place.
The room was abuzz with chatter. Students compared their pictures, asked to identify where on the continent their country was located, checked out our world flags poster to find their countries map to color, sang their continent and ocean song, and worked as a team to decide where they would glue the pictures. Walking by the room it looked a bit like organized chaos. But a happy and on task organized chaos.
Europe, with such a small land mass, and so many students with countries located there, needed an extender sheet to fit all their pictures. Students working on North America ran into the same problem, but it may have also been because their pictures were a bit larger.
With all parts complete, I hung the continents outside on our bulletin board to create our own world map. Students seemed as impressed as I was with the final product. It was a fun way to continue our research.