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Crisscrossing the Country:
Scavenger Hunts for Kids of All Ages

Lesson Planning ChannelThis week, Education World challenges students to sharpen their Internet searching skills as they learn about the history and landscape of the United States. These activities are suitable for classroom or computer lab use -- or for rainy day fun at home! Included: Scavenger hunts and a plan-a-trip activity!

Summertime is travel time, so this week Education World takes to the road! We've created a series of scavenger hunt lessons for students in grades 2 and up. These lessons challenge students to learn about the United States as they investigate the online resources of the National Parks Service. During their online tour, students will develop their Internet searching skills.

If you are looking for additional lesson plans about U.S. landmarks, don't miss a fabulous resource created by the National Register of Historic Places. In those lessons, students take on the role of historian as they use primary sources -- historical photographs, maps, and other documents -- to make sense of the past. (Click Education at the top of the page to access the lessons.)

Lessons for Teaching With Historic Places

The National Register of Historic Places offers its award-winning Teaching With Historic Places Web site with lessons to help teachers connect history, geography, and other subjects to students' lives. Among the dozens of lessons are these:

* In a lesson on the Choices and Commitments: The Soldiers at Gettysburg, students gain new insights into the complexities of the Civil War by reading letters from three soldiers and learning the surprising reasons that each chose to fight for the North or the South.

* After investigating The Invention Factory: Thomas Edison's Laboratories, students work together to design and market a new car, thus experiencing the creativity and teamwork required.

* Bringing in a local veteran to speak of his or her experiences helps students in Remembering Pearl Harbor: The USS Arizona and in more fully appreciating the human story of that and other military engagements commemorated in local and national monuments.

 

"Historic places are the real thing, a tangible link to our past," says Beth Boland, a historian at the National Register of Historic Places and the driving force behind the Teaching With Historic Places Web site. "The emotional hook that historic places have can generate enthusiasm and curiosity -- both of which are keys to learning.

"Historic places embody clues about our past just as written documents and artifacts do," Boland tells Education World. "They show students that history is everywhere, in their own neighborhoods too. All the lesson plans on the Teaching With Historic Places Web site include at least one activity that helps to bring students back to their own communities," Boland adds.

FIVE INTERNET LESSONS

Each activity description below details the skills students need to complete it. Click on the activities that best match your students' skills.

  • Crisscrossing the Country: Where Is It? (#1) Students match ten famous landmarks to the states in which they are found! In this activity, students use the National Park Service's search engine. All answers are found within one page of the search engine, in the opening paragraphs of the text on that page. Suggested audience: students in grades 2 through 4.
  • Crisscrossing the Country: Where Is It? (#2) Students match ten famous landmarks to the states in which they are found! In this activity, students use the National Park Service search engine. All answers are found within one page of the search engine. However, students might be required to look beyond the opening paragraphs to find the answers to the questions; they might also need to know state abbreviations. Suggested audience: students in grades 4 through 6.
  • Crisscrossing the Country: Learn About Famous Places (#1) Students search for answers to questions about ten famous U.S. landmarks! In this activity, students use the National Park Service search engine. All answers are found within one page of the search engine. Suggested audience: students in grades 3 through 6.
  • Crisscrossing the Country: Learn About Famous Places (#2) Students search for answers to questions about ten famous U.S. landmarks! In this activity, students use the National Park Service's search engine. This activity requires simple searching skills. Students will need to link to Web sites that describe each landmark in more detail. All pages are within the National Parks Service Web site, so they are completely safe for student use. Suggested audience: students in grades 4 and up.
  • Crisscrossing the Country: Plan a Trip! Students figure out the total miles for a trip that two kids have planned from their home in Syracuse, New York, to five national landmarks. Then they plan their own five-stop trip, using an online trip planner to help them determine the total mileage of the trip. Suggested audience: students in grades 4 and up.

Article by Gary Hopkins
Education World®
Copyright © 2005 Education World

Related Articles from Education World

Don't miss more summertime fun! Find it on Education World's Summertime Holiday page.

Then find additional geography lessons in the following resources...


Links last updated 10/29/2014

 

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