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ALEX Lesson Plans


Subject: Social Studies (7), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: You Are A Walking Geography Billboard
Description: Students will investigate personal items to discover the item's origin.  These results will be displayed for the class to see via a digital poster/chart.


Subject: Science (4), or Social Studies (7), or Technology Education (3 - 8)
Title: Let Them Eat Cake! - Topography Lesson
Description: Contour lines on topographic maps require visual processing to read and interpret. This hands-on activity helps give a tasty mental image.


Subject: Social Studies (7), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: GPS Scavenger Hunt
Description: This lesson will provide 7th and 8th grade students the opportunity to utilize GPS Handheld Tracking Units in order to understand latitude and longitude. Students will work in groups of four to complete a scavenger hunt around the campus; they will be using the GPS units to guide them to the final destination. Students will answer questions about the points listed on the handout provided by the teacher.


Subject: Social Studies (7), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: Discover the World of GPS and Geocaching
Description: This lesson will be a creative approach to learning latitude and longitude, and will introduce the students to new technology. Seventh grade students will be given the opportunity to utilize GPS Handheld Tracking Units to understand latitude and longitude. Students will work in groups of four to complete a geocaching activity and a scavenger hunt around campus; they will be using the GPS units to guide them to the final destination. Students will answer questions about points listed on the handout provided by the teacher. We decided to offer this activity as a collaborative effort for one grade level in order to allow all the students the opportunity to participate and work together. This decision allowed us to have four teachers to work together supervising the students. (We also utilized volunteers to assist with supervising each group of students.)


Subject: English Language Arts (7), or English Language Arts (7), or Social Studies (7), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: World Traveler
Description: Seventh grade social studies students will create a passport and detailed daily travel journal. The project will incorporate a minimum of two types of technology as they create a narrative vividly describing a city/country. Specific details of the geography, people, their culture, government and particular points of interest will be included. Pictures will be downloaded and used to illustrate the location and or adventure.


Subject: Social Studies (7)
Title: Where in the world am I?
Description: A collaborative distance learning project on world geography.Two classrooms will interact while solving clues about "mystery" counties.


Subject: English Language Arts (7), or Languages Other Than English (Foreign Languages) (6 - 8), or Social Studies (7), or Technology Education (6 - 8)
Title: A Guided Tour of Paris
Description: Students will play the role of a Paris tour guide. Traveling on the Paris Metro System, students will guide tourists through the city to point out the location and important facts of major historical landmarks.


Thinkfinity Lesson Plans


Subject: Social Studies - Geography - Social Studies - United States History
Title: A Look at the Population Density of the United States      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson from Xpeditions, students learn to '' '' see the world in spatial terms'' '' by analyzing population density at all levels and plotting the information on maps. Population density refers to the number of individuals occupying a specified area. The population density is derived by dividing the number of people by the area they occupy.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: School Space: An Analysis of Map Perceptions      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students analyze sketch maps produced by different people on the basis of their mental maps. Students then draw inferences about the factors (e.g., culture, age, sex, occupation, experience) that influence perceptions of places.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies - Geography - Social Studies - United States History - Social Studies - World History
Title: Culture in the Cupboard      Add Bookmark
Description: This Xpeditions lesson helps students identify some of the cultures new to their part of the world and to understand more about cultural diffusion. They analyze items found in each other's cupboards and closets to determine what the items reveal about the residents cultural heritage.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Language Arts,Social Studies
Title: Mapping the Past      Add Bookmark
Description: This EDSITEment lesson provides students with experience in working with historical maps as cultural artifacts that reflect the views of particular times and places. They trace the evolving world view from medieval times through the Renaissance as recorded in maps of those eras, investigate how cultural assumptions influenced the process of mapping the American West, and discover what present-day maps can tell us about our world view and cultural aspirations.
Thinkfinity Partner: EDSITEment
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Health - Disease - Mathematics - Applied Mathematics - Science - Biology - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Africa's Struggle With AIDS      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students come to understand the enormity of the impact of AIDS on the population of Africa by comparing its effect there with its effect on the population of the world in general, and especially on that of the United States. After locating Africa on a world map, and individual sub-Saharan nations on a map of Africa, students examine charts and graphs to find and compare data about AIDS in Africa, the world, and the United States.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Science - Meteorology - Science - Oceanography - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Sister Storms: Children of the Tropical Seas      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students learn about different kinds of tropical storms throughout the world. They learn about how the storms are different, how they are similar, and how they are distributed throughout the world. They study specific storms in detail and create class presentations about them.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: Where in the World Would You Like to Live?      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students compare thematic maps of the continents and the world as a whole to determine where they would like to live. They view several online thematic maps and conclude by writing paragraphs describing the three places in the world they think they d most like to live.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Science - Astronomy - Science - Earth science - Social Studies - Geography
Title: A Reason for the Season      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions student activity, students explore the changing of the seasons. They learn why the season change and then test their knowledge using a cosmic map.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Xpedition Hall      Add Bookmark
Description: Built around the National Geography Standards, Xpedition Hall is a virtual museum that is filled with interactive exhibits designed to provoke reflection on how human beings shape and are shaped by the world in which we live. The Hall contains one exhibit for each of standard, and groups these exhibits into six galleries, which correspond to the standards six underlying '' elements.'' Students use can use an image or map of the Hall to navigate through the exhibits.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Science - Meteorology - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Creative Climates      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions student activity, students pretend they are head of a new National Geographic Climate Observation Post, where they must create a climate map to illustrate the world's various climate zones. Students explore the world's diverse climate zones and find out how climate affects human life.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Science - Meteorology - Science - Oceanography - Social Studies - Geography
Title: The Ocean and Weather: El Nino and La Nina      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students explore the weather phenomena El Nino and La Nina. They learn about when and where these weather changes occur and about the effects they have on everything in their wake.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Mathematics - Applied Mathematics - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Latitude, Longitude, and Mapmaking      Add Bookmark
Description: This Xpeditions lesson requires students to review the concepts of latitude and longitude and to use these concepts to create maps of different countries on the computer. They conclude by discussing the reasons why it is important to understand latitude and longitude and by creating quizzes in which other students must locate mystery places and map them on the computer.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: Get Oriented      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions student activity, students explore the cardinal directions--north, south, east, and west. They then test their knowledge using the interactive '' '' Orientometer.'' ''
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: How Can Maps Help?      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students are asked to consider the various ways that maps help people in everyday life, and also to consider how students themselves might use maps to help in various situations. They begin by analyzing some maps on National Geographic's MapMachine and discussing ways these maps might be used. They then are given four hypothetical scenarios and search for maps to use in each one. They conclude by choosing five maps to use in planning an international festival in their town, and writing paragraphs that explain how these maps help in the planning process.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies - Economics - Social Studies - Geography - Social Studies - Urban Studies
Title: Planning a New Town      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students make decisions about buildings, businesses, services, and housing areas to include in the development of a new town. After discussing essential elements of a self-sustaining community, the students prepare a map and give oral presentations on different aspects of the new town.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: Human Migration: The Story of the Cultural Landscape      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students come to understand key concepts of human migration through the examination of maps and census data. They then research and document the impact of migration on a region's cultural landscape. Students examine migration patterns on a global and national scale as a class and then apply that understanding to telling a migration story about their own community.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Mathematics - Statistics - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Population Pasta      Add Bookmark
Description: In this student activity, from Xpeditions, students investigate population statistics. Using different types of pasta to represent different numbers of people, students experiment with using graphs, maps, and more to illustrate the population densities of various countries.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: Contour Maps with DOGSTAILS      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students craft miniature mountains from lumps of clay. They then translate their mountains into topographic maps that include vital features and information such as date, orientation, grid, scale, title, author, index, legend, and sources--or DOGSTAILS, for short. When students know what goes into creating a representational map, they are more likely to understand how to analyze the geographic information in other maps.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Mathematics - Statistics - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Interpreting Population Statistics      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students are introduced to population statistics such as birth, death, and literacy rates. They compare these indicators for several countries, graph the results, and hypothesize about what their graphs indicate about the countries.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies - Economics - Social Studies - Geography - Social Studies - United States History
Title: Spatial Organization: Identification of Functional Regions      Add Bookmark
Description: This Xpeditions lesson places the student in the role of geographer--thinking geographically and using geographic skills. During this lesson, students connect data and visual representations to see how the links that sustain a region can be visually represented by maps of flow lines or overlapping '' '' cobwebs.'' ''
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies - Geography - Social Studies - World History
Title: Pirate Archaeology      Add Bookmark
Description: This Xpeditions lesson has students read and answer questions about pirates and the areas where piracy was the most common. They gain an understanding of where pirates worked and what their motivations were. The lesson asks students to consider where they might look for sunken pirate ships and what they would expect to find on such ships. To conclude, students pretend to be historians seeking funding for expeditions to search for pirate ships, and write up their plans.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies - Economics - Social Studies - Geography - Social Studies - United States History
Title: Human Migration Within and Into the United States      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students analyze 1980 and 1990 demographic data from the U.S. They determine net migration for the southern, northeastern, western, and midwestern regions of the United States and analyze the impact of migration shifts in these regions.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies - Anthropology - Social Studies - Geography - Social Studies - World History
Title: Mission Geography: Europe      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students research and learn about the culture, physical geography, and history of selected countries in Europe. Acting as '' '' tour operators,'' '' small groups of students create an imaginary tour group itinerary that highlights interesting and important destinations as well as characteristics of their selected countries.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Mathematics - Applied Mathematics - Science - Earth science - Science - Meteorology - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Desert Graphics      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students learn about how climates differ, and how meteorologists collect different kinds of weather data, including daily high and low temperatures and average monthly rainfall, from all over the world. Students use similar weather data to create a graph comparing three climates.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: Explore the Spatial Patterns of Your Hometown      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students analyze the distribution of businesses and residences within their own communities in order to develop a more sophisticated understanding of already familiar places. The ability to recognize and describe patterns within the distribution of physical and human features on Earth is essential to developing a geographic perspective.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Science - Biological and Life Sciences - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Preserving Biodiversity      Add Bookmark
Description: In this student activity from, Xpeditions, students take on the role of zoo director with a mission to teach people about the importance of biodiversity. Students examine maps and then create their own map that illustrates areas of the world where endangered species are found.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies - Geography - Social Studies - World History
Title: Assessing Political Boundaries      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students are introduced to the changing nature of political boundaries in Asia. Students assess the role geography plays in establishing national boundaries, examine a series of historical maps that show changing political boundaries, and speculate on the reasons some boundaries have changed dramatically while some have remained fairly constant. Students then examine several examples of boundaries. They may also be asked to pick a nation and summarize the various states or empires that were part of that nation's past.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: Investigating Central Asia Through Maps      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students use physical, political, and thematic maps to investigate the geography of Central Asia through a scavenger hunt. Students explore ways in which the region of Central Asia is defined and create their own map-based scavenger hunt for other students to solve.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: Geography and Your Dream Job      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students visit the Globe Projector exhibit in Xpedition Hall and explore the different types of map projections. Students also use their critical thinking skills to consider different careers that would require geographic knowledge and decide what projection would serve them best for each.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Science - Astronomy - Social Studies - Geography
Title: The Riddle of the Russian Lights      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions student activity, students use maps to help an astronaut figure out why a string of lights zigzags across southern Russia. They examine maps depicting population density, average annual temperature, transportation density, and railroad networks to come up with the answer.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: Crack the Code      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions student activity, students use a map to plot geographic coordinates given on a list. The goal is to use the first letter of each city plotted to spell the name of another city.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Arts - Photography - Science - Earth science - Science - Ecology - Science - Oceanography - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Ocean Conservation: Getting the Word Out with Photographs      Add Bookmark
Description: This lesson, from Xpeditions, helps students understand that geography enables people to make sense of the world and prepare for the future. They concentrate on how photography can contribute to the planning process by looking at pictures by undersea photographer David Doubilet.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Science
Title: In Defense of Cities      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Science NetLinks lesson, the last of a sequence of five lessons, students learn about the concept of an ecological footprint and brainstorm the qualities and characteristics of what they might consider an excellent, livable community. The class then creates an oversized wall map of their local environment, decorated with a border of colorful footprints.
Thinkfinity Partner: Science NetLinks
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Mathematics - Statistics - Social Studies - Economics - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Rich, Poor, or Somewhere in the Middle      Add Bookmark
Description: This Xpeditions lesson offers students an opportunity to use economic and social indicators to identify the connection between a country's access to resources and its economic development. They learn how development is measured and examine basic statistical figures related to standard of living.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Science - Biological and Life Sciences - Social Studies - Geography
Title: GIS: Helping to Save the African Wild      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students learn about a geographic tool known as GIS, and about how it is assisting the conservation efforts of ecologically-minded individuals such as Dr. Michael Fay and the environmentalists at the Wildlife Conservation Society. They examine how human influence threatens the landscape of Africa and generate ideas about what can be done to plan and prepare for the future.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Science - Biological and Life Sciences - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Regional Guidebook      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students are asked to consider the unique physical and human characteristics of their home region and to create guidebooks that describe these features to visitors to the region. In the process, they gain an awareness of the human and environmental factors that make places unique.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies
Title: Geographic Culture Clues      Add Bookmark
Description: In this student interactive, from Xpeditions, students explore satellite images of three different cities and take notes on what the landscapes reveal about the culture and geography of the region.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Science - Earth science - Science - Oceanography - Social Studies - Anthropology - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Sleuthing for a Lost Ship      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students consider the ways in which geography is not merely an academic discipline, but also a field of study with interesting and practical applications. They use geographical concepts to plan a fictitious investigation with scientist Robert Ballard to search for a long-lost ship.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: Adopt a Lot      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students learn the basics of conducting a field study. They learn how to develop innovative plans to improve the quality of a community and make recommendations for improvements to their local area.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Science - Meteorology - Social Studies - Geography
Title: Spice World      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions student activity, students create a map showing the origins of the spices and herbs that help flavor their favorite dishes. Related activities for parents to do with their children are also found on this page.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12



Subject: Mathematics,Social Studies
Title: Five's a Crowd      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Illuminations, students play a game in which they try to list five countries or states in order from most crowded to least crowded. Using area and population data from a Web site, they estimate quotients to make their list. They determine whose list is closest to the actual order by applying a mathematical model (scoring system), which they later evaluate.
Thinkfinity Partner: Illuminations
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies - Anthropology - Social Studies - Geography - Social Studies - Urban Studies
Title: Cities in Asia      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students identify the characteristics of cities and analyze the influence of geography on patterns of urban settlement. They explore the role geography plays in the types of cities that develop. Students create a list of different types of cities and then compare and analyze different Asian cities.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: Population Pyramids and Us      Add Bookmark
Description: In this Xpeditions lesson, students learn how a geographer uses a population pyramid to interpret the dynamics of a population. They become able to describe population structures using population pyramids.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies - Anthropology - Social Studies - Geography
Title: International Food Court      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students learn about the characteristics of the world's regions by investigating the types of food that are common in those regions. They also conduct research to find out about the climate, landscape, and cultures of a few countries. They compile their findings into a plan for an international food court in a local mall.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



Subject: Social Studies - Geography
Title: Oil and Water in the Middle East Region      Add Bookmark
Description: In this lesson, from Xpeditions, students explore the roles of oil and water in the Middle East, especially in Iraq. Students use maps to look at the distribution of oil in the Middle East and discuss what it means for the different countries in the region. They also examine how water has influenced the region historically (in the fertile crescent region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers) and politically (for example, how Iraq's access to water is limited to one small part of its border). Finally, they study specific aspects of Iraq's struggles with water, using satellite imagery to understand and illustrate the problem.
Thinkfinity Partner: National Geographic Education
Grade Span: 6,7,8



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