These lessons are designed as an end-of-the-year
unit for middle school students. They work best in a school with a team-iteaching
structure. All members of the team - social studies, English-language arts,
science, math, etc. - must be actively involved for this unit to work. Each
group of students is assigned a parallel of latitude or a meridian of longitude
to study in depth. It is their responsibility to complete six tasks;
- Task 1: Find ten cities and five parks or historic places
that lie close to the assigned parallel or meridian
- Task 2: Obtain data about these ten cities, including
climate, population, history, and natural communities
- Task 3: Place the data on two maps of North America, one
physical, and one political.
- Task 4: Use spreadsheets to generate three graphs from
the data obtained in Task 2.
- Task 5: Plan a trip for a prospective customer to visit
most of the cities. This includes an itinerary, a budget, and a presentation.
- Task 6: Make a ten-minute presentation to sell your trip
proposal to the class.
To view these tasks in more detail, download the Grand
Tour Lesson Plan
(in pdf format)!
Information for teachers:
These lessons are not only aligned
to the National Standards for Geography, they are also linked to the standards
for English Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, and Science. Since this
unit comes at the end of the school year, we have expectations for students
at that time. They should have research skills, graphing skills, speaking
and writing skills, mapping skills. The unit is meant to be student-driven,
and they need to be independent learners!
To view the standards and other pertinant information about the Grand Tour
Unit, download the Teacher Plan
If you use these lessons in part or in their entirety, please
let us know how they worked. You can email Timothy McDonnell at the following
address, and he will share the information with the other team members. Thank