Introduction & Teacher Background
In this Unit, students examine their relationships to their location in the world. It is an introduction to the idea of a bigger world outside their familiar surroundings. Their understanding of the bigger world, which includes W-GIPP, will be limited, especially regarding scales and distances.
Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (W-GIPP) is an abstraction at this concrete age. The world is in the here and now. This Unit and the entire K - 3 section are designed to prepare younger students for knowing their "place" as they see it. Until they actually visit WGIPP, it seems a million miles away. A child’s world is where they spend the bulk of their time -- their room, home, yard, schoolyard and the travel areas between those places.
For that reason, the concept of W-GIPP is presented only in passing. This section is background preparation for later, more specific learning about their region in general and W-GIPP in particular.
This is the perfect age for developing sound observation and comparison skills. Students can work in groups, but they are mostly capable of "working alone together" -- sharing and collaboration are difficult. Reading and math skills tend to be very different in individuals because of the variability in brain development. Be patient. When their brains are ready, they tend to suddenly catch up to more advanced students.
Abstract interrelationships are also hard to understand at these ages, but there are a few things which they will almost universally be ready to do. They are enamored and highly motivated to learn factual information about animals. They will examine things they can touch very carefully. Multi-sensory approaches to learning will help them develop the observation skills of little scientists -- a primary skill which will serve them well for the rest of their lives.
All of the activities in these units are arranged as 1/2-hour sessions, because of normal attention spans.