Student Activities

Weir Am I?

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts,Social Studies
State Standards:
Common Core Standards: 1.4, 1.5, 2.1, 2.5
School philosophy goals met: critical thinking, creativity, communication, place-based learning

Subjects: Social Studies, Oral Language, Language Arts
Pam Clasby; 3rd Grade Teacher, Ridgefield Academy

Stage 1: Desired Results

Established Goals:

Students will read, use and design maps.They will see maps as useful tools. They will use map-building skills to connect with Weir Farm National Historic Site and the mission and meanings related to the National Park Service.

Using one's town (local park) as a context to expand knowledge of geography, history, human interdependence, while incorporating international comparisons. This may include comparing the history and geography of the local community with at least one other town in the United States and at least two towns or regions in other parts of the world.

Stage 2: Assessment Evidence

Performance Tasks:

Task 1: Students write down observations from analyzing maps on Smart Board and Weir Farm National Historic Site maps. What are some similarities and differences? What are common features of these maps? What features do you think are important, and why?

Task 2: Students write journal entries to begin inquiry process. Inform students of upcoming class activity to take place at Weir Farm National Historic Site. Have students look at maps of park for orientation. Ask students to answer journal questions (How long will it take to get to Weir Farm National Historic Site? How do you know? What do you expect to see? Explain what you know about Weir Farm National Historic Site by looking at the map.)

Students continue to use journals in class and during visits documenting resources, thoughts, inspirations, and artistic impressions.

Task 3: Students create K-W-L foldable. What do students "know" about Weir Farm National Historic Site and what do students "want" to know about Weir Farm National Historic Site. Lastly, students write what they have "learned" about Weir Farm National Historic Site.

Task 4: Students create an original map of school grounds and original map of Weir Farm National Historic Site that incorporates park resources and map symbols.

Task 5: Students complete a written assessment. See attached assessment.

Stage 3: Learning Plan

Lesson 1, In the Classroom:

Using Smartboard interactive activity, students participate and analyze maps. Students receive Weir Farm National Historic Site maps and make observations. All observations are documented and saved on Smartboard. Map keys, compass rose, and directions are discussed.

After sharing observations using the Weir Farm National Historic Site maps, inform students they will be visiting the park and we plan to hike to the pond. Ask students how long do they think it will take to get the pond? How do they know?

Provide students with journals. Inform students they will be acting as naturalists and cartographers using their journals to record observations.

Lesson 2, at Weir Farm National Historic Site:

Meet with Park Ranger. Receive introduction to significance of the park.

Using park maps, navigate a hike to Weir Pond. Along the way, stop to look at significant landmarks located on maps including Weir House, studios, sunken garden, and trails. Students lead using their maps, teachers and Ranger act as guides to help facilitate observations, and questions. Note trail markers along the way. Note observations at pond. Hike back to visitor center.

Lesson 3, In the Classroom:

How was the map helpful at Weir Farm National Historic Site? Did the map help the students navigate their way through the park?

Lesson 4, In the Classroom:

Divide the students into groups and assign roles:

Pedometers (measures distance by counting steps or using pedometer), Cartographers (creates rough draft of map), Naturalists (point out natural resources, landmarks), Architects (point out man-made building, resources), and Timekeepers (measure time using stopwatch).

Inform students they will be designing a map of Ridgefield Academy using the Weir Farm National Historic Site map as a template or model. What must students include on their maps? (title, key, compass rose) What landmarks should students include? (summit building, garden, pond annex, various playgrounds, parking lots). As a group, walk the school campus. Students participate in their roles and note-take accordingly in their journals.

Lesson 5, In the Classroom:

Upon return to classroom the groups meet to create maps of their school.

Each group of five to have one "expert" of the five job titles. Students use notes from journal observations and prior knowledge of map components as well as Weir Farm National Historic Site provided maps as models to create original maps of school grounds. Completed maps will be provided to lower school students and visitors for use. How was the map helpful at Weir Farm National Historic Site? Did the map help the students navigate their way through the park?

Lesson 6, at Weir Farm NHS:

(Second visit to Weir Farm National Historic Site) Students stay in groups and roles to explore and make observations of park resources in their journals. (This can be expanded to multiple visits where students note changes in the seasons and resources and connect with their mapping sites and their local national park. Students are encouraged to add details to their Weir Farm National Historic Site maps upon visits. This includes artwork, symbols, topography, natural features, buildings, keys) Students use their notes and acquired knowledge to create original maps of Weir Farm National Historic Site for future visitors.

Lesson 7, In the Classroom:

Students complete written and artistic assessment, sharing their knowledge of Weir Farm National Historic Site. Assessments and maps are shared and displayed in the classroom and other school areas. Park Ranger visits classroom for final celebration.Students present maps, share journals, assessments and artwork. Students are presented with certificates and become official Junior Rangers of Weir Farm National Historic Site.

Last updated: March 7, 2019