Census Map Puzzle Challenge Teacher's Guide
Description and Objectives
The Census Map Puzzle Challenge is designed to help students learn the regions of the United States and the location of all the states within those regions. Students can either “beat the clock” or play without being timed. They can also play alone, in pairs, or in teams of three.
While this game is intended for students in grades 3–5, it can be played by all ages. It is great practice for those who are rusty on their United States geography and it is an excellent teaching tool for those just learning.
During Class Time
Here are just a few ways to use this game in class:
1. Offer this game as an optional activity if students finish their work early. It will keep students engaged in learning and leave you free to work with small groups. If several students finish early and want to play, provide a sign-up sheet so they will know when it is their turn, or let them play together.
2. If you are teaching U.S. geography, project the game onto an LCD and play as a class several times over the course of the unit, offering prizes to the students who correctly name the largest number of states.
3. Set up the game in a “learning center” and have students rotate through either individually or in pairs. If students play individually, the certificate they receive at the end of the game will tell you how many states they placed correctly on the first try and how quickly they located all 50.
Even if you don’t play the game in class, tell students where to find it so they can play at home with friends and family. It is an entertaining way for them to learn U.S. geography. (Go to http://scholastic.com/census/game1/index.htm )
1. Ask students to make a map of their home state, with labels for the cities and a legend for the attractions. Challenge students to draw the map to scale. Some students will be able to create their own scale. Explain that the scale will depend on the size of your state. For example, Rhode Island’s scale will be very different from California’s. Ask students who don’t yet understand scale to focus on creating a legend with symbols for a variety of state attractions, such as mountains, lakes, zoos, parks, beaches, and famous landmarks.
2. Write the alphabet on the chalkboard. Divide students into groups and ask them to work together to list a state, a state capital, or a city in the United States that starts with each letter. Make sure students have research resources, such as a computer with Internet access or an atlas. Sample answers are below.
3. Teach students about the many different kinds of maps using Lesson 3 from Grades 3-4: Then and Now. Explain that some maps show the height of mountains, some maps show the size of cities, and other maps show population. Try out this lesson with your students to give them practice with a different kind of map. They will also learn about the census, what it does, and why it’s important. (http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3752221 )
Sample Answers to Extension 2
Yonkers, NY; Ypsilanti, MI; or Yuma, AZ
Zanesville, Ohio; Zuni, NM; or Zapata, TX