Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Catching Up On Social Studies

It has been a busy couple of weeks in Social Studies. We finished our unit on the government of Pennsylvania. We learned that our state government is not very different from the federal government of the United States, which we learned about last year.

An interesting, and challenging, part of the government was understanding checks and balances. Checks and balances is the process of making sure that none of the three branches of the government gets more power than the other two. To help us get a better understanding of these jobs and this process, we had to work together in teams to balance a marble on an equilateral triangle. This might seem like an easy task, but it took our teams a REALLY long time to figure out how to get that marble to stay right in the middle of the triangle. As you can see in the pictures below, our teams tried and were successful using different strategies so we learned that an important part of the government working properly involves people working together -- something we noticed doesn't always happen in real life.

After wrapping up our unit on the state government we began learning about the natural or physical regions of Pennsylvania. An important part of studying our state involves understanding the 5 themes of  geography. So to start off our unit on the regions, we spent a few days learning about the five themes and what they mean. Here's the graphic organizer our class created:

Once we had some background knowledge about geography, we started to think about the questions we'd like to ask about our region of Pennsylvania, the Piedmont Region. There were some questions we HAVE to ask because our curriculum says we have to learn those answers, but we could also ask other questions just because we were curious and wanted to learn the answers. Here's a look at the questions we're trying to answer using our reading and research skills:

As we find the answers to our questions, we're also learning how to create a Google presentation so that we can share our learnings here on the blog. Be sure to look for that! It's coming soon! After break we'll also be working in groups to teach you about the other regions of Pennsylvania.

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