Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"Rip the World"--A Geography Activity

Years ago, when I was in college, I went to a geography conference for pre-service teachers and we did an activity called "Rip the World."  We were given a partner, tape, colored paper, and a time limit and were told to tear the continent shapes and tape them to the wall in the correct places.  Above, my teacher-friend, Melissa, and I are modeling our ripped world.  By the way, I was quite pleased with the way my Africa turned out.   

Anyway, I thought this would be a good activity for my 5th grade students.  I wanted to see how much they already knew about the seven continents and four oceans, so I divided them into groups  today and we ripped the world.  Before I explained the activity, I made sure all my maps and globes were covered!  I didn't even say the names of the continents and oceans (I wanted to give them as little information as possible in order to see what they really knew).  I told them that they had to label the continents/oceans after they ripped the pieces.  They were kind of freaking out when I told them that they could NOT use scissors.  I gave them 15 minutes to work and I circulated.
While I observed them working, I noted who seemed hesitant to participate, who tried to control everything, and who worked well with others.  This information will definitely help me as I prepare for tomorrow's group activity!
It was interesting to hear the discussions as the students worked in their groups. 
"Oh, wait!  We've got to label Canada!"
"But Canada is part of North America."
"Oh yeah!

Here are the final products:  (I didn't grade these or make any marks on them, but we talked about the correct placement/labels when we finished.)
Finally, I shared my "Rip the World" picture with the students, which they enjoyed.  

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