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!
"Oh, wait! We've got to label Canada!"
"But Canada is part of North America."
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.