The students would have activities using maps to understand representative space. Starting with something as relative to them as mapping their bedroom or our classroom or even the playground to introduce them to an aerial view of the place they are in would give them a guide to the way a map works. Using maps of our city, state and other areas and helping them locate rivers, lakes, parks, roads, and other landmarks would introduce them to an even greater view. Experiencing the aerial view is new to some who may have never been in an airplane or even in a high building looking down.
Incorporating non-fiction reading and writing would help their skills, learning about types of homes, local manufacturers, development of neighborhoods, civic monuments, artistic activity, and oral histories. The students would learn about the neighborhood having a history, inviting local historians to speak and share stories from the area or park rangers, particularly from Edgewood Park, to give insight into the neighborhood landscape. With all of this, written reflections and stories would develop a deeper understanding of the material.
Certainly drawing their own maps and even creating three dimensional objects as a class project of creating our Westville neighborhood seem to be activities that would be purposeful and constructive. Learning through hands-on experiences is essential for young children and beyond that exciting to participate in.
This curriculum unit would require many walking field trips again for the sensorial experience that would give meaning to the abstractness of seat work. With this in mind, it is important to have parental or guardian permission and possibly chaperone and support during the excursion. With a class on first graders, supervision is necessary for academic support but certainly for safety issues as well.