Fourth Grade Social StudiesDear Fourth Grade Families;
Welcome to the Ann Arbor Public Schools Family Pages. We hope the information you find here assists you in supporting your child while s/he is learning important skills and concepts throughout the fourth grade year.Three key sources inform the elementary Social Studies program; (1) The Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations, (2) the C3 Framework for College, Career and Civic Life for Social Studies State Standards, and (3) Social Studies Alive!. The Michigan GLCEs define what the state expects students to know and be able to do in Social Studies at the end of each grade level. Social Studies Alive! is the core learning resource used throughout the Ann Arbor Public Schools elementary grades. To take a deeper look at each unit go to: Atlas: Fourth Grade Social Studies
Fourth Grade Social Studies Focus: Regions of Our Country
Discovering Social Sciences
Students learn why the study of the social sciences is important to understanding human behavior. In a Response Group activity, they discuss artifacts from the perspective of each of these social science traditions: economics, geography, political science, and history.
Exploring Regions of the United States
Students apply basic map skills to learn about the regions of the United States. In a Social Studies Skill Builder, they interpret a series of special purpose maps depicting five regions of the United States and attempt to identify the locations where five images of the United States were taken.
The Peopling of the United States
Students learn how five ethnic groups --American Indians, Latinos, European Americans, African Americans, and Asian Americans-- came to this country and contributed to its growth and development. In a Social Studies Skill Builder, they work in pairs to read about one of the groups and draw images and symbols to represent that group’s experience.
A Train Tour of the Northeast
Students take a “train tour” to learn about the Northeast region of the United States. In a Writing for Understanding activity, groups of students sit on a “train” and listen to a tour guide while they view images of places in the Northeast. Through interactive experiences, they learn key aspects and facts about the Northeast. Then they write a letter describing what they have seen on their tour.
Population Density and Life in the Northeast
Students learn how population density in the Northeast affects the lives of the people who live there. In an Experiential Exercise, students use their bodies and desks to simulate the population density of the Northeast and several comparative locales. They respond to a series of questions about how population density might affect people’s lives. Then, they read and record notes about how life in the Northeast megalopolis differs from life in a small town.
A Boat and Bus Tour of the Southeast
Students tour the Southeast region of the United States by boat and bus. In a Writing for Understanding activity, students listen to a tour guide and view images depicting life in the Southeast. The tour stops at three sites ,where students engage in interactive experiences and learn key concepts and facts about the region. Then, they write a letter about their excursions in the Southeast.
The Effects of Geography on Life in the Southeast
Students learn how geography affects life in the Southeast region. In a Social Studies Skills Builder, students look at maps and answer questions about climate, elevation, natural resources, and bodies of water. Then, they hypothesize and read about the effects of geography on life in the Southeast.
A Crop Duster Tour of the Midwest
Students tour the Midwest region of the United States. In a Writing for Understanding activity, they listen to a tour guide and view images of the Midwest. Through interactive experiences, students learn key concepts and facts about the region. Then, they use their notes to write a letter about their excursions in the Midwest.
Agricultural Changes in the Midwest
Students learn how agriculture in the Midwest changed from 1800 to today. In a Visual Discovery activity, they analyze images of farm life in 1800, 1900, and today. Then they create act-it-outs to demonstrate their understanding of farm life during these periods.
A Big Rig Tour of the Southwest
Students take a “big rig tour” of the Southwest region of the United States. In a Writing for Understanding activity, they sit in “big rigs” in groups of three, listen to a tour guide, and view nine images depicting life in the Southwest. The trucks stop at three sites, where students learn more through interactive experiences.
A Case Study in Water Use: The Colorado River
Students explore the history of how people have used and shared the water of the Colorado River. In an Experiential Exercise, they act out the roles of people living near the Colorado River in four different time periods to understand how its water has been used and shared, and how it might be used in the future.
A Van and Airplane Tour of the West
Students take a “van and airplane tour” of the West region of the United States. In a Writing for Understanding activity, they listen to a tour guide and view nine images of places in the West. The tour stops at three sites, where students learn more through interactive experiences that teach key concepts of the chapter. Then, they use their notes to write a letter about their excursions in the West.
Cities of the West
Students learn about seven cities in the West. In a Problem Solving Groupwork activity, they research, plan, and perform television commercials about cities in the West.
Researching Your State’s Geography
Students research the geography of their state using maps, atlases, library books, and the Internet. In a Social Studies Skills Builder, pairs of students design a board game that includes the geographic features they identified. Afterward, they take turns playing each other’s board games to test their geographic knowledge of the state.
Researching Your State’s History
Students learn how to investigate their state’s history. In a Writing for Understanding activity, they research a building, create a model of the building, write a script that tells about one era in the state’s history from the perspective of the building, and bring the building to life to tell the story of their state’s history.
Researching Your State’s Economy
Students learn the fundamentals of their state’s economy. In a Problem Solving Groupwork activity, they work in groups to research one of eight economic activities and then create a museum exhibit about that activity. Each figure in the exhibit “comes to life” to talk about the essential aspects of the state’s economy.
Researching your State’s Government
Students learn about their state’s government. In a Writing for Understanding activity, they play a game to learn the sequence of a state’s legislative process. After researching their state’s government, they write a letter to a state leader asking that he or she help solve a problem by working to get a new law passed.