The 7 Continents and 5 Oceans
The other day, fueled by the energy of my mentor teacher and the excitement of a new unit, I observed a beautifully orchestrated interdisciplinary lesson. The learning target: to teach the students, to mastery, the seven continents and the five oceans as they are located on a map. This learning target was written on the board and the lecture began unfolding as maps, globes, pictures, labels, colors, and facts came to life before the student’s eyes. The integration of curriculum was flawless. The students became an active part of the lesson by participating both mentally and physically in the gathering and presenting of information.
The lesson started by first looking at a globe. The students used their knowledge to share what they know about a globe versus a map. Next the class examined aspects of the world map by observing a teacher created map. Before their eyes the teacher presented a lecture/drawing of the world. The lecture started first by drawing a sphere and markers representing the equator, and latitudinal and longitudinal degrees. Then she began to illustrate the continents starting with North America. She drew the shape of the continent and explained facts about it while providing details and additional pictures to support geographically significant areas i.e. Florida’s unique shape or The Great Lakes. The lecture continued for each of the other six continents, providing support for each continent with significant geographical areas of importance. After each continent was represented on the map, the five oceans were then introduced. Historical significance was developed about the origins of their names, i.e. Atlantic Ocean was named after Atlas Atlantic meaning “the sea of Atlas”, or that the Southern Ocean was only just discovered in 2000 by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO). Each fact or supporting detail that she offered was documented and or labeled on the map.
Pictures of supporting evidence developed throughout the lecture and labels of the seven continent and the five oceans were then passed out to all the students. The teacher then went through the lecture again by asking students questions. This prompted kinesthetic connections by providing an opportunity for students to place labels or pictures on their World Map. After this the teacher took students through a sketching exercise helping to additionally solidify information through mind mapping and art. The teacher taught the students “quick draw” a map with seven circles and showed how they could be used to label the seven continent and five oceans properly. The students then had the opportunity to sketch their own world map in 10 minutes and provide proper labeling. The sketches were collected and assessed to see if additional instruction was needed and ascertain if the learning targets were met.
The lesson described above is a social studies lesson that beautifully incorporates history, art, literature, science, geography, and math. It is an example of a successfully planned interdisciplinary lesson using integrated curriculum. Each of the different levels of knowledge that were addressed in the reading this week; facts, topics, concepts, enduring understanding and principles and theories, were represented and practiced throughout the lesson. The ideas of KNOW/DO/BE were woven into the fabric of the lecture, practiced, repeated and observed while the students actively participated.