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Where in the World is Moscow?

School: Palouse Prairie Charter School

City/State: Moscow, ID

Grade(s): 2, 3

Format(s): Book

Subject(s): English Language Arts, Science and Technology, Social Studies

Project Overview

Second and third-graders at Palouse Prairie Charter School in Moscow, Idaho engaged in a 14-week social studies expedition in which students thought and acted like geographers and cartographers. The guiding question that drove the learning was:

Where in the World is Moscow? 

Students learned how to use map features (compass rose, grid scale, key etc.) in order to locate cities, borders, waterways and landforms. They researched and examined maps, made maps and compared the geographical location and culture of Moscow, Idaho to other Moscows around the world. They conducted fieldwork by viewing and studying maps in the Map Room at the University of Idaho. 

Students used their new geography and cartography skills to write informational pieces which accompanied student created illustrations of maps.  Students also wrote narratives in the form of letters as if they actually visited the location. The letters included factual information of the region. They worked closely with a graphic designer and artist, Julene Ewert to create the atlas format and self-published the book.

How This Project Can Be Useful

  • A clever vehicle for learning about the diverse geography of the world – a project that could be duplicated in some schools (those in or near a town or city with a common town name)
  • Shows how young students can master new skills with outside experts
  • Allows students to demonstrate understanding through multiple formats –mapping, drawing, and storytelling

Common Core State Standards

Standard Long Term Learning Target
  • I can answer questions using specific details from informational text.
  • I can use information from the words to understand informational texts.
  • I can write an informative/explanatory text.
  • I can conduct a research project to become knowledgeable about a topic.

Additional Standards

  • CCRA.W.3.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
  • CCRA.W.3.8 Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism.
  • 3.SS.2.1.1 Describe the concepts of globe, continent, country, state, county, city/town, and neighborhood.
  • 3.SS.2.1.2 Find the United States, Idaho, the state capital Boise, and own community on a map.
  • 3.SS.2.1.3 Locate on a map waterways, landforms, cities, states, and national boundaries using standard map symbols.
  • 3.SS.2.1.4 Use a map title, map key, scale, cardinal directions, and symbols to interpret a map.
  • 3.SS.2.1.5 Use a number/letter grid to find specific locations on a map.
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