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What’s Along the Coast?

How does geography influence people and places? Discover how natural features such as coastlines shape architecture, jobs, and communities.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Do you think that geography influences culture? Being near a dominant feature such as water certainly does! In Greece, for example, you are at most only 85 miles (137 km) from the shore. Greece has more coastline than the entire mainland of the United States even though it is only as big as Florida. Greece has 9,333 miles (15,020 km) of coastline (including islands).
    2. Learn more about Greece, such as the number of islands (437) and the percentage that are inhabited (50). Or choose another place along a coast to study. Find out whether there are sandy beaches, rocky cliffs, or other landforms near the water’s edge. What kinds of homes are built there? What jobs do people do? What size is the population?
    3. Cover your art area with newspaper. Use Crayola® Watercolors to paint a cardboard base for the water. Air-dry the base.
    4. Most of Greece (4/5ths) is covered with mountains. To build an armature for your sculpture, ball up newspaper and tape it to your base. Roll out realistic colors of Crayola Model Magic to cover the newspaper mountains. Add colored bits to create a craggy look. Model Magic that is fresh from the pack sticks to itself.
    5. Shape human-made elements found on the landscape, such as villages, fishing piers, or boat docks. In Greece, the white stucco architecture of coastal towns is in striking contrast with the rugged cliffs. Air-dry your sculpture.
    6. Use Crayola School Glue to attach the sculpture to its base.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Conduct short research projects to answer a question, drawing on several sources and refocusing the inquiry when appropriate.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    MATH: Convert like measurement units within a given measurement system.

    SCI: Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features.

    SS: Explore and describe similarities and differences in the ways groups, societies, and cultures address similar human needs and concerns.

    SS: Give examples of the various institutions that make up economic systems such as families, workers, banks, labor unions, government agencies, small businesses, and large corporations.

    SS: Locate and distinguish among varying landforms and geographic features such as mountains, plateaus, islands, and oceans.

    SS: Describe and speculate about physical system changes, such as seasons, climate and weather, and the water cycle.

    VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.

    VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.

    VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Landforms by Greg Roza; The World's Most Amazing Islands (Landform Top Tens) by Anita Ganeri; Investigating Landforms: Earth and Space Science by Lynn VanGorp

    Have a variety of print resources on individual countries available in the classroom focused on individual countries that are obvious focal points for students to select from.

    Challenge students to learn more about Ancient Greek mapmakers. Why is the word for a book of maps the same an the name of an ancient Greek god?

    Students work in small groups to chart different geological events that have created coastlines. How do scientists predict that global warming will affect coastlines?

    Invite a community member with Greek ancestry to visit with the class and share his knowledge of the country, landscape, and culture. Prior to the meeting, students compose questions for the guest. Afterwards, students post learning to a class blog.

    Invite students to investigate the governments of their selected countries. What are the underlying principles that the government is based on? Who leads the country? How are laws made? Organize research into an electronic format for presentation to classmates.

    Students investigate the clothing typically worn in their selected country. How does the style clothing reflect the geography/landforms that they live near? When presenting their findings to classmates, students should plan on wearing a costume that reflects the country's clothing styles.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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