Sunday, April 28, 2013

Social Studies Sunday: Geography Suitcase

This week's Social Studies Sunday begins our Geography unit.  I always have the students create their "suitcase" so that as we travel across the United States they can pack their suitcase full of information and souvenirs from our trip!

I began this a few years ago when the fifth grade standards used to have us learning about the five regions but now we only need to learn about the state capitols and location on a map.  Instead of my usual notes and handouts from United States Geography Journey by Linda Schwartz, this year we will be using our State Snapshots.

I'm going to TRY to explain how to create your own suitcase but please forgive me if it is confusing...  One of my best friends/fellow teachers Amanda taught me how to create this and I can attest that hands on was much easier than trying to verbally teach in this instance.  So I'm apologizing now!

Steps to create your own suitcase

1. Get the large brown paper bags from your local grocer.  We have Publix here and they are BEYOND helpful!  I asked for 100 of these babies (since we are departmentalized), told them what it was for and they just handed them over with a smile :o)

2. You are going to cut along the edges of the bottom of the bag.  Look at the picture above.  You will only trim the very edge of the right side, top, and left side of the bag.  When cutting the right and left edges you only want to chop off the bottom of the bag along the four edges, not where it folds.  You will see what I'm talking about in the second picture below.  Leave the bottom edge untouched (the portion with no red line).  When you have finished cutting you should be able to open it like this.

Notice how the folded sides are not cut off.  When in doubt it should look like the picture below if you opened it.

3.  Open up your paper bag and lay it flat out.  Now there are multiple ways to use this suitcase.  You can leave it as is and place papers inside the two pockets or you can also fold it up and place it in a hole puncher and add pipe cleaners to make it into a binder.

6. TA DA!  The finished product!

You can use this brown paper bag folder for ANY unit and the kids love making them and decorating it to be their own.  If you have any questions about assembly or confusion please feel free to leave a comment and I will try to clarify the best I can!  Come back next Sunday to see more of the goodies we put inside our suitcase and some amazing online resources to help you teach Geography!


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