BRING THE ADIRONDACKS INTO YOUR CLASSROOM


ADIRONDACK CHALLENGES

An Adirondack Journal of Discovery
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Grade: 7th Grade
Class: Social Studies
Author: Cindy Ryan
NYS Content Area Standard:
Social Studies:
History of the United States and New York
Geography
NYS Interdisciplinary Standard:
Adirondack Curriculum Content Area:
Human HistoryNatural History
Performance Indicators:

Social Studies Standard 1:   History of the United States and New York Students will demonstrate skills  by researching a probable experience and writing about it from that person’s point of view

Standard 3: Geography - Investigate how people depend upon and modify the physical environment. - Describe the relationships between people and environments and the connections between people and places.

Keywords: exploring the Adirondacks, influence of environment
The Challenge:
Investigative Question or Issue: What were some of the experiences of the first European people to explore the Adirondacks?
Context:

This challenge is designed to encourage students to empathize with the early white explorers who first investigated remote areas in North America like the Adirondacks. The journals of Lewis and Clark are here used to both inspire curiousity and act as a model illustrating the kinds of observations explorers made as they ventured into new territory.

To prepare students for this challenge, we suggest the following activities:

1) Share selected excerpts from the journals of Lewis and Clark with the students. Make sure the excerpts include detailed descriptions of the geography, weather, plant and animal species, and peoples that they encountered on their journey. Help students to recognize the characteristics of this kind of journal writing - particularly the concern for factual accuracy and the focus on specific details sometimes accompanied by illustrations. The teacher will have to decide how much to emphasize the elements of literary style as a determinant of journal quality. Ask students to help you write up a set of Criteria for a Quality Explorer's Journal. Post these criteria for future reference.

2) Arrange students in small "explorer teams" of 2 or 3 and show them a film or DVD that provides an overview of the natural characteristics and native history of the Adirondacks. If it is possible, take a real field trip into the Adirondacks. Ask students to look at the video (or the real environment) as if they were early white explorers first seeing this territory. What do they notice? What arouses their curiousity and inspires them to want to look closer to learn more?

3) Help students to organize their observations by brainstorming a list of their responses as a class. Filter this list with them. How might this list be arranged into categories that will facilitate further research and study? Some useful categories might be climate/seasons, plant life, animal life, native peoples, geography, unique characterisitics, etc.

Give students the challenge that follows and assist them as they do further research into the categories above to flesh out the details for their own journal of discovery.

Student Handout

 Produced at the 2008 Adirondack Geography Institute

The Challenge:

In explorer teams of 2 or 3 arranged with the help of your teacher, create A Journal of Discovery that reflects your detailed observations as an early European explorer of the Adirondack region in North America.

As you create your journal, please make sure to consider the following:

1) Your journal should meet all the Criteria for a Quality Explorer's Journal as posted in class.

2) Your journal should have an illustrated title page that includes the names of the authors, fictitious date of publication, and other creative touches that will lend an air of authenticity to the document

3) The journal should provide the reader with detailed  and accurate information regarding ____ (insert number) of the categories we've researched regarding the Adirondacks.

4) The journal should include illustrations that are interesting, accurate, and will help the reader visualize and better understand the observations of the authors. All authors should be prepared to interpret their journal for the class and answer any questions about its contents.

Quality Standards:

Journal

  • Jounal meets all the Criteria for a Quality Explorer's Journal as posted in class
  • Journal has an illustrated title page that includes the names of the authors, fictitious date of publication, and creative touches that make the journal appear authentic
  • Journal contains detailed and accurate information about ____ of the categories researchd about the Adirondacks
  • Journal includes illustrations that are interesting, accurate, and help the reader visualize and better understand the observations of the author
  • All journal authors are able to answer questions about the contents of the journal
Product Quality Checklist
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Standard/Criteria: Points Possible: Points Awarded:

Jounal meets all the Criteria for a Quality Explorer's Journal as posted in class

20

Journal has an illustrated title page that includes the names of the authors, fictitious date of publication, and creative touches that make the journal appear authentic

10

Journal contains detailed and accurate information about ____ of the categories researchd about the Adirondacks

40

Journal includes illustrations that are interesting, accurate, and help the reader visualize and better understand the observations of the author

20

All journal authors are able to answer questions about the contents of the journa

10

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