Baltimore Curriculum Project Draft Lessons

Introductory Notes

These lessons generally follow the grade-by-grade topics in the Core Knowledge Sequence, but they have been developed independent of the Core Knowledge Foundation. While the Core Knowledge Foundation encourages the development and sharing of lessons based on the Core Knowledge Sequence, it does not endorse any one set of lesson plans as the best or only way that the knowledge in the Sequence should be taught.

You may feel free to download and distribute these lessons, but please note that they are currently in DRAFT form. At this time the draft lessons on this web site do NOT have accompanying graphics, such as maps or cut-out patterns. Graphics will be added to this site later.

In participating BCP schools, these lessons are used in conjunction with the Direct Instruction skills programs in reading, language, and math. If you use or adapt these lessons, keep in mind that they are meant to address content and the application of skills. You will need to use other materials to ensure that children master skills in reading, language, and math.

Second Grade - Geography - Overview

The study of geography in Second Grade includes initially a review of information covered in First Grade; next, an in-depth study of the United States; an overview of the Americas; then, starting in March, a close connection to World Civilization and studies of Russia, India, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Ancient Greece.

Lessons have been written to be simple and easily understood by young children; however, they contain quite a bit of information. It is hoped that by involving the students in activities included with the lessons the material will be more readily learned.

Near the beginning of a lesson you may see a section called Background Information. Pertinent information is provided here that should be helpful to you. You may be reminded that the information contained in the lesson is review. Always consider your students; this information may be review, or for a variety of reasons, it may not. If necessary, use additional time to be sure that your students are firm in the areas required. To do this you may use some of the time allotted for literature because many stories provided for read aloud enhance the concepts covered in geography. Also, use any brief periods of time that you may have during the day to review the basic facts the children need to know.

Included here is a list of teacher resources you may find useful, as well as a list of books appropriate for read aloud. Use whatever resources are available to you and when possible, enhance the lessons with appropriate audio and video tapes, pictures, field trips and guest speakers.

Teacher Resources

Buckley, Susan, and Elspeth Leacock. Hands-On Geography. New York: Scholastic, 1993.

Reproducibles and activities for early geography skills.

Evans, Joy, and Jo Ellen Moore. Beginning Map Skills. Monterey: Evan-Moor, 1996.

Evans, Joy and Jo Ellen Moore. Beginning Maps and Globes. Monterey: Evan-Moor, 1995.

Blackline reproducibles for use in the classroom.

Knowlton, Jack. Geography From A to Z - A Picture Glossary. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1988.

Great introduction to geographic terms.

Knowlton, Jack. Maps and Globes. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1985.

History of mapmaking, good how-to book.

McCarthy, Tara. Literature-Based Geography Activities. New York: Scholastic, 1992.

Activities that connect literature to geography activities, many easily adaptable to other books.


Second Grade - Geography - Lesson 1


Review maps and globes.

Review north, south, east, and west.

Use cardinal directions to complete a worksheet.

Play a game using cardinal directions (optional).


Globe, classroom map

Transparency grid with symbols for directions from worksheet

Transparency grid with letters for directions from worksheet

Plain grid transparency

Blue, red, green, orange, yellow overhead markers

Blue, red, green, orange, yellow crayons


The information contained in this first lesson is a review of material covered in Kindergarten and First Grade. Be certain that your students understand the definition of map and that they do not confuse up and down for the directions north and south.


Display a globe and ask your students to tell about it (a globe is a model of the Earth, it shows land and water, it is round, it spins around, etc.). Accept all reasonable responses. If no answer addresses it, ask the students to tell what the globe is used for (locating places, etc.).

Display a map and ask your students to tell about it (a map helps us find things, it is flat, you can fold it or roll it up, it shows land and water, etc.). Once again accept all reasonable responses.

Ask: How are the globe and the map alike? How are they different? You could display this for the students by using a Venn diagram with all similar information shared between the map and the globe and the only differences being their physical make up (see diagram).

Make sure that the students recognize that a map or globe gives the view from above. You can demonstrate this by showing several objects first from a side view and then from above. This should help students to see that a map allows us to look down.

While the map is still on display take the globe and hold it up. Point to the North Pole and BCP DRAFT GEOG 3

Second Grade - Geography - Lesson 1

tell the students that this is the northernmost point on the Earth. Explain that when we travel north on Earth we are traveling toward or in the direction of the North Pole. Demonstrate by moving your hand from the equator and points south toward the North Pole. Then demonstrate the same thing on the map so that the students can see north as the endpoint of movement in this direction.

Use the globe and the map for a similar demonstration for the direction south. Be sure that you show the movement toward the South Pole from several different locations.

Continue this activity for the directions east and west. Be careful not to limit the place of movement to the equator. Help students to recognize that we can move east or west from any location on the Earth except the very tips of the North and South Poles.

If you display the cardinal directions on the walls of your classroom be sure that your students know that those directions continue well beyond the building. Give the names of the streets or landmarks that would be reached if someone were to continue moving in that direction.

Put the plain grid on the overhead. Mark the directions N, S, E, W in the appropriate margins reminding the students that on a map the direction north is at the top. Choose a starting point, and with a line that joins from point to point, demonstrate a movement that is 1 east, 1 south, 1 west, 1 north. Do several moves in different directions from different starting points. Erase after each set of moves so that it is not confusing to the students.

Next, remove that grid and replace it with the grid that contains symbols. Explain to the students that they will receive a copy of this same grid and that you will be giving them a series of directions that will land them on one of the symbols each time. Point out that the letter N for north is already on the worksheet and have them fill in E, S and W in the appropriate places. Be sure that they find the word start before you begin.

Read the directions slowly and clearly. Complete the blue line along with the students, pausing with each step to be sure that they are able to keep up. Fill in the red line out of view of the students and then show the completed line to them. Do the same for the green and orange lines and the yellow circle.

Close the lesson by having the students tell what is meant by moving in each direction. (north is toward the North Pole, south is toward the South Pole, east is to your right when you are facing north, west is to your left when you are facing north).

If there is time you may want to play a game with the children using the grid with the letters on it. It is played the same way that "boxing" is played except that you must announce the direction in which you are making a move.

Divide the class into two teams and decide on a symbol to represent each. Stars, trees and flowers all work well. Project the grid onto the chalkboard. Decide which team will begin first. The first person on that team selects a letter as a starting point and announces the direction in which he intends to move (e.g. I will start with letter J and move south to F). A move is defined by a line from one letter to another using the cardinal directions-no diagonals. The first person on the other team then comes up and he/she may decide to continue from letter F or letter J or anywhere else on the board. The team that closes a square takes possession of the square and marks it with their symbol. The team that owns more squares at the end of the game is the winner.


Second Grade - Geography - Lesson 2


Review continent, country, state, and community.

Locate North America, United States of America, Maryland, and Baltimore on a map.

Complete a worksheet identifying various political and geographical divisions with color.


Classroom size map of the world

Classroom size map of Maryland

Triangle worksheet, crayons


In this lesson you will review facts covered in Kindergarten and First Grade. Help the students to understand that as one progresses from community to state to country to continent one becomes part of a larger and more diverse group of people who live within a larger area.

To make this a little more clear a comparison is made using the progression from a class to the entire grade to the school to the school system.


Draw a large triangle on the board and divide it into five parts (see diagram). Ask: What is the name of our community? Students may answer Highlandtown, Westport, etc. However, if they have difficulty you may use Baltimore and identify it as our city. Write the name at the top of the triangle.

Next, ask the students to tell you the name of the state in which we live. Write it next on the triangle and then do the same for country, continent and planet continuing down the triangle. Review these with the students by asking them to name the state they live in, country they live in, etc.

Display the map of the world. Tell the students that now you are going to locate places on the map starting with the largest and moving down to the smallest. Draw the triangle inverted this time dividing it into five parts again (see diagram). Ask the students to tell the name of the planet on which they live. Write it at the top of the inverted triangle. Remind the students that the world map is the same as the surface of the globe lifted off and flattened. Point out that on this map of the world there are seven continents and that the continent on which we live is North America. Point out North America and add it to the inverted triangle. Next, do the United States of America and then do the same for the state.


Second Grade - Geography - Lesson 2

When you get to the state on the world map explain to the students that it is very difficult to see the smaller divisions on a world map and so we use other maps to see these places. Display the state map. Tell the students that this map will enable them to see the state, city and community better. Be sure they understand that the map you are displaying now represents the state on the world map. Use this map to do the city or community.

Once again review the information that you covered in this lesson. Have students come to the maps and point out the various locations as you ask questions. Ask: What is the continent on which we live? Who can find it? Do this for all the divisions.

As a culminating activity give each child a copy of the triangle worksheet. Tell them to color the worksheet in this fashion: Color the part that names our planet blue. Color the part that names our continent green. Color the part that names our country red. Color the part that names our state orange. Color the part that names our city/community yellow. You may wish to write these directions on the board so that the students may refer to them.


Second Grade - Geography - Lesson 3


Locate the equator, Northern Hemisphere, Southern Hemisphere, North and South Poles.

Name and locate the seven continents.

Name and locate the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

Complete the world map identifying material covered in the other objectives.



Classroom size world map

Student world maps, crayons or colored pencils


This lesson will again be a review lesson. Your students should be familiar with all of these concepts; however if they are not, be sure that this information is firm before going on.


Display the globe and briefly review the facts the students already know. The globe represents the Earth. The globe shows the North Pole and the South Pole and when we travel north or south we are moving in those directions.

Point out the equator and show that it extends all the way around the earth. Remind the students that it is an imaginary line that divides the Earth into the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere. Point out these two areas and ask the students to tell in which hemisphere they would find North America.

Ask the students what else they notice about the globe. Do they see the large amount of water that covers the Earth? Point out that our Earth has one great ocean that is divided into parts that we identify as the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. Identify each of these oceans and their relative locations.

Write the sentence An anteater named Seymour ate every ant on the board. Tell the students that the first letters of the words in this sentence are also the first letters of the continents. Not only are they the first letters of the continents but a way to remember the continents in order according to size. Under each word in the sentence write the name of a continent in this order: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, Australia. If the students can give this information by all means accept it from them. Tell the children that this sentence may help them remember all the continents. If your students do not know what an anteater looks like, please describe one for them.

First use the globe to point out each of the continents. Be sure to point out that Europe and Asia share one land mass. Show that the Ural Mountains form a natural division. The globe allows the students to get a good look at Antarctica that they usually cannot get from a world map. As you point out the continents ask pertinent questions about which hemisphere a continent is located in, whether the continent is near the equator, is it north, south, east or west of North America, which ocean it is near, etc. If your students can answer these questions easily, and you have an inflatable globe, it can be fun to ask a location question and then toss the globe to a child to point out the answer.


Second Grade - Geography - Lesson 3

Next, go to the world map and again point out the continents. Stress how different Antarctica looks on the world map in comparison to the globe. Remind the children that the globe gives the truest picture of the world. Ask questions about location using the map and then have the children try to identify some of the continents by following your clues. Initially give very broad clues. Tell: This continent is east of North America (could be Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia). It is in the Northern Hemisphere (could be Europe, Asia). Continue locating continents using general information like this. Remind students that another set of clues could be given using the relative location of the oceans.

Have the students give clues about the locations of both the continents and the oceans. You may wish to have them do this activity as a game with the class divided into teams. As a culminating activity have the students complete the world map with you by filling in the names of the continents, oceans, poles, and equator. Have them lightly color the oceans blue and the continents green.


Second Grade - Geography - Lesson 4


Locate Canada, United States, Mexico, Central America.

Use a key or legend.

Complete a map of North and Central America using a key or legend.


Classroom size world map

Classroom size map of North America

Student maps of North America, crayons or colored pencils

Transparency of map with work completed (optional)


This lesson also contains information that was covered in First Grade. Be sure this information is firm in their minds before continuing.


Display the world map. Briefly review the continents, the oceans, Northern and Southern Hemispheres, the equator and the North and South Poles.

Tell the students that today you will be focusing on the continent that is in the Northern Hemisphere and is located between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. They should be able to tell you the continent is North America.

If you have a map of North America, display it since it will give the students a much clearer picture of the areas you will discuss.

Tell the students that while North America is the name of the continent on which we live, and while the United States of America is located here, there are actually several other countries that are located here as well.

Point to the northernmost part of the continent and identify this area as Canada. Next, point to the United States and ask the students to identify it. Tell the students that Canada is our neighbor and that the people who live there, called Canadians, are our neighbors to the north.

Now point to the southernmost part of the continent and identify this area as Central America. Identify the many countries that make up Central America (Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama). There are also many island countries that are located in the Caribbean that are part of Central America, too. Remind the students that as you get closer to the equator, the climate becomes warmer. Ask them what they can tell you about the climate of the countries in Central America, given that information.

Tell the students that while the countries in Central America are very close in location to the United States, there is another country that is our closer southern neighbor. Point out Mexico and tell the students that the people who live in Mexico, called Mexicans, are Americans' southern neighbors.

Review the information you have covered today. Ask students to come up to the map and locate Central America, Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Talk about the differences in climate that exist between Canada, the United States, and Central America. Tell the students that you will be reading some stories that take place in each of these countries during literature time. BCP DRAFT GEOG 9

Second Grade - Geography - Lesson 4

You will find suggested books listed in the overview for this section.

As a final activity the students will color a map of North America. Hand out the maps to the students and ask them to take a minute to look them over. Ask the students what is different about these maps than the others they have completed. Hopefully the students will recognize that this map has a key or legend. If the students do not, make sure to draw their attention to it and explain the purpose for it.

Have the students take out red, orange, green, blue and purple crayons and tell them to follow the directions you give:

Color the box marked Canada with the purple crayon.

Color the box marked United States with the green crayon.

Color the box marked Mexico with the orange crayon.

Color the box marked Central America with the red crayon.

Color the box marked water with the blue crayon.


Tell the students that they will now color in the map according to this key.

You may wish to show a completed map on an overhead transparency.


















United States of America

North America