Several Fridays ago, we began our unit of China in earnest by making “Big Maps”. Big Maps is a technique developed by Primary Source and I have always found it to be an engaging and educational experience for the students. Students worked in six groups, all on separate maps. One group was an expert on precipitation, one on climate, one on population, one on terrain, one on agriculture, and the other on Asia. After studying maps for several weeks, the students knew what were the important attributes of maps and integrated them into their own maps. The neat thing about this lesson is that students then start looking at the other maps and come up with statements like “Rice needs a lot of precipitation and hot, humid weather to grow…” The region in Northwest China is really dry because the Gobi Desert is there.” These maps serve as great teaching tools throughout our China unit. Thanks to the parent volunteers who helped each group out. This week, we will begin our Chinese poetry unit that has been a wonderful experience for our fourth grade students for the past four years!