How To Adapt Let’s Go Geography to Multiple Grades
The Let’s Go Geography Curriculum can adapt to a variety of grade levels with just a few adjustments.
First let’s start with the grade levels it was originally created for. As is, this curriculum can be used for grades K-2 without any major adjustments.
The few tweaks to these grade levels are the things you may NOT want to do. Like the Notebooking (writing), or the extra reading, or additional maps.
The Geography Curriculum for Grades K-2
But let’s get specific so you get the full picture.
Here’s what a weekly lesson for Grades K-2 might look like:
You will need approximately 1 hour a week with early elementary geography students. And this is what that hour holds:
- First, find the country on a map and color it. You may find & color other things on the same map, too, depending on the lesson.
- Then look at the flag, and color yours to match. These can be glued on the corresponding Flag page or in a supplemental Geography Passport. The Passport is an optional resource that is really appealing for the younger ages.
- Then take 10-15 minutes to explore, watching the video clips & maybe using the optional library books or recommended atlas. You will be talking about everything you see. The curriculum does not discuss politics, wars, or any topic that would be upsetting to a child. You will want to focus on how people live, animals in the country, the country’s biggest attractions (both in nature and man-made), and that sort of thing.
- Save the best for last!! Lastly, comes a geography craft project based on something unique about that country. Too stressed for time? Just offer the themed coloring page. Some kids want to do both. Always write the name of the country on your projects to reinforce the big idea of the day.
That’s really all it is.
And little by little, week by week, kids become more and more confident about their knowledge of the world. It really is that easy.
The Geography Curriculum for Older Students
But what about the same geography curriculum for older students?
The curriculum has been used very successfully for grades 3-5 in homeschool settings with just a few minor tweaks.
Before I get to specifics, here is a link to a homeschooler using Let’s Go Geography for one child in 5th grade. Her comments are helpful!
And here’s more comments from a mom using Let’s Go with her 6th grader!
Specific Activities for Older Grades
First of all, coloring the flags is fine, but older kids may want to use colored pencils, not crayons, and glue them on the “Flags of [Continent]” page included in the curriculum, rather than the supplemental Passport.
Secondly, older students will find the country on the continent map, just like the smaller kids, but they won’t stop there. Older kids will also need a map of the theme country. They will use this map to find key places, and then keep the map on hand for the learning part of the class.
As they learn about the country, they will locate all points of interest as these things are discussed.
For instance, if you mention the Serengeti National Park in your discussion of Tanzania, they should pinpoint its location on their Tanzania map, shading and labeling it.
For the hands-on project, most older students won’t want to color or do many of the cut-and-color geography projects that the young ones love so much. Those need to be traded for activities that match their age level.
Instead of coloring or crafting, older students should complete a writing assignment and/or a Geography Journal assignment. The complementary Discovery Pack 1 and Discovery Pack 2 have decorated Notebooking Pages and Geography Terms to coordinate with each lesson. Discovery Packs make it all fun and easy!
Assign Writing for Older Students
Older students will do additional research each week, culminating in a writing assignment.
Additionally, older kids will look at some of the topics that the little ones skip, like government, politics, wars, civil unrest, and the like.
There are several ways to do this research.
One option is to require students to purchase DK’s Geography of the World or another similar atlas and use it as their resource.
A second option is to use the website link in the curriculum or other approved websites to investigate further. And the suggested library books are another choice.
If you use the curriculum in a classroom, you should allow about 15-20 minutes per class period to review the theme country together in the required book or other resource, with the kids writing down highlights in their own words.
They will use the notes, written on plain notebook paper during the class discussion, in their homework assignment. The homework is to edit their notes, write their thoughts on a Notebooking Page, and hand it in the following week. The Notebooking page can be the one found in the curriculum, or the 2 decorated pages from Discovery Pack 1 or Discovery Pack 2.
Homeschoolers can adapt these activities to their own needs.
Remember, older students will also be identifying places on their country map during this entire process. In a classroom, the maps can be included in the homework assignment, with results shared in a class discussion the following week.
Add A Geography Glossary for Older Grades
A second activity for older students is the Geography Glossary.
Creating a Glossary involves introducing a new geography term weekly and having students complete a Glossary page for the new word as a class activity.
The new Glossary term should be one that relates to the theme country. For instance, define “glacier” for Alaska, “fjord” for Norway, “archipelago” for Denmark, or “geyser” for Iceland.
To make a Geography Glossary, each page should give kids room to write a definition of the word, as well as draw a picture or glue a picture that they print from elsewhere. They can also list specific places on the globe where this particular thing is located.
For instance, if your definition was for the Northern Lights, the student would list several places in the world where the Northern Lights can be viewed.
If you don’t have a Discovery Pack, Let’s Go Geography offers resources and instructions for a Do-It-Yourself Glossary for Free on this page .
While including 5th graders with younger siblings has been successful in a homeschool setting, the coloring and crafts are not age-appropriate for an entire classroom of 5th graders.
Suggested Schedule: Grade 3-5
If you plan to use this geography curriculum in a co-op or other small classroom, here is a suggested schedule:
Suggested Schedule for 55-minute class, Grades 3-5*
5 minutes — Continent Map Activities (PLUS Country Map Activities)
5 minutes — Flag Activities (cut, color, glue)
15 minutes — Lesson (video/books)
30 minutes — Craft &/or Writing Activity &/or Geography Glossary (described above)