Sunday, April 13, 2014

CSI- minus the color and the image

I decided to start building the kids schema for the regions using videos from the district Safari Montage site.  The videos were life savers at the time, I didn't expect much to come from them.  But in the spirit of making the learning more meaningful, I used the Symbol part of the Color, Symbol, Image routine as a reflection and synthesis piece. Our enduring understanding: Every system is make up of interdependent elements that make unique contributions to the system as a whole. 

Students were given a map of each region which they glued into their social studies notebook. As they watched the video, they labeled the states, major bodies of water, land forms etc. and took notes.  After watching the video, they talked in small groups about what they noticed.  What did the states in the region have in common?  Did they have similar economic, cultural, geographic issues?  What might be a symbol that could represent the entire region as a whole?
They could come up with their own symbol, or one as a group, but each drew a sketch in their own social studies notebook.

Once we got through all five regions, they picked their best symbol and transferred it to a 2x2 square, making it as lovely and artistic as possible.  We placed each of these symbols on a large map of the US inside the region it was designed for.

With the symbols placed, the kids did a See, Think, Wonder and came up with some synthesizing thoughts.

"Maybe mexican food is a symbol of in the southwest because it is close to Mexico."

"The northeast must depend a lot on seafood."

"Farm symbols come in the midwest.  I think this is where we get a lot of our meat."


  1. I like how you made this lesson your own. Even as simple as it is, students can think deeply making those connections to the world around them. Funny how most of their thinking was around food. Students not so different from me.

  2. Love this- your routine took what might have been an opportunity to "veg" in front of a video and made the learning active- I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall during their discussions!! And, it looks like their symbols were a real synthesis of their connections to the interdependence of their particular region's systems! nice!! And I love that they were focused on food- was it close to lunch time? :0

  3. I am enjoying the Regions thread, how you are each making it your own. The understanding of our interdependence will serve them well in this global economy.
    Plus, who doesn't love eating?!

  4. This variation of CSI is great for your purposes. It seems like it really required the students to synthesize the information from the videos. It was a great use if the thinking routines in that the students had to really dig through information about individual states and then find some kind of common thread to represent the entire region.

  5. Kaitlin, This made me want to watch the video and do this activity. I think we need to face that our children really do learn through technology. I think the symbol really made them think about what they learnined from each region.

  6. This was great! I bet the kids loved the video. And you definitely made this activity unique. It's so beneficial to teach students about the world around them since this may be their only exposure to regions of the US for some. I'm with connections are mostly food related as well.