By Max Millard

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Date: 2-12-07
Grade Level: 6
School: Presidio Middle School
Teacher: Irene Collier

Ia. Learning objectives and outcomes

- Students will learn the names of countries, cities, mountains, rivers, and bodies of water on the Indian subcontinent.

- Students will draw a map of India.

- Students will be able to locate all the places and features on the map.

Ib. Language objectives

- Students will learn to pronounce and spell about 20 proper names.

III. Background/rationale

The study of ancient India is one of standards for 6th-grade social studies. Approximately half of the students in the school are of Asian ancestry, and many are from families who come from the Indian subcontinent. Learning the current geography of India, Pakistan and the surrounding region serves a useful educational purpose for understanding current world events, and makes their studies of the ancient world more relevant.

IV. Process

A. Into: Before the geography lesson, the class had several lessons about ancient India, including the Indus Valley civilization, the arrival of the Aryans, Sanskrit, and the class system.

B. Through: Using the overhead projector, the teacher draws a quick and messy map on a transparency, starting with a large V shape. Then, using a real map of India as a guide, the teacher draws geographical features and writes in their names. The students follow and teacher and make their own maps at the same time. For some features, the student learns two different names, which are shown between in parentheses.

These are the features:

Countries: Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, China.

Cities: Bombay (Mumbai), Calcutta, New Delhi, Agra, Calcutta

Rivers: Krishna, Narmada, Godavari, Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra

Bodies of water: Bay of Bengal, Arabian Sea

Other features: Himalayas, Mount Everest, Eastern Ghats, Western Ghats

Teaching method: I used mnemonics to help them remember. Some of these were made up spontaneously, using suggestions from the students. Examples: Ganges (sounds like Gandhi), Agra (Shah Jahan was aggravated because his wife died), Krishna (sounds like Christmas), Bhutan (it's in the mountains, so you need to wear boots there), Narmada (sounds like Narnia), Delhi (deli sandwiches), Nepal (one student shouted out "nipple," to which I responded that they can make up their own mnenonic for that one, but anything that helps them remember is OK).

C. Beyond

Afterward, the teachers used a hand-draw map with none of the names inserted so that the students could be quizzed on the names and redraw their maps from memory. The next day, the teacher gave a test, in which each student had to start from a blank sheet of paper. Most of them remembered all or most of the names.

VI. Materials

detailed map of the Indian subcontinent (from book)
blank transparencies
extra paper
overhead projector
dry markers (for writing down names and mnemonics)