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Lesson 3—Where and Why?

Overview: This set of activities allows students to further explore why production occurs where it occurs and why for goods or services of their choosing. At the same time, this activity will allow students to become more familiar with the use of social networking in a safe, controlled way. Students can learn new content and practice digital etiquette simultaneously.

Curriculum Subject and Topic: Social Studies—Big Idea of Production
Estimated Duration: 120 minutes
Grade Level: 6

Curriculum Goals: Ohio Academic Content Standards

Lesson Objectives: Students will

National Educational Technology Standards for Students:



Motivational/Prepatory Activities

Set Up:
Before beginning this lesson, you will need to set up several social networking sites for your class to work in. Please remember that you may very well be able to continue to reuse these sites throughout this and other classes, so be careful how name the site. You will want to note your passwords and make a decision about whether to make the sites public or private. While any one of these social networking tools will allow you to do some of the same features as the others, once you have these sites set up, you can use each one for what they do best in later assignments, so taking some time to explore each one could prove to be quite valuable.

Diigo (www.diigo.com): This site allows users to collate and annotate bookmarks. You will use the site with your class to teach them the importance of identifying and collecting supporting information for their where/why statements. You will need to set up a password for yourself, and each student will need to create their own passwords. Once you sign up, you can create a new Diigo group. You will be able to choose how public or private the group is. If it is public, you will need to moderate closely what is posted. If it is private, you will have to send email invites to each student and you preclude outside individul s from seeing what your students are doing and adding an outsiders viewpoint! See below for a link to a sample Diigo page.

Diigo page sample

Ning (www.ning.com): Another social networking tool you will use in this project is Ning. A Ning page allows you to create a moderated discussion or chat forum for your project. Here, you will have students share more detail as to where and why solutions for their products. Again, you will need to create your own log in, and students will need to do the same. Once you create your log in, you will have to opportunity to create a new Ning. You will want to do that, and then name it something similar to what you named your shared Diigo workspace. Also, again, you will need to decide on public or private (which means emailed invites or just sharing the steps to create a user name and password and a link to the site. Note the Web link for your group Ning to share with students. See the example below, complete with Web link.

Ning sample page

Flickr (www.flickr.com): Flickr, if you haven’t heard of it, is a photo/video sharing site. Once again, you will need to create a quick profile, or use your Yahoo! log in information. Once you are signed up, select the group dropdown menu from the top of the page and choose to create a new group. Name your group (similar to Diigo and Ning name), and then select public or private. After the group is created, you will want to review the ground rules and other options for your group to assist you in leading and moderating the postings. It is important to note the link and name of the Flickr group to share with the students. For a sample group, see below.

Flickr page sample

Activity 1: Building Background

  1. Call on students to describe supply, demand, producer, and consumer. If students struggle to define each, remind them of the definitions they created in the previous lesson. Discuss with students how supply and demand can affect what or how much of something is produced. Tell them they will be learning more in the lesson about where things are produced, and why.
  2. Have students watch the following video, either in their groups or projected on a whiteboard for the whole class. Tell them the video will provide them with a background in how available resources affect where things are produced.
While this video focuses heavily on energy, a major takeaway ties the concept of resource allocation and economic growth on a global level. This lecture offers an insight into how resource availability ties into the globalization of production.
  1. Once students have completed this activity, you will complete three short Gizmo activities with them to try and put perspective around this concept.

Information Presentation/Processing Information Activities

Activity 2: Math and Science Simulations

Gizmos: Building Pangea
In the Building Pangea Gizmo, students are asked to piece together the continents into one, larger supercontinent (i.e. Pangea). To assist the user in dragging the continents and rotating them into their appropriate places in the supercontinent, the Gizmo provides three separate hint features. These hint features, which include fossil records and minerals, provide visual cues to connect the continents into one. By completing the Building Pangea Gizmo activity, students will have the opportunity to see how the world was once one giant continent, and, with the hints to guide them, there are resources and histories shared across continents and unique to individual continents. As they complete this Gizmo activity, directing them to consider how the splitting of Pangea affects globalization of production. While the easy answer is that the continents are now separated, requiring some globalization, there are other effects, as well. Some resources were split across continents, meaning resources are available in more than one place. Some resources are specific to certain continent or region on that continent. The people on each continent have evolved differently based on the materials within their continent. All of these stress the fact there are localized and globalized production needs and resource, an important facet in the big idea of production.

Link to Gizmo: http://www.explorelearning.com/index.cfm?method=cResource.dspView&ResourceID=633

Gizmos: Mineral Identification
The Mineral Identification Gizmo focuses on using properties of substances to identify the names of 26 minerals. While mineral properties are an important science knowledge area, this is not the benefit for the production thematic unit. You should extend the activity from simple identification of minerals based on properties to include identification of where the resources are found in the world today. As you can guess, this again delves into the concepts of resource allocation and globalization of production. Knowing where different minerals are readily abundant helps in understanding why certain products or components of products are produced where they are produced.

The science benefit is quite clear for this Gizmo. Students are required to further understand the different features of minerals. While 26 different minerals may be beyond their understanding at first, the trial and error facet of online learning gives them a safe environment to explore and learn about minerals. Having a thorough knowledge of the key features of minerals, as well as how they occur in 26 minerals, lays a solid foundation for geology learning throughout students’ education going forward.

Link to Gizmo: http://www.explorelearning.com/index.cfm?method=cResource.dspView&ResourceID=640

Gizmos: Prairie Ecosystem
The Prairie Ecosystem Gizmo is quite different from the two previous science/math tools included in this lesson. Where the first two really focus on globalization of production, this Gizmo focuses more specifically on localized production and resource allocation. In this Gizmo, students will change variables in a prairie dog colony (or ecosystem) to find the best balance to help the prairie dogs survive and thrive. The game-like approach to the Gizmo will likely appeal to many students that otherwise would have little or no interest in learning about ecosystems. Having students track the variables and thoughtfully change them in small increments allows the teacher to focus on the steps of the scientific method and how that helps us understand the world around us.

This Gizmo demonstrates the need for sharing of resources and, often, bringing resources in from outside your local area to survive. In this Gizmo, the student plays an all-powerful role and can add or subtract from the environment around the prairie dogs. Not so in real life. If there is a need for additional food in a desert area, the people living there likely cannot just make more food grow. They will need to import grain or other food items into their local environment. In return, however, they may very well have a wonderful local resource in, say, date production. While they could eat more dates themselves, they needed higher calorie foods from elsewhere to supplement their diets. This group of people can cultivate dates and export them and import soy beans with the money from the dates, enhancing their lives.

Additionally, this Gizmo allows students to focus in on the fact that, within a localized environment itself, it is important to work together to ensure everyone has the resources needed to survive. Sometimes this means rethinking how resources are used (allocated) within the environment. If we have a river in our environment, we could drink the water, using it for generating power, or possibly irrigating crops. What is the best use of the water for all concerned? Then have students think about how availability of resources affects what is produced in their local community.

Link to Gizmo: http://www.explorelearning.com/index.cfm?method=cResource.dspView&ResourceID=647

Application Activities

Activity 3: Resource Allocation

  1. Remind students of the database and spreadsheet activity they completed in Lesson 1 concerning goods and services. Specifically, tell students they will be re-using that information in this assignment.
  2. Discuss with students reasons why production takes place in different areas of the world. Focus on the following ideas, but others are certainly valuable.
    • Availability of natural resources—For instance, hydroelectricity requires flowing water and dams
    • Amount/cost of human resources—Often, products are produced in countries with the cheapest, largest pool of potential resources. This also speaks to expertise.
    • Capital (funding)—Where there is money, there is investment in business.
    • Management talent—You have to have good management if you truly want to succeed.
    • Cultural significance—Sometimes, we produce a product in a specific place because it adds value to the production.
  3. Have students select two of their products (goods or services—up to them, but goods will be easier) from the database in Lesson 1. They should have already indicated in that activity where the production took place, but not why. That will be the key for this assignment.
  4. Work with students to invite them to each of the three social networking sites. Lead them through the Diigo site, Ning, and then Flickr. If they already have an account, all the better!
  5. For the Diigo site, allow students time to search the Internet and select one-to-three Web pages that support their where/why decision. Direct students to annotate the Web pages showing exactly where in the document their proof can be found.
  6. Once students have completed their Diigo assignments, have them complete their work on the Ning you created. Here, each student will need to add a post that discusses two products and where or why they have been produced. They should be referring to the sites and annotations from the Diigo site, but using the specific information they gathered in the Diigo activity.
  7. Finally, have students collect images and/or short videos that show how each product is produced or served. The photos/videos can be contemporary or showing how the production once happened in the past. Remind students of the importance of only posting free or creative commons items and including attributions. Depending on rights issues, students can share the photos/videos on the group Flickr account, bookmark the sites on Diigo, or include links in their Ning postings.
  8. Wrap up the activity by discussing all the different reasons students had for each good or service. Make a list of each of the valid reasons, and include student samples from the Ning, as possible.

Closure Activity

Activity 4: Understanding Resource Allocation—To close this lesson, choose one of the following activities (or have students choose one of the activities) to complete. Alternatively, these are short assignments, so you may choose to have students complete all three.

Integrating Art—This option allows students to demonstrate their artistic talent. For this activity, students will investigate different Internet-based resources allowing artists to market their hand-made or folk-art creations.

  1. Display the Glog for students.
  2. Direct students to the upper right-hand corner to focus on the art activity.
  3. Start by asking students what they know about folk art. If students struggle to correctly identify what folk art might include, discuss how different people around the world make products that use local ingredients or materials, focus on local traditions, and so on. Tell students they will have an opportunity to review more information during the activity.
  4. Assign students to small groups to work through the activity. Direct students to the assignment information on the Glog, and focus their attention to the fact that they will be reviewing each of the links connected through the images around the assignment directions. Once they have looked at these resources, they should work in their groups to identify an Ohio product they would consider selling on a similar Web site. Remind them to think about how the product would be made, how they would market it, and other basic business decisions.
  5. Provide students enough time at the end of the activity to share their products and basic plans with the class.

Integrating Music—Chanting Tibetan monks have become somewhat commonplace thanks to the Internet, but they still have an important role to play in continuing the Buddhist tradition and the traditional lifestyle of the Tibetan people within China. Through this activity, students will learn a little about the goals of these touring monks and experience the music that has made them famous.

  1. Display the Glog for the class, this time focusing on the music activity on the lower right-hand portion of the page.
  2. Call on students to define what a monk is. Then pull out a map and work with students to locate Tibet on a map. Discuss with students how Tibet is now part of China and how some of the traditions Tibetans once enjoyed have been stifled by the new government.
  3. Tell students they will hear about Tibetan monks, experience their music, and investigate why the monks are coming to the United States and touring the world.
  4. After reviewing the resources, direct students to work independently to write a few paragraphs explaining why it is important for the Tibetan monks to export the production of their music and why other people would pay to hear monks from Tibet come and chant for them.

Integrating Physical Education—Sports and games is a major component of many of our lives. While physical education is important for health, socialization, and other reasons, it also allows an opportunity to investigate production, once again. Students will do this based on the example of the production of curling stones.

  1. Pull up the Glog and focus on the final portion of the page, the bottom right-hand corner.
  2. Tell students that for this activity, they will get to focus on a sport or game of their own choosing and describe the production process.
  3. Have students review the resources and begin thinking about what product or component they will be researching. Direct students to work individually to research the materials used to develop their game piece or sports equipment.
  4. Give students the opportunity to share their information, if time permits.

Rubric—Lesson 3

Category 4 3 2 1 Points
Activity 3 Requirements All requirements are met and exceeded. All requirements are met. One requirement was not completely met. More than one requirement was not completely met.  
Activity 3 Organization Content is well organized using  headings or bulleted lists to group related material. Uses headings or bulleted lists to organize, but the overall organization of topics appears flawed. Content is logically organized for the most part. There was no clear or logical  organizational structure, just lots of facts.  
Content Shows a full understanding of the topic. Shows a good understanding of the topic. Shows a good understanding of parts of the topic. Does not seem to understand the topic very well.  
Collaboration with Peers Almost always listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others in the group. Tries to keep people working well together. Usually listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others in the group. Does not cause "waves" in the group. Often listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others in the group but sometimes is not a good team member. Rarely listens to, shares with, and supports the efforts of others in the group. Often  is not a good team member.  

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