North America: US Neighbors
Part of the Florida Geographic Alliance's collection of lesson plans.



Grade: 1

Time: 3 days


Key Questions


Have the class brainstorm information they currently know about Canada. Record this information on a chart or transparency.


Engage students in assembling a giant multi-colored floor puzzle of Canada by using a matching color coded transparency of the territories and provinces projected on an overhead to serve as a guide.

When the puzzle has been completed, replace the first transparency with one showing the names of the Canadian provinces and territories. Ask student volunteers to place sentence strip names of these locations on the floor map.

Present a third transparency of North America and encourage student volunteers to locate the following: compass coordinates of N,S,E,W; Canada; United States; Pacific and Atlantic Oceans; Florida and Miami. As these are located, teacher will write the names on the transparency.

Discuss the relative location of Miami to Canada.

Ask students to generate another list of facts they know about the climate, animals, and geography of the United States. Record this information on a chart or transparency.


Show Section One, Chapter One of GTV laserdisc, A LAY OF THE LAND. Freeze image on the cross-section on North America's land elevation. Draw attention to the change in elevation as one travels east to west. Discuss why this change occurs.

First Application

Ask students to create a human cross-section of the same land elevation projection as that on the TV monitor. Allow time for them to arrange themselves according to height so that they most closely resemble the example displayed. Encourage them to be innovative.

Once completed, identify the easternmost and westernmost points in their human cross-section.

Second Application

Again project the transparency of North America. Distribute to each student a copy of this North American map. Identify once again the compass coordinates of N,S,E,W. Instruct students to label these on their individual maps. Ask for student volunteers to place capital M's on the map where the high mountains are located; capital P's for the Great Plains region; and lower case m's in the east to represent the older mountain range. Students should mark their maps accordingly.

Draw student attention to the fact the three landform regions just identified cross country boundaries and are shared by both Canada and the United States.

Third Application

From the student generated information on animals of Canada and the United States, select eight or more examples for more indepth investigation. Using the ANIMALS, CD-ROM, ask student volunteers to locate information on these animals. As this information is presented, discuss as a class how each animal's coloration provides clues to the climate and geography of its natural habitat. Record on the transparency and individual student maps the region each of these animals inhabits.

Fourth Application

Provide each student with a 9" white paper plate. Instruct them to select any two North American animals they prefer so long as their choices come from different geographic regions and are of different coloration. They are to illustrate one animal on each side of their paper plate. Their pictures should provide clues to the climate, habitat and coloration of each animal.

When completed, student work will be displayed as classroom mobiles.

Student maps of North America will become part of their individual portfolios.


Part of the Florida Geographic Alliance's collection of lesson plans.