Unit: Chris Stone -- National Landmarks Study: United States and China

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Unit Description

5th Grade/Social Studies: This multiple lesson mini-unit will introduce students to famous landmarks of the United States and famous landmarks of China. Landmarks of China will focus on sites in Beijing and X’ian. Students will compare, and contrast, these sites through research using a variety of media resources. Within this sequence of lessons, students will explore, research deeply and share their learning with others as a way to teach their peers about their own country and a country halfway around the world. It should be noted that this lesson, although focused on the United States and China, can be replaced with any other countries from around the world.


Key Questions for this Unit

Below are helpful essential or key questions for this unit.

Global Competencies - Teachers Guide

Below are global competencies addressed in this unit. Additional specific standards have been tagged withing the unit lesson plans.

Lesson 1: Exploration of National Landmarks - China and the United States

Students will explore national landmarks of the United States and China using various literature and media resources. Students will record their learning in a personalized note taker.

Lesson 2: Making Sense of Exploration

Students will create a comparison chart based upon their early exploration. Students will reflect independently, and work in teams, to complete and share their learning with others.

Note Taking and Creating a Google Presentation

This section may be a helpful resource for teachers to use as focus lessons with students on the above topics.

Lesson 3: Focused Research on National Landmarks Resources: 1

Students will select one national landmark from each country. Students will research those national landmarks while recording research in a personalized note taker.

Lesson 4: Feedback and Revision

Students will analyze each others google presentations as a way to provide peer support and feedback. As a result, students will apply feedback to revise and/or edit their work before the final sharing.

Lesson 5: Sharing

Students will teach their peers about landmarks in China and the United States.

Assessment - Teacher Guide Resources: 2

Within this section are helpful teacher resources for assessment.

Professional Citations and Teacher Resources Resources: 3

Within this section is a listing of my professional resources used for this unit.


Unit Resources

No resources at this time.


Deborah Cunningham Posted 3 years ago:

This project provides students with the chance to develop inquiry, research, and presentation skills while learning more about landmarks of their choosing.  It has the potential to be a rich and exciting learning experience for fifth graders!  The key content questions are very strong, and it would be great to circle back to these toward the end of the lesson to see how students would answer them at the end of their study (especially the third question, which requires them to synthesize information and develop a position/argument).

It is very helpful to have the list of “starter websites” that the students can use to launch their research, and a few literary examples would also be beneficial so that how these might be integrated is apparent. Another helpful addition would be some guidelines for “considering the source,” since countries tend to celebrate their own landmarks – often in a nationalistic way – and some images or claims need to be viewed or read critically rather than taken at face value. (This applies to some types of landmarks and not others.)

 In the first lesson plan, as students embark on their exploration, they will need some structure and guidance as to how many landmarks they should investigate, and what questions they are looking to answer about them (should these be the “key content questions?” If so, include them explicitly here). On what dimensions will students be comparing and contrasting the landmarks – beauty? Size? How effectively they communicate a message?  How much they glorify the country or hero? How long they have lasted?  Perhaps students could take time in lesson one to generate categories for comparison that they can later use as they present about their chosen U.S. and Chinese landmarks.



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