A Model of Tennessee

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SWBAT create a model of Tennessee that shows landforms and water forms.

Big Idea

What landforms and water can be located in Tennessee?

Setting the Stage

Next Generation Science Standards:

2-ESS2-2 addresses "develop a model to represent that shape and kinds of land and bodies of water in area." In this lesson, students create a model of Tennessee and show land and bodies of water. This lesson is important because the students become familiar with the major bodies of water in Tennessee. Also, they learn what type of land can be discovered in Tennessee.

Teacher note: If you live in another state, you can easily adapt this lesson to your state. You can go to this website to locate all the states with a map that shows land and water, so you can create a model of your state if you wish. Also, here is a website with facts about Tennessee.

Science and Engineering Practice: 

SP 2 addresses using and developing models (i.e., diagram, drawing, physical replica, diorama, dramatization, or storyboard) that represent concrete events or design solutions. In this lesson, students create a model of Tennessee. In the model, they show the various types of land and bodies of water.

SP 8 addresses obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information in K–2. Students communicate information with others in oral and written form to discuss scientific ideas.  In this lesson, groups obtain information about Tennessee land and bodies of water. They work collectively to complete a model of Tennessee.

Prior Knowledge:

Students have learned about Tennessee's land and water at the beginning of the school year. They know some important facts about Tennessee such as: the state flower, bird, and capital. Also, they know that Tennessee is divided in 3 regions.

Junior Scientists:

In my class, my students are called Junior Scientists. They wear lab jackets that they created early in the school year, during their experiments. I call them junior scientists to encourage them to major in Science and Math related careers. I want them to develop a love for Science and Math. Also, we sing "It is Science Time" before each lesson.




10 minutes

At their desks, students sing a song that the class sings at the opening of each science lesson.  This song motivates and engages my Junior Scientists at the beginning of each science lesson. During science lessons, I call my students scientists to empower students and make them dreamers and doers.

Do Now Work

Students complete the Do Now Work" before the lesson. The "Do Now Work" reflects information about Tennessee. I provide the students with the "Do Now Work" to see if they can recall things about Tennessee.

TN Do Now Work-Student Work

“I can” statement

I call on a student to read our "I Can" statement for the day. While using an over-sized microphone, a scientist says, "I can create a model of Tennessee that shows land and bodies of water." The "I Can" statement helps students take ownership of the lesson as they put standards into context. The other students praise the student that reads the "I Can" statement by clapping.  I encourage students to give each other praise to boost their self-esteem. 

Tennessee Song

While students are at their desks, I permit them to listen to a recently new Tennessee song by John Bean.  This song was adopted in 2012 by the State Senate. The song is played to motivate my  auditory learners. My students enjoy listening to music.

After the song is played, I ask the students: How does John Bean feels about TN? How do you know? Cite evidence from the song.  It is imperative that students are exposed to primary sources. Primary sources are original sources that students can learn gain knowledge from.

Next Step

Then I inform the students that they are going to create a model of Tennessee. In groups, you are going to show the land and bodies of water on the model. I am going to provide you a shape of Tennessee for you to show your images.




40 minutes

My students proceed to their group tables when I say "We Are On The Move" and they stand and sing, We Are On The Move. This routine helps my students to move to their table with very little distraction. This also helps my auditory learners who enjoy singing as well as my kinesthetic children that enjoy moving.  

When students get to their tables, they begin to assign their roles: a person to lead, record, measure, and report. I assign the leader which is one of my advanced students. Leadership qualities are present. They put on their group labels with a clothes pin to ensure that I know each child's role.  I want all my students to take ownership of their learning, so assigning roles permit students to develop confidence in their roles as well as use their strengths to accomplish their group's goals.  All hands must be on deck.  The groups are reminded of the group rules. The group rules are located at their table so they can reference to them.

Teacher note: In this lesson, the students create a model of their state, Tennessee. The students use crayons, color pencils, glue, and glitter to decorate their model. The students locate the major rivers, a lake, and landforms on the map. They refer to the provided map to assist with labeling.

The lab sheet is located at their table. Scientists use lab sheets to record their information and to assist with their investigation. Therefore, the lab sheet helps students begin to work and think like a scientist with very little guidance from me.

Groups are provided with a shape of Tennessee that is made from cardboard box or poster board. I give the groups

Groups  are encouraged to visit the material area to gather materials that they can use for their model.  I place 30 minutes on the timer which keeps my students on task.

Tennessee Map-Student Work

Tennessee-Student Work



10 minutes

To determine if groups understand the different types of landforms and water forms found in Tennessee, I let them present their work to the class. Also, I pose the following questions: Are there different water forms in Tennessee that you labeled? What landforms are located in Tennessee? What mountains did you see? Where there any National Parks? How is a lake different from a river? These questions help support students cognitive development as I check students understanding.

 A group present their Tennessee map (student created) -video.