## Where Is Japan? How Are We Alike and Different?

### Sandi KingBay District Schools

#### Description

Students use literature, maps, and globes to understand how physical environments in various parts of the world are similar to and different from one's own, and that certain areas have common characteristics and can be called regions.

#### Objectives

The student understands ways physical environments in other parts of the world are similar to and different from one's own (for example, mountains, deserts, plains, shore).

The student understands that certain areas have common characteristics and can be called regions (for example, mountain ranges, neighborhoods, counties, states, countries).

#### Materials

- Friedman, Ina. [How My Parents Learned to Eat]. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1984.
- Large world map (physical map)

#### Preparations

1. Locate and preview the book [How My Parents Learned to Eat] by Ina Friedman.
2. Locate a large world map. A physical map will be necessary as you will be locating mountain ranges, rivers, etc.
3. Locate various maps that show a legend (map key).
4. Become familiar with the physical characteristics of Japan and America shown on the map, such as bodies of water surrounding the countries, mountain ranges, rivers, the capital city, etc.
5. Preview their social studies book to locate physical maps or map legends that correlate with these activities.

#### Procedures

1. During read-aloud time, read [How My Parents Learned to Eat] by Ina Friedman. This book is a study in comparing and contrasting the life styles of a Japanese girl and an American sailor. Discuss things that John and Aiko have in common and things that are different.
(See Materials.)

2. During math time, discuss and demonstrate the geometric concepts of point and line. Discuss the concepts of area and volume.

3. During social studies, ask leading questions as to what does the large world map show about the two countries of Japan and America that are alike and different. How is the environment of Japan like or different from the environment of America? Use the spatial elements of point, line, volume, and area to discuss how the environments are alike. Use the element of line to discuss rivers and coastlines shown on the maps of America and Japan. Use the element of area to make land area comparisons between the different islands of Japan and the different states in America. Use the element of point to locate the capital of Japan (Tokyo) and the capital of the United States. Use the element of volume to visually compare the different bodies of water surrounding Japan. Have students use the world map displayed to show similar environments in other parts of the world. Be sure to use the spatial elements of point, line, area, and volume.

4. Now that physical characteristics of the countries have been located and identified on the maps. Discuss that certain areas that have common characteristics are called regions. Show the legend (map key) of the displayed world map. Discuss any characteristics shown on the legend. Have students use the world map displayed to show regions that have mountain ranges, plains, and coastline regions in America and Japan.

5. Formatively assess understanding of physical characteristics and regions on a map during the above discussion and demonstration. Give informative and corrective feedback which will instruct and guide those students who are still struggling with the content while also providing positive learning feedback for those who know the comment. (That's right! You must have known that a map key can help you identify the symbols on a map.)

#### Assessments

Formatively assess understanding of physical characteristics and regions on a map during the discussion and demonstration described. Give informative and corrective feedback which will allow instruction for those who still do not understand the content while also providing positive comments for those who do understand the content.

#### Extensions

1. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page or by using the following URL: http://www.beaconlearningcenter.com/search/details.asp?item=2941. Once you select the unit’s link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, “Associated Files.” This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).

2. The physical characteristics and regions of other countries can be identified and discussed.

3. Further study of a map key can be done. Students can develop a map key for the globe including items such as blue means water, brown means mountains, etc.

4. Use the book, [As the Crow Flies: A First Book of Maps] by Gail Hartman, Bradbury Press, New York, 1991, as a read-a-loud to extend students' knowledge and understanding of maps.

6. The physical characteristics of Japan can be compared and contrasted with those of your home state.