One of the things my students have to know about are the British colonies in North America and how those colonies specialized and were interdependent. Those are very big words for sixth graders to not just learn the definition of, but also understand in practice. We decided to tackle specialization first, and then go to interdependence. In order to teach interdependence, the students had to create a recipe. Each group of students was given one type of fruit. Then they had to trade to make sure they recieved all the fruit for their recipe. It was a gret simulation! They had to meet at the trading center in order to discuss how they were going to trade. One group even messed things up a bit! That group traded so much that they traded ALL of their products, so when it came time to build their recipe, the thing they were missing was their specialized product!
We had to link this back to colonial regions so we colored maps, cut and pasted things to map, and did worksheets. I didn't feel like this was enough to reach all the various learning styles in my classroom, so I introduced the walk and play map of the eastern seaboard.
I know that some of the states are not exactly accurate, but considering I drew it by hand I think its pretty awesome. After I drew it, I painted the canvas with watercolors. The paint sort of peeled and I like this because it looks like an older map. The kids got really into it! On tiles, I hot glued the different products the colonies specialized in: I glued down cotton and indigo, lumber and different farm animals. I even went to the bait and tackle shop and got some lures that looked like fish to glue to tiles. I had dried tobacco leaves that they could feel and smell if they wanted to. They were so excited. They were sliding around on the map and placing their tiles down. The best object for them was my toy ship. I was able to use the ship as a behavir management tool because they were all trying to be on the their best behavior to be picked for the ship! What cool ideas do you have to teach map skills or colonial regions?