This month, the students at Hot Spots Extended Care Programs are learning about landmarks around the world. Here, the childhood education specialists at Hot Spots provide resources and statistics related to famous landmarks around the globe, and explain how you can incorporate this theme into at-home activities.  

Many of the Common Core Standards are introduced as part of the middle school curriculum in 6th grade; therefore, it is important that parents introduce children in elementary school to the coming intellectual challenges by beginning to incorporate social studies into their education. Maryland is one of 42 states that have adopted the Common Core Standards initiative in efforts to change the way students are educated and improve the education standards across the country. Social studies are one of the subjects for which learning objectives are clearly outlined. Children in grades 6-8, for example, are expected to successfully:

  • Synthesize information from texts, charts and images
  • Determine certain information about the sources they are using, including whether they are subjective or objective
  • Summarize central ideas of sources or readings
  • Identify parts of their texts or resources that relate to the subject of social studies

In the classroom, Maryland middle school students are steadily improving their understanding of social studies and geography. In 2014, the percentage of 8th graders who scored below proficient in geography on standardized tests decreased, while those who scored above proficient remained the same, according to the National Assessment of Education Progress. These improvements are no doubt the result of the early introduction of concepts such as cultural literacy and geography into Maryland elementary school curricula.

Speed Research

Begin to develop your child’s geography learning experience at home with this fun and educational activity. Give your child a list of 10 famous world landmarks. Below are several examples:

  • Eiffel Tower (France)
  • Spanish Steps (Italy)
  • Christ the Redeemer (Brazil)
  • Empire State Building (USA)
  • London Eye (England)
  • Basil’s Cathedral (Russia)
  • Machu Picchu (Peru)
  • Tokyo Tower (Japan)
  • Grand Canyon (USA)
  • Forbidden City (China)

Tell them they will have an hour to find either one, two or three interesting facts about each landmark, depending on their grade level. Open an internet browser and have them use a search engine to do their research. Once the hour is finished, open an image of a world map, or use a globe or paper map if you have one accessible in your home. Have your child point out the location of each landmark and describe their research findings to you.

Similarly, ask your child to create postcards from the places that they found most interesting during their research. This reinforces not only the new information that they learned, but allows them to express their interests and creativity.

Hot Spots Curriculum

During the month of January, Hot Spots Extended Care Program students study the world’s geography and cultures, which gives them the opportunity to explore six different continents. They are given the tools and resources to research 10 different globally recognized landmarks. Students are then encouraged to discuss the historical and cultural significance of each landmark to increase their global and cultural awareness.