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Learning Experience/Unit

Rockin' Round New York State by St. Lawrence-Lewis BOCES


Social Studies (NYS K-12 Framework Common Core)

Grade Levels

Elementary, 4th Grade


  • A hands-on bulletin board will be available during this entire unit. The bulletin board will consist of a large blank map of New York State, and can use pushpins to place the label of various cities, rivers, lakes, mountains and bordering states correctly on the map.
  • Games will be played using the map.
  • Students will receive individual scores based on a rubric for their inspiration web and paragraph, as well as a group score based on their overall poster appearance.
  • New York State map test will be administered at the end of the entire unit.
  • Rubrics

Learning Context/ Introduction

This is culminating activity to the social studies unit on New York State geography. Prior to this learning experience, students completed a map of New York State together so that they have knowledge of major cities, rivers, lakes and cardinal and intermediate directions.


The entire project will take approximately 2 weeks.
Day 1: Introduction of the activity, students develop band name and outline the major cities they will be traveling to.
Days 2 –4: Students will independently complete Inspiration web.
Days 5 –8: Students will complete paragraphs.
Days 9-10: Students will compile all their materials to make the poster.
Days 11: Students will share their posters.

Instructional/Environment Modifications

The teacher will select the groups with specific needs of children in mind. One-on-one instruction (tutors, classroom teachers, resource room), as well as parent volunteers to help with Inspiration web, will be available to students. Other modifications include small group instruction (reading teacher worked with small group), individual modifications made for students with learning disabilities, and partner work.



For this project, students will be creating “Rock Groups” that will be touring around New York State. To spark interest, our class will begin with a discussion of different rock groups and some of their favorite bands. I will then explain the project and share a sample paragraph that I wrote for my pretend rock group.

Students are divided into small groups of 3 or 4 (teacher selected). Together students determine the name of their group and the cities their group will be touring (one city for each member of the group). The group will also determine the dates of their “concerts” and the order they will visit each city.

Each student will be assigned one of the cities on their tour, which they will have to research.

Lesson: (several days)

Independently, students will develop an Inspiration web of their city, with the city’s name in the center and clip art (pictures of the city, with a brief description of what each picture is.) Students will use dogpile.com (images) to locate and copy and paste pictures to their web. (This will be demonstrated for the students on the Smart Board and they will be given a step-by-step direction sheet as well.) Before this assignment, students will make a web all about themselves, and thus have practice using Inspiration.

Students will independently complete a typed paragraph about their city. The paragraph should contain the following:

  • 3 major attractions their group will be doing while in the city. Students will find this information from research they do on the internet. I provide them with hyperlinks to web pages of their city, and they read and take notes.
  • Direction and mileage they will travel to get to the next city of the tour.
  • When appropriate, try to include any major waterways, mountain ranges or bordering states in their paragraphs.
  • Paragraphs should also include the date and time of their concert.
  • Students are asked to change font and size as they are completing their paragraph and to center and underline the title.
  • Closure:

    Students will dress up as their rock group for a photo with props. As a group, students will compile all their webs and paragraphs to design a poster of their tour. Also included on their poster will be a map of New York State outlining their tour, a timeline of their tour, the picture of their group, and the name of their group.


    Students will continually need to refer back to their knowledge of New York State as we work on history of New York State throughout the entire year. An overall understanding of major cities, rivers, and mountains are very important to understanding the history of New York State.


    Students will present their posters to the class. They will also complete a New York State Map Test as part of the overall unit, but not from this activity alone. Many worksheets and homework assignments will also be given to assess students' knowledge of New York State geography.

    Reflections and Feedback

    I have done this project in the past, but it has never been a technology-based lesson. One major problem I encountered this year was the computer time I needed to complete the project. I should have asked for the computer lab to be closed for a two to three week block of time for 40 minutes a day. Instead our time in the lab was very choppy and it took a long period of time to get the complete project finished.

    This year I did not have students present their posters to the class, primarily because of time restrictions. However they were placed on the bulletin board in the hall.

    Overall, I feel students gained a lot of technology knowledge as well as basic map skills of New York State. This is a worthwhile activity that I will continue to do in my classroom.

    Student Work

    Samples of student work
    sample 1
    sample 2
    sample 3

    Related Resource

  • Inspiration software
  • Microsoft Word
  • Smart Board (primarily for demonstration)
  • Dogpile.com (images)
  • Internet (see attached sheet of individual city sites)
  • Teacher made worksheets, maps, timelines
  • Digital Camera
  • Construction paper, poster board, scissors and glue

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