We just finished up our Social Studies unit on maps and landforms. This fun project was created out of my desire to have my kiddos show me what they know in a fun and hands on way. Our kiddos are tested. to. death….especially in third grade, and as often as I can I like to do things the “fun,” way. So, Create-A-Country was born.
The project required my students to use everything they had learned about the parts of a map and what they knew about landforms. They got to be creative, which they love, and use salt dough! It was definitely a hit!
The letter went home on a Friday and I also sent a text reminder to parents through the Remind app (if you don’t use Remind, you should….it’s amazing!). The salt dough came in on Monday, most of it in great condition! There were a few bags of something that looked more like goop than dough, but a little more flour and some kneading took care of that. I modified the directions for making the dough and clarified that it should come to school looking like dough and you should be able to form it into a ball!
We decided that it would be much easier for the kids to bring the dough already made than to try and make enough for a class of 31 (yes, 31) kids. Not one parent seemed to mind. Most kiddos said it took them about 5 minutes to make, and it’s only 3 cheap ingredients!
On Monday we started off by discussing the project requirements, going over the checklist and brainstorming our ideas for our imaginary countries!
Tuesday, we began making our 3D salt dough maps! I taped a piece of wax paper to cover about 3/4 of a piece of long tagboard. The part of the paper not covered by wax paper is where they would write their map title, map key, and compass rose.
We let the dough dry overnight and got to work painting and labeling our maps with our symbols on Wednesday.
They were so proud of how their maps were coming out that they asked if I would call and invite our principal down to see them. He came down to our room and took a tour of our countries. My favorite moment was when he asked one of my cuties why they were doing this project. The student replied, “Well, you see, Mrs. Wood likes to do things the fun way if she can instead of giving us a test. So, we are showing her what we learned about maps and londforms by making these salt dough maps.” Couldn’t have said it better myself!
Thursday we finished any labeling or drawing that we needed to and then wrote an encyclopedia entry about our imaginary country. They had so much fun getting creative about facts about their country and what their country is famous for.
Finally, on Friday it was time for a gallery walk to learn more about our classmate’s countries and then maps went home at the end of the day.
It was at times a bit messy, but they did an amazing job cleaning up. But, it was totally worth it all to see how excited they were about showing off their learning in a fun and hands on way!
If you would like to check out the Create-A-Country Salt Dough Map project it is now uploaded to TpT and on sale for 20% off through tomorrow!
Don’t forget to take advantage of my Sunday Funday Buy 2 Get One FREE sale! Buy 2 products from my store and get a free product (of equal or lesser value)! Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your TpT username, the products you purchased today and which item you would like free!