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Design Topic V ​ irginia Geography/ Units of Measurement​ Subject(s) ​Virginia Studies/ Math

Grade(s) ​5th​ Designer(s) ​Anna Gillette

Understanding by Design

Source: Understanding by Design, Unit Design Planning Template (Wiggins/McTighe 2005)
Design Topic V ​ irginia Geography/ Units of Measurement​ Subject(s) ​Virginia Studies/ Math
Grade(s) ​5th​ Designer(s) ​Anna Gillette


Unit Title: ​The Geography of Virginia

Established Goals:
VS.2 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the physical geography and native peoples, past and present, of Virginia
a) locating Virginia and its bordering states on maps of the United States;
b) locating and describing Virginia’s Coastal Plain (Tidewater), Piedmont, Blue Ridge Mountains, Valley and Ridge, and
Appalachian Plateau;

c) locating and identifying water features important to the early history of Virginia (Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, James
River, York River, Potomac River, Rappahannock River, and Lake Drummond and the Dismal Swamp);
d) locating three American Indian language groups (the Algonquian, the Siouan, and the Iroquoian) on a map of Virginia

Understandings: ​Students will understand that… Essential Questions:

The geography of Virginia has played an important role in its How has Virginia’s geography shaped its history?
history, shaping the way the native people lived, the places
the european settlers settled, and the battles fought during Why did water features play such an important part in
the war of independence Virginia history?

Virginia’s water features were especially important in its How does life in other regions of Virginia differ from that in
early history, as easy access to water was essential for the Tidewater region as a result of its physical geography?
drinking and watering crops, and large or connected bodies
of water enables easy trade and travel
Students will know: Students will be able to:
Virginia is a state, which is a territory within a nation with its (Locate Virginia and its bordering states on a map of the
own government separate from but connected to the United States
national government.
Locate the five regions of Virginia on a map of Virginia.
Virginia’s border states are North Carolina, Tennessee,
Describe the distinguishing features of each of the five
Kentucky, West Virginia, and Maryland.
regions of Virginia.
Virginia has five distinct regions, which are the Coastal Plain
Locate the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, James River,
(Tidewater), the Piedmont, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the
York River, Potomac River, Rappahannock River, and Lake
Valley and Ridge, and the Appalachian Plateau, and that
Drummond and Dismal Swamp on a map of Virginia, and
they each have different geological features.
be able to identify them on a unlabeled map.
Our school is in the Tidewater region of Virginia.
Locate the three Native American language groups (the
Virginia has many significant water features which played a Algonquian, the Siouan, and the Iroquoian) on a map of
role in shaping the history of Virginia, and those include the Virginia
Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, James River, York River,
Potomac River, Rappahannock River, and Lake Drummond
and Dismal Swamp.

Native Americans still live in Virginia, three language groups

in particular, the Algonquian, the Siouan, and the Iroquoian.

Source: Understanding by Design, Unit Design Planning Template (Wiggins/McTighe 2005)
Design Topic V ​ irginia Geography/ Units of Measurement​ Subject(s) ​Virginia Studies/ Math
Grade(s) ​5th​ Designer(s) ​Anna Gillette


Performance Tasks: Other Evidence:
The student is a travel guide preparing to take a Quiz: five questions on water features
large group of visitors on a tour of Virginia.
Before they can take the visitors on a tour they Map activity: Students color the different regions
must create a travel plan to be approved by the of Virginia according to a key and label the
company’s board of directors (a group of five
peers) as this is the first tour the company has bordering states and key water features on a
done in Virginia, and this tour will serve as a map of virginia and its bordering states. They
model for future tours. They must show that they will also place a star sticker over our approximate
have a good understanding of the geography of location
Virginia by including all regions and major water
features of Virginia in their travel plan. The plan Sort features of the regions of virginia under the
should be easy to follow directions that includes
the towns they will visit with their clients and the region names
specific locations they will visit within or nearby
that town that is unique to or demonstrative of the
region or feature they are showcasing with that
location, and it should start and end in the
Tidewater region. They will then present their
plan to the board/class using powerpoint or a
similar presentation software.In their presentation
they will need to briefly describe the reason they
chose the locations they did. Included in this
should be how the water features impacted the
early history of Virginia and how the regions of
Virginia impact the way people live today.

Formative assessment: Students will individually

demonstrate the location of the three native
American language groups to the teacher using a
large wall map of Virginia while other students
are working on their travel plan and presentation.
Student Self-Assessment and Reflection
Journal prompt on the importance of water features in early American history

Exit Ticket: What is a State?

Checklist for travel guide and presentation

Source: Understanding by Design, Unit Design Planning Template (Wiggins/McTighe 2005)
Design Topic V ​ irginia Geography/ Units of Measurement​ Subject(s) ​Virginia Studies/ Math
Grade(s) ​5th​ Designer(s) ​Anna Gillette


Summary of Learning Activities:
(list by number here and then complete the week-by-week planning calendar below using the same information)

1. Hook part one: TTW do a think pair share with the students using the question “What makes Virginia Virginia?
2. Hook part two: the teacher will split the class into four groups to rotate to different stations which will give them an
overview of the state of Virginia and get them excited to learn more about it. The stations are 1) Virginia facts, 2)
Virginia in photos, 3) Popular Virginia destinations, and 4) Chromebooks: Video of Virginia rap by National Geographic
3. “What is a state?” mini-lesson
4. Introduce essential questions and completed map of virginia activity to show students what they will be able to do by
the end of the unit
5. Regions Jigsaw: Students will split into expert groups which will each learn about a region and find its geographical
features, how they affected life of the Native Americans (and what language groups resided in those regions), how it
affected the life of the early settlers, and how it affects life today. Then they will go to their home groups and teach their
home group about their region. As the groups will be uneven, some expert groups will have two students from the
same home, and these doubles will include one struggling student and one more advanced student
6. Sorting features activity: students will sort pieces of paper features of each region under the name of the region they
describe in pairs. Pairs of students may choose to work collaboratively on one set or may use two sets and race to
see who can match the regions the fastest, checking each other's work (more advanced learners might prefer the
second option)
7. Water features jigsaw: like the previous jigsaw, students will split into expert groups and then return to their home
groups, with struggling students paired with more advanced learners (different pairs of students than before). Each
group will have two features to become expert on: the James River and the York River, The Rappahannock River and
the Potomac River, The Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, and the Dismal Swamp and Lake Drummond.
8. Water features quiz
9. Border States Song: teacher will instruct students on a brie chant to remember the border states of Virginia and their
relative location, with students repeating parts of the song after the teacher until they have mastered the song
10. Map Activity: Students will create a Map of virginia showing the regions, water features, border states, and Native
American language groups, and school location. They will rotate between stations (border states, regions, language
groups, water features) to do this, with each having unlabeled guides to trace for the different parts of the map (border
states and virginia border, rivers, region borders, language group boundaries). They will also color the regions, ocean,
bay, swamp, and lake, and draw patterns over the language groups.
11. Teacher will call individual students during the map activity to assess their understanding of the location of the
language groups by asking them to demonstrate the location of each language group on a map that does not have the
boundaries on it. TSW be able to point to all parts of the language group and their approximate boundaries
12. Introduce tour guide assignment as what we will be doing next week and show example of a well done destination
guide and presentation. Inform students presentations will be given next Friday.
13. Round Table on research and presentations: Students will be split into groups of four and will pass around a piece of
paper within their group with a question on it, such as “What are some characteristics of a good presentation?”, and
each student will write one thing that could help answer the question. After three minutes, groups will switch papers
and spend three minutes answering the next question. The questions are: “What might indicate a website has credible
information?” “What might indicate a website has information that is not credible?” “What might indicate that a print
resource has credible information?” “What might indicate that a print resource has information that is not credible?”
“What are some characteristics of a well done presentation?” “What are some characteristics of a poorly done
14. Demonstration on where to find information about potential tour destinations and guided practice on finding information
on a particular potential location
15. Students work independently to find locations for their tour to visit and information about them, including how this
location demonstrates a particular trait of Virginia, something else interesting about it about the location, and what the
tour will do while they are there
16. Students will organize their locations and their respective information in the order in which their tour will visit them and
Cite the sources where they got their information to complete their destination guide.
17. Students will be paired up to give feedback on each other’s guides, reading them and asking the students they belong
to any questions they have about it and some advice on how to improve it.
18. Students will revise their guide to provide clarity, fix any mistakes, and make other suggested improvements as they
see fit.

Source: Understanding by Design, Unit Design Planning Template (Wiggins/McTighe 2005)
Design Topic V ​ irginia Geography/ Units of Measurement​ Subject(s) ​Virginia Studies/ Math
Grade(s) ​5th​ Designer(s) ​Anna Gillette
19. The teacher will give a mini-lesson on using the prezi presentation software, which students may use for their
presentation if they choose
20. Students will create their presentation, which must include why people would want to visit each of their destinations
and how it reflects something about virginia. At any point during the presentation making process students may consult
with a classmate of their choosing to look over their presentation and get feedback or get help using their presentation
software, and the teacher will also be available to coach students in these things.
21. Students will give a ten minute presentation of their work in a group of their peers from their chromebook, and one
peer will record their presentation. The teacher will move throughout the classroom and try to see some of each
student’s presentation, however will have the recordings to look back on to assist with grading, in case they do not get
to every student due to an oversight, classroom management issue, or other distraction, and to share with parents.
Each student in the group will have chance to give their presentation, and after each presentation students in the
group will give constructive feedback.
22. Students will reflect on their presentation, both their delivery and the process of making it, in a journal entry

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday

1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
● Hook (with ● Regions ● Water Features ● Border ● Introduce tour
TPS) Jigsaw Jigsaw states song guide
● What is a ● Sorting ● Water features ● Map activity assignment
State? Features quiz ● Language ● Round table
● Essential Activity groups
questions and assessment
completed map
6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
● Research ● Destination ● Revise guide ● Complete ● Present
demonstration research with classmate and refine presentations
and guided ● Guide ● Prezi presentation ● reflect on
practice ordered with mini-lesson presentations
● Destination citations ● Begin
guide research Presentation

(Copy and Paste Your Rubric on the last page)

Source: Understanding by Design, Unit Design Planning Template (Wiggins/McTighe 2005)