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Instructional Focus Document
Grade 3 Social Studies
TITLE : Unit 04: The Physical Environment of the Community SUGGESTED DURATION : 20 days

Unit Overview

Introduction

This unit bundles student expectations that address the physical environment and human interaction with the environment.  An examination of physical geographic characteristics such as landforms, climate, distribution of natural resources, and natural disasters is important for understanding the physical environment.  Additionally studying about human adaption and modification of the environment is important for understanding the demands being made on the environment.

Prior to this Unit

Prior to this unit of study, students began studying geographic patterns by using maps and globes as tools and by comparing human geographic characteristics of places.

During this Unit

During this unit, students continue to learn about geographic patterns by studying the characteristics of the physical environment including the effects of natural disasters on the physical environment, and about how humans adapt to and modify the physical environment.

After this Unit

In the next unit, students study about how communities are governed.


Physical and human processes shape the patterns of the Earth’s surface.

  • In what ways is the Earth’s surface constantly being changed?
Unit Understandings
and Questions
Overarching Concepts
and Unit Concepts
Performance Assessment(s)

The physical environment is shaped by physical geographic processes.

  • How does climate shape the physical environment of different communities?
  • How is the physical environment different and similar in communities?
  • How is the physical environment shaped by natural disasters?
  • What physical processes create landforms?

Spatial Patterns

  • Region/Borders
  • Climate
  • Physical Geographic Processes/Landforms
Assessment information provided within the TEKS Resource System are examples that may, or may not, be used by your child’s teacher. In accordance with section 26.006 (2) of the Texas Education Code, "A parent is entitled to review each test administered to the parent’s child after the test is administered." For more information regarding assessments administered to your child, please visit with your child’s teacher.

Humans adapt to the physical environment and shape the physical environment through modification.

  • What are some of the ways humans adapt to the physical environment?
  • What are some ways humans modify the physical environment?
  • How does modifying the physical environment change a community?

Spatial Patterns

  • Human-Environment Interaction
Assessment information provided within the TEKS Resource System are examples that may, or may not, be used by your child’s teacher. In accordance with section 26.006 (2) of the Texas Education Code, "A parent is entitled to review each test administered to the parent’s child after the test is administered." For more information regarding assessments administered to your child, please visit with your child’s teacher.

MISCONCEPTIONS / UNDERDEVELOPED CONCEPTS

  • Students sometimes have difficulty seeing the effects of human modifications of the physical environment because these effects are not necessarily immediately observable. Discussions about conservation and stewardship of resources helps to further develop the concept of citizenship on a broader scale.
  • Students often understand that cardinal and intermediate directions are fixed on a map, yet they do not understand how those directions apply in the real world. For example, students often think that north is in front of them, south is behind them, west is on the left and east is on the right. Hands-on experiences with maps and compasses illustrating how cardinal and intermediate directions do not change position are crucial to the development of spatial reasoning.

Unit Vocabulary

climate – a pattern of weather over time in a particular area
landforms – physical geographic features on the surface of the earth
natural disaster – a natural event that causes damage or loss of lives
adapt – making adjustments because of existing conditions
modify – making changes to the existing conditions

Related Vocabulary

  • physical environment
  • tornado
  • earthquake
  • hurricane
  • drought
  • volcanic eruption
  • floods
  • infrastructure
Unit Assessment Items System Resources

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Unit Assessment Items that have been published by your district may be accessed through Search All Components in the District Resources tab. Assessment items may also be found using the Assessment Creator if your district has granted access to that tool.

System Resources may be accessed through Search All Components in the District Resources Tab.


TEKS# SE# Unit Level Taught Directly TEKS Unit Level Specificity
 

Legend:

  • Knowledge and Skills Statements (TEKS) identified by TEA are in italicized, bolded, black text.
  • Student Expectations (TEKS) identified by TEA are in bolded, black text.
  • Portions of the Student Expectations (TEKS) that are not included in this unit but are taught in previous or future units are indicated by a strike-through.

Legend:

  • Supporting information / clarifications (specificity) written by TEKS Resource System are in blue text.
3 History.
3.1 History. The student understands how individuals, events, and ideas have influenced the history of various communities. The student is expected to:
3.1A Describe how individuals, events, and ideas have changed communities, past and present.

Describe

HOW INDIVIDUALS, EVENTS, AND IDEAS HAVE CHANGED COMMUNITIES, PAST AND PRESENT

Including, but not limited to:

  • Individuals change communities by taking on leadership roles in the community, volunteering in the community, modifying the environment of the community, and by creating businesses in the community.
  • Communities are physically changed by natural disasters, invasions, and conflicts along with economic decline and growth. Communities are also physically altered by the building of infrastructure and other modifications of the environment.
  • Communities have been changed by ideas about government, conservation, ecology, and scientific discoveries.
  • When new members join the community they introduce new ideas, new traditions, and new customs to the community.
3 Geography.
3.4 Geography. The student understands how humans adapt to variations in the physical environment. The student is expected to:
3.4A Describe and explain variations in the physical environment, including climate, landforms, natural resources, and natural hazards.

Describe, Explain

VARIATION IN PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT

Including, but not limited to:

  • Climate is a pattern of weather at a particular place over a period of years. Climate is determined by the combination of precipitation and temperature in a given region. Factors which influence the amount of precipitation received and temperatures of a place include distance from the equator (latitude), proximity to large bodies of water and the nature of the body of water (cold ocean currents versus warm ocean currents), location on a continent (continentality), and elevation. 
  • Climate is a pattern of weather at a particular place over a period of years. Climate is determined by the combination of precipitation and temperature in a given region. Factors which influence the amount of precipitation received and temperatures of a place include distance from the equator (latitude), proximity to large bodies of water and the nature of the body of water (cold ocean currents versus warm ocean currents), location on a continent (continentality), and elevation. 
  • Climate regions are generally created by latitude location and categorized as polar, temperate, or tropical. Polar being in the highest latitudes farthest from the equator, temperate being in the mid latitudes, and topical in low latitudes closer to the equator. Polar climate regions are characterized by cold temperatures. Temperate climate zones are characterized by seasonal temperature changes, such as hot summers and cold winters. Tropical climate zones are characterized by warm temperatures throughout the seasons. Other climate regions include arid which is characteristic of areas that receive very little rainfall and highland where higher elevations affect the climate no matter the latitude. 
  • Landforms are features on Earth's surface including plains, mountains, valley, volcanoes, deltas, islands, and canyons.
  • Natural resources are any physical material that constitutes part of Earth, and which people need and value. The most basic natural resources are air, land, and water. Other natural resources include trees, crops, metals, oil, and coal.
  • Natural hazards are events which happen in the physical environment and are not necessarily predictable. Natural hazards include hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, tsunamis, droughts, volcanoes, fires, floods, and insect infestations. Natural hazards are characterized by the damage they cause to property and people.
3.4B Identify and compare how people in different communities adapt to or modify the physical environment in which they live such as deserts, mountains, wetlands, and plains.

Identify, Compare

HOW PEOPLE ADAPT TO OR MODIFY THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT

Including, but not limited to:

  • Adapting to the environment
    • Varying types of clothing, such as wearing coats in cold mountain climates
    • Building various types of shelters, such as home on silts in areas that are prone to flooding
    • Using technologies and new techniques to adapt, such as irrigation, terrace farming, air conditioning, desalinization, sunscreen, drought resistant crops, wind power, and solar power
  • Modifying the environment
    • Mining and logging – extraction of natural resources
    • Irrigation/ digging wells/ draining wetlands  – expands farming and ranching into areas that lack water
    • Building transportation infrastructures – canals, highways, airports
    • Deforestation and desertification – results from cutting trees and overgrazing of land
    • Building dams – allows for flood control and production of hydroelectric power
    • Planting crops – either to address drought or introducing non-native species to areas
  • Physical environment – the combination of a place's physical characteristics. Everything in and on Earth's surface and its atmosphere within which organisms, communities, or objects exist is the environment in which they live. (deserts, mountains, wetlands, plains)
  • Adapt – to make suitable or fit for a particular situation. People change their activities to match the physical environment.
  • Modify – to change or make different. People change the environment to meet their needs.
3.4C Describe the effects of physical processes such as volcanoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes in shaping the landscape.

Describe

EFFECTS OF PHYSICAL PROCESSES ON THE LANDSCAPE

Including, but not limited to:

  • Volcanoes – many mountains and islands have been created because of volcanic eruptions.
  • Hurricanes – erosion affects islands and coastal regions. Forests are leveled to the ground and salt water intrusiveness destroys much of the fresh water living things, particularly in the wetlands.
  • Earthquakes – fault valleys and troughs might be created. Streams may change their course.

Physical processes– generally geographers study the physical processes of plate tectonic forces, erosion, weathering, and soil-building in relation to the creation of landforms. These processes can take long periods of time to impact the physical landscape or can be sudden, such as with an earthquake caused by plate tectonic forces.


Landscape – the scenery of a place including the physical characteristics, as well as the human characteristics

3.4D Describe the effects of human processes such as building new homes, conservation, and pollution in shaping the landscape.

Describe

EFFECTS OF HUMAN PROCESSES IN SHAPING THE LANDSCAPE

Including, but not limited to:

  • Building new homes
    • Examples of how building new homes shapes landscapes – changes contour of the land, changes to the flow of water (e.g., impervious cover, landscaping), addition of non-native plants that change watering requirements, stresses to water tables with additional users
  • Conservation
    • Examples of how conservation shapes the landscape – replacing non-native plants with plants native to the region, minimizing lawn to conserve water, planting more trees, creating green zones
  • Pollution
    • Examples of pollution that can shape the landscape – oil spills pollute water and ground, use of fossil fuels leads to increased air pollution, waste disposal leads to materials added to landfills
  • Other possible processes that affect the landscape:
    • Clear land, build roads and houses, channel water with dams, plant non-native plants and remove native plants, control fires, bring in non-native animal species (cattle and the rise of prickly pear), conserve resources, use technology to measure and control air and water pollution

Human processes – processes which occur as humans interact with the environment. Examples of human processes include urbanization (city development), migration, economic development, settlement, and the formation of political systems. These processes have short-term and long-term impacts on the landscape. As humans pollute the environment or construct houses and cities, the environment suffers both immediate and long term consequences. Natural resources destroyed by overuse, such as oil, cannot be quickly replaced. People attempt to control human processes through regulation and modifications that are intended to reduce the impact of physical changes on the environment, such as building diversion ditches to reduce flooding, or installing tornado warning systems.

3.5 Geography. The student understands the concepts of location, distance, and direction on maps and globes. The student is expected to:
3.5A Use cardinal and intermediate directions to locate places on maps and globes such as the Rocky Mountains, the Mississippi River, and Austin, Texas, in relation to the local community.

Use

CARDINAL AND INTERMEDIATE DIRECTIONS TO LOCATE PLACES ON MAP AND GLOBES

Including, but not limited to:

  • Four Cardinal Directions – north, south, east, and west are the cardinal directions because these are the primary points on the compass.
  • Intermediate Directions – intermediate directions are the directions mid-way between the cardinal points on a compass. Intermediate directions are southwest, southeast, northwest, and northeast.
  • Places to  locate in relation to the local community:
    • Rocky Mountains
    • Mississippi River
    • Austin, Texas
3.5C Identify and use the compass rose, grid system, and symbols to locate places on maps and globes.

Identify, Use

MAP ELEMENTS TO LOCATE PLACES ON A MAP AND/OR GLOBE

Including, but not limited to:

  • Compass rose – a circle or similar design that includes graduated degrees or quarter points (intermediate directions), printed on a chart or map for reference. The compass rose usually shows both magnetic and true directions. A compass rose shows the orientation of a map on Earth. Geographers use a compass rose or the north arrow when drawing maps. 
  • Grid system – a network of horizontal and vertical lines used to locate points on a map or a chart by means of coordinates. The grid system often used on state highway maps consists of columns and rows labeled with letters and numbers. A place identified as G25 in the index is found at the intersection of "column" G and "row" 25 (or vice versa). Latitude and longitude is the primary grid system used on maps. 
  • Map symbols – symbols may be simple drawings, letters, and shortened words, colored shapes which save space and make it easier to read a map. Usually included in the map’s legend.
3.5D Create and interpret maps of places and regions that contain map elements, including a title, compass rose, legend, scale, and grid system.

Create, Interpret

MAPS OF PLACES AND REGIONS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Create maps of places and regions containing a title, compass rose, legend, scale and grid system
    • Examples of maps of places to be created: local community, regions of Texas, regions of the U.S.
  • Interpret maps of places and regions containing a title, compass rose, legend, scale, and grid system
    • Examples of maps of places to be interpreted: local community, Texas, U.S.
  • Include map elements
    • Title
    • Compass rose (orientation)
    • Legend – an explanatory list of the symbols appearing on a chart or map is a legend. Sometimes, this is called a key because it is key to understanding what a map is saying.
    • Scale
    • Grid system
3 Social studies skills.
3.17 Social studies skills. The student applies critical-thinking skills to organize and use information acquired from a variety of valid sources, including electronic technology. The student is expected to:
3.17A Research information, including historical and current events, and geographic data, about the community and world, using a variety of valid print, oral, visual, and Internet resources.

Research

INFORMATION ABOUT THE COMMUNITY AND WORLD USING A VARIETY OF SOURCES

Including, but not limited to:

  • Print sources (e.g., newspapers, books, and periodicals)
  • Oral sources (e.g., conversations, interviews)
  • Visual sources (e.g., maps, pictures, photographs, charts and graphs, film documentaries, and news reports)
  • Internet sources (e.g., internet searches, databases)
3.17E Interpret and create visuals, including graphs, charts, tables, timelines, illustrations, and maps.

Interpret, Create

VISUALS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Graphs
  • Charts
  • Tables
  • Timelines
  • Illustrations
  • Maps
3.18 Social studies skills. The student communicates in written, oral, and visual forms. The student is expected to:
3.18B Use technology to create written and visual material such as stories, poems, pictures, maps, and graphic organizers to express ideas.

Use

TECHNOLOGY

Including, but not limited to:

  • Technology
  • Examples: Word, PowerPoint, online databases, search engines, web pages

Create

WRITTEN AND VISUAL MATERIAL TO EXPRESS IDEAS

Including, but not limited to:

  • Written Material
    • Stories
    • Poems
    • Graphic organizers
  • Visual Material
    • Pictures
    • Maps
  • Graphic organizers
3.18C Use standard grammar, spelling, sentence structure, and punctuation.

Use

WRITTEN SKILLS TO COMMUNICATE

Including, but not limited to:

  • Standard grammar
  • Spelling
  • Sentence structure
  • Punctuation
The English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS), as required by 19 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 74, Subchapter A, §74.4, outline English language proficiency level descriptors and student expectations for English language learners (ELLs). School districts are required to implement ELPS as an integral part of each subject in the required curriculum.

School districts shall provide instruction in the knowledge and skills of the foundation and enrichment curriculum in a manner that is linguistically accommodated commensurate with the student’s levels of English language proficiency to ensure that the student learns the knowledge and skills in the required curriculum.


School districts shall provide content-based instruction including the cross-curricular second language acquisition essential knowledge and skills in subsection (c) of the ELPS in a manner that is linguistically accommodated to help the student acquire English language proficiency.

http://ritter.tea.state.tx.us/rules/tac/chapter074/ch074a.html#74.4 


Choose appropriate ELPS to support instruction.

ELPS# Subsection C: Cross-curricular second language acquisition essential knowledge and skills.
Click here to collapse or expand this section.
ELPS.c.1 The ELL uses language learning strategies to develop an awareness of his or her own learning processes in all content areas. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across the foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.1A use prior knowledge and experiences to understand meanings in English
ELPS.c.1B monitor oral and written language production and employ self-corrective techniques or other resources
ELPS.c.1C use strategic learning techniques such as concept mapping, drawing, memorizing, comparing, contrasting, and reviewing to acquire basic and grade-level vocabulary
ELPS.c.1D speak using learning strategies such as requesting assistance, employing non-verbal cues, and using synonyms and circumlocution (conveying ideas by defining or describing when exact English words are not known)
ELPS.c.1E internalize new basic and academic language by using and reusing it in meaningful ways in speaking and writing activities that build concept and language attainment
ELPS.c.1F use accessible language and learn new and essential language in the process
ELPS.c.1G demonstrate an increasing ability to distinguish between formal and informal English and an increasing knowledge of when to use each one commensurate with grade-level learning expectations
ELPS.c.1H develop and expand repertoire of learning strategies such as reasoning inductively or deductively, looking for patterns in language, and analyzing sayings and expressions commensurate with grade-level learning expectations.
ELPS.c.2 The ELL listens to a variety of speakers including teachers, peers, and electronic media to gain an increasing level of comprehension of newly acquired language in all content areas. ELLs may be at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, or advanced high stage of English language acquisition in listening. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across the foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.2A distinguish sounds and intonation patterns of English with increasing ease
ELPS.c.2B recognize elements of the English sound system in newly acquired vocabulary such as long and short vowels, silent letters, and consonant clusters
ELPS.c.2C learn new language structures, expressions, and basic and academic vocabulary heard during classroom instruction and interactions
ELPS.c.2D monitor understanding of spoken language during classroom instruction and interactions and seek clarification as needed
ELPS.c.2E use visual, contextual, and linguistic support to enhance and confirm understanding of increasingly complex and elaborated spoken language
ELPS.c.2F listen to and derive meaning from a variety of media such as audio tape, video, DVD, and CD ROM to build and reinforce concept and language attainment
ELPS.c.2G understand the general meaning, main points, and important details of spoken language ranging from situations in which topics, language, and contexts are familiar to unfamiliar
ELPS.c.2H understand implicit ideas and information in increasingly complex spoken language commensurate with grade-level learning expectations
ELPS.c.2I demonstrate listening comprehension of increasingly complex spoken English by following directions, retelling or summarizing spoken messages, responding to questions and requests, collaborating with peers, and taking notes commensurate with content and grade-level needs.
ELPS.c.3 The ELL speaks in a variety of modes for a variety of purposes with an awareness of different language registers (formal/informal) using vocabulary with increasing fluency and accuracy in language arts and all content areas. ELLs may be at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, or advanced high stage of English language acquisition in speaking. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across the foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.3A practice producing sounds of newly acquired vocabulary such as long and short vowels, silent letters, and consonant clusters to pronounce English words in a manner that is increasingly comprehensible
ELPS.c.3B expand and internalize initial English vocabulary by learning and using high-frequency English words necessary for identifying and describing people, places, and objects, by retelling simple stories and basic information represented or supported by pictures, and by learning and using routine language needed for classroom communication
ELPS.c.3C speak using a variety of grammatical structures, sentence lengths, sentence types, and connecting words with increasing accuracy and ease as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.3D speak using grade-level content area vocabulary in context to internalize new English words and build academic language proficiency
ELPS.c.3E share information in cooperative learning interactions
ELPS.c.3F ask and give information ranging from using a very limited bank of high-frequency, high-need, concrete vocabulary, including key words and expressions needed for basic communication in academic and social contexts, to using abstract and content-based vocabulary during extended speaking assignments
ELPS.c.3G express opinions, ideas, and feelings ranging from communicating single words and short phrases to participating in extended discussions on a variety of social and grade-appropriate academic topics
ELPS.c.3H narrate, describe, and explain with increasing specificity and detail as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.3I adapt spoken language appropriately for formal and informal purposes
ELPS.c.3J respond orally to information presented in a wide variety of print, electronic, audio, and visual media to build and reinforce concept and language attainment.
ELPS.c.4 The ELL reads a variety of texts for a variety of purposes with an increasing level of comprehension in all content areas. ELLs may be at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, or advanced high stage of English language acquisition in reading. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across the foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. For Kindergarten and Grade 1, certain of these student expectations apply to text read aloud for students not yet at the stage of decoding written text. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.4A learn relationships between sounds and letters of the English language and decode (sound out) words using a combination of skills such as recognizing sound-letter relationships and identifying cognates, affixes, roots, and base words
ELPS.c.4B recognize directionality of English reading such as left to right and top to bottom
ELPS.c.4C develop basic sight vocabulary, derive meaning of environmental print, and comprehend English vocabulary and language structures used routinely in written classroom materials
ELPS.c.4D use prereading supports such as graphic organizers, illustrations, and pretaught topic-related vocabulary and other prereading activities to enhance comprehension of written text
ELPS.c.4E read linguistically accommodated content area material with a decreasing need for linguistic accommodations as more English is learned
ELPS.c.4F use visual and contextual support and support from peers and teachers to read grade-appropriate content area text, enhance and confirm understanding, and develop vocabulary, grasp of language structures, and background knowledge needed to comprehend increasingly challenging language
ELPS.c.4G demonstrate comprehension of increasingly complex English by participating in shared reading, retelling or summarizing material, responding to questions, and taking notes commensurate with content area and grade level needs
ELPS.c.4H read silently with increasing ease and comprehension for longer periods
ELPS.c.4I demonstrate English comprehension and expand reading skills by employing basic reading skills such as demonstrating understanding of supporting ideas and details in text and graphic sources, summarizing text, and distinguishing main ideas from details commensurate with content area needs
ELPS.c.4J demonstrate English comprehension and expand reading skills by employing inferential skills such as predicting, making connections between ideas, drawing inferences and conclusions from text and graphic sources, and finding supporting text evidence commensurate with content area needs
ELPS.c.4K demonstrate English comprehension and expand reading skills by employing analytical skills such as evaluating written information and performing critical analyses commensurate with content area and grade-level needs.
ELPS.c.5 The ELL writes in a variety of forms with increasing accuracy to effectively address a specific purpose and audience in all content areas. ELLs may be at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, or advanced high stage of English language acquisition in writing. In order for the ELL to meet grade-level learning expectations across foundation and enrichment curriculum, all instruction delivered in English must be linguistically accommodated (communicated, sequenced, and scaffolded) commensurate with the student's level of English language proficiency. For Kindergarten and Grade 1, certain of these student expectations do not apply until the student has reached the stage of generating original written text using a standard writing system. The student is expected to:
ELPS.c.5A learn relationships between sounds and letters of the English language to represent sounds when writing in English
ELPS.c.5B write using newly acquired basic vocabulary and content-based grade-level vocabulary
ELPS.c.5C spell familiar English words with increasing accuracy, and employ English spelling patterns and rules with increasing accuracy as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.5D edit writing for standard grammar and usage, including subject-verb agreement, pronoun agreement, and appropriate verb tenses commensurate with grade-level expectations as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.5E employ increasingly complex grammatical structures in content area writing commensurate with grade-level expectations, such as:
ELPS.c.5F write using a variety of grade-appropriate sentence lengths, patterns, and connecting words to combine phrases, clauses, and sentences in increasingly accurate ways as more English is acquired
ELPS.c.5G narrate, describe, and explain with increasing specificity and detail to fulfill content area writing needs as more English is acquired.
Last Updated 05/23/2018
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