(We Live in a family, a neighborhood, a city, and the United States)

By:  Ramona Hittle
       Indianapolis Public School #105
       Indianapolis, Indiana

Grade Level:  1-2

     This is an introductory lesson for the entire class.  Discuss as a group the various groups to which the students belong,
     such as, family, neighborhoods, and city.  Then, introduce the students to concept of belonging to the United States and
     to North America with Mexico and Canada as our neighbors.   You can then begin a study of our whole country with the

Learning Objectives:
     The students should be able to...
          a)  identify the continent of North America on a map and on a globe.
          b)  identify the United States as part of North America;  also, on a map and on a globe.
          c)  name the countries that are neighbors of the United States:  Mexico and Canada.
          d)  recognize the map term:  inset.

Resources Needed:
      Overhead projector, transparencies of North America and of  the United States, balloons, crayons, pencils, individual
      maps of North America, globe(s), and the textbook  Neighborhoods by HBJ.


  1. Ask the students to turn to the contents of Neighborhoods.
  2. Recall the different groups to which they belong.
  3. Indicate they are ready to begin Chapter 5.  Read the title together.  Discuss.
  4. Ask to what larger group they belong.  ("Our Country")
  5. Ask what the name of our country is.
  6. Turn to page 106, and examine the map of the U.S.
  7. Ask what is in the boxes at the bottom of the page.  Then, explain the boxes showing Alaska and Hawaii.
  8. Ask where the U.S. is located in the boxes.  Put the map of North America on the overhead.  Ask the students if they see the U.S. on this map.  Explain that is is a map of North America.  Have a volunteer locate the U.S.on the screen with a pointer.  Do the same with Alaska and Hawaii.
  9. Discuss our neighbors Canada and Mexico.  Place 3 deflated balloons on the North America map on the overhead.  Discuss how difficult it is to see the U.S. on this map.    It would much easier to see the U.S. if the balloon was blown up.  Take the balloon from the U.S. portion, and blow it up.  Ask if it is easier to see.  Since it should be easier to see,  then, place the transparency of  the United States on the overhead on top of the North America map.  Ask what part of the  U.S. is not blown up yet (Alaska and Hawaii).  Explain that they are not connected to the main part of the U.S. so they are placed in little boxes called insets.  Look at the insets in the book.  Have the class identify Alaska and Hawaii on the North America map and/or on the United States map.   (The book publisher did this in the book.)
  10. Pass out outline maps of North America.  Ask the students to point to the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii.
  11. Have the students color the U.S. (including Alaska and Hawaii) using their favorite colors.  Write the names of our neighboring countries in pencil.

     Results of the outline maps of North America the students colored and identified countries/states.

Limitations & Modifications:
     For students who cannot remember some of the boundaries, leave the transparency on the overhead, so, that they can
     turn it on and take a peek.

     Neighborhoods;  HBJ Social Studies;  1985, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers;  Chicago.
     Map Reading United States:  A Milliken Full Color Transparency Duplicating Book;  Milliken;  1970, Milliken Publishing
          Co.;  Missouri.