Houghton Mifflin Social Studies
What Your Child is Learning in Unit 1: "People and Places"
Your child will explore California's geography and the history of its first settlers. The first chapter gives an overview of the state's four major regions: coast, Central Valley, mountain, and desert. In the second chapter, your child will learn how this diverse environment helped support the cultures of the earliest Californians.
Activities You Can Do at Home to Support Your Child's Learning
Chapter 1 Geography of California
- Find a book at the library that shows some of John Muir's photographs of nature and look through it with your child. Take turns finding different photos that show each of the major regions-coast, Central Valley, mountains, and deserts.
- With your child, explore a problem that results when the needs of different groups conflict with each other. For example, you might talk about how the need for automobiles to travel to work conflicts with the need for cleaner air. How can citizens work out solutions to problems like these?
- Encourage your child to read a book about one of California's important resources like forests, or about important minerals like copper.
Chapter 2 The First Californians
- Working together, find information about Native Americans that live or have lived in your region. You might want to find books in the library, or contact a local historical society for more information. Discuss with your child the impact Native Americans have had--and continue to have--on California culture.
- Play a game of "Family Archaeologist" with your child. First, choose three items from your home that represent some aspect of your life and experiences. Your child then pretends to be an archaeologist from the future and carefully examines each item. What understanding of Californians in the 1990s can he or she get from these items? What can be learned about this specific family or individual? After discussing, switch roles and have your child choose three items that represent some aspect of his or her life for you to examine.
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