McKinley Elementary

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School Starts August 19th @ 8 AM, 1:15 PM dismissal
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Hands On Learning Through Art

As part of their unit on California Regions and Native Tribes, the third graders in Ms. Luttrell’s class made regional maps. The maps depicted California’s four main regions – desert, mountain, coast, and valley.


Each student received a blank map of California and the surrounding states. They began by sketching the California regions onto their maps, using a regional map as a reference.


To sculpt California’s many mountains and valleys, students brought in salt dough that they had made at home. The geographers in E1 carefully studied physical maps of California to ensure their maps’ accuracy.


When the salt dough dried, it was time to paint. Students once again sketched the outlines of their regions onto their maps and began to paint with care. They used blue for the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, yellow for the coast region, green for the Central Valley, orange for the desert region, and purple for the mountain region. For the surrounding states, students mixed their own shades of brown.


For the final touches, students added a title, map key, and labels. Some used the classroom carpet – which, conveniently, is a map of the United States – to help them accurately label the surrounding states.


This project would not have been possible without the help of the families who made salt dough at home. We are especially grateful to those that brought in extra salt dough for their peers.