Teaching Relative Location

Being at a Title I school is tough. Most of the kids have little knowledge about where they live, many don't get the support they need at home, and most of them have never even been outside their own little towns. It breaks my heart. I took a few students to the movies last year as a reward, and two out of the three said they had never been to a theater. I almost cried. I showered them with popcorn and soda until their little hearts were content.

Last week, we began reviewing where we live. We reviewed the continents and oceans (which many of them couldn't recall from second grade--I've got my work cut out for me...), we talked about what continent we live on, what country we live in, and which state, county, and city we live in.

Since third grade focuses on South Carolina history, I really want them to have an understanding of our state, what it looks like, WHERE it is in relation to our country, our continent, and the world. We looked at the shape of South Carolina and brainstormed a list of things it looks like. They said a triangle, pizza, a pie, an eagle head, an ice cream cone, etc...You get the idea.

Then, I had them get in groups of three or four and make a tableaux of South Carolina. Here is what they did.

They did such a good job! After this activity, I had them take a sticky note and draw a picture of SC without looking at a map. Inside the picture, they had to write two things they learned about our state. We still have a lot of work to do understanding our relative location, but I am ready for the challenge! I have a bunch of eager children and I'm going to give them everything I can!


  1. LOVE THIS IDEA!! We are working in relative location in my third grade class too!! THANKS.

  2. Haha aw so cute. My kids generally have a bit of life experience but still relative anything is tough for them haha

  3. What a great idea!!! I love activities that get kids up and moving!

    Thanks for the award!!!!

  4. Great idea! Looks like they had fun and that will be very concrete for them! I need to remember to do more things like this in my planning!

  5. I love this idea!! I'm going to have to find a way to incorporate this into my social studies this year, although wish I had thought to do it last year when I taught 3rd. I teach Lancaster (near Rock Hill/Charlotte area). Thanks for the great ideas. :)

  6. I cute! And I love that kinesthetic activity :)


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