Woody Guthrie Elementary School Curriculum
Scale on Route 66
here for text only version
a thematic approach to teaching, this project braids together social
studies, geography and math. Students will be making a map of places
Woody traveled and wrote about in his songs. The map will be used
to teach the concept of scale. The perimeter of the map will be
surrounded by song titles the class has learned to sing. Important
features, such as the area covered by the dust bowl, rivers and
states will be shaded in and labeled.
your students experience joy and patience in creating a long term
resource, adding states and songs as the weeks of your unit on Woody
Guthrie's life and times unfolds. This can be used as an ongoing
activity and an addition to the students' portfolios.
a blank map of the states copied onto strong paper that will withstand
lots of handling.
may wish to glue the map onto construction paper to give it more
body. Prepare materials for teaching scale on a map so students
will be able to compute distances traveled while driving on Route
66. These will include yarn or string and rulers. Chubby colored
felt tip pens will be used as well as thin line black ink pens (Pilot
brand pens are great for maps).
on the developmental age of your students, teach the concept of
scale using unconventional measuring materials like yarn or string
to track the distance across sections of Route 66. Or with students
that are ready for more abstract concepts, jump directly into using
rulers to see how much distance was covered using the scale on your
map. Play with the concept of scale, posing questions like, "How
far is it from Amarillo, Texas to Winslow, Arizona? Is that too
much to drive in one day? What is the total distance covered from
the beginning of your trip in Oklahoma City to Winslow?"
Students can compose their own word problems in a math journal and
work on them with a partner, or trade them with another student.
addition to using the map to teach scale, use it while reading literature
that relates to this unit. For example, while reading This Land
is Your Land by Kathy Jakobsen, label the "Redwood Forest" and
"the Gulf Stream water" on the map. While doing a class read-aloud
with sections of Elizabeth Partridge's This Land Was Made For
You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie, label Woody's
birthplace and the places he lived. As much as possible, make authentic
connections among the literature, geography and math so this map
becomes a companion to the students during this unit. (See Literature
you learn a new Woody Guthrie song, write the title on the map near
the area where it makes the most sense. After some time, the children
will come to treasure their maps as a portfolio of places, songs
An example of a scale map from Theresa Kubasak's second grade