Where in the World is Rubber?
Grades: Grades 5-8
Author: Brent Walters
Students will learn about the various people and places associated with those areas that produce natural rubber. They will be able to define and identify specific regions using human and physical characteristics.
What should students know as a result of this lesson?
- Students will understand key aspects of the social, political and economic realities of a specific country/region where natural rubber is produced
What should the students be able to do as a result of this lesson?
- Students should be able to identify on a map the location of major physical and human features of a specific geographic country/region
- Students should be able to present a detailed description of a particular rubber-producing country/region
- Computers with Internet access and the ability to print
- Research worksheet
- Poster board
- Construction paper
- Other appropriate art supplies for creating a poster
Students will be exploring various countries where natural rubber is produced. If used as a stand-alone lesson, teacher will introduce the topic by showing a number of rubber products (sports balls, gaskets, rubber gloves, etc) and ask students to call out other rubber-based items as they think of them. The teacher will compile this list on the board at the front of the room. Teacher will then pre-assess what the students know about rubber and from where it comes.
The teacher may make a list of the following countries/areas on the board, displayed on an overhead, etc: Brazil, The Congo Basin (Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gabon), Sri Lanka, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Liberia, Nigeria, Cote d' Ivoire. Students should again call out information they know to be true (or believe is true) about these countries. The teacher will keep a list and may at this time, or after the students have exhausted their suggestions, group the responses into various categories. Society, Politics, Economy, and Geography would be good categories to include. This list should be saved until the project is completed as students will then be given an opportunity to correct any false information given in this initial effort.
Assessment: Teacher will use guided questioning to determine what information the students possess on this topic. This is an important step in the Teaching for Conceptual Change process.
Working in pairs, students will be assigned a country from the list above to research online or through other sources provided by the teacher and/or library. Students will be assisted in their research by adhering to a guided worksheet that will ask them to look up and provide specific information about their topic. It must be stressed that the worksheet is merely a tool to assist in research. It should only be viewed as contributing to part of the research. (For example, the worksheet does not ask for any pictures, references, country flag, map, or many descriptors of culture, yet students should be encouraged to include such things on their poster.) The goal for each student pair is to gather and absorb wide-ranging information that will give them a broad scope of knowledge about the social, political and economic makeup of their assigned country.
Use the Akron Global Polymer Academy's Interactive World Map to explore the rubber-producing regions of the world.
Assessment: Students will turn in their research worksheets at the end of the project, along with their posters. However, during the Exploration stage the teacher will only monitor student research to ensure students are properly pacing themselves.
Here students will be asked to perform two specific tasks. The first is to take the information they gathered in the research stage and display it on a poster board using a variety of media (printed word, images). Each student pair will create a poster that demonstrates a strong foundational understanding of the cultural background of their assigned country.
The second task each student pair must perform is to present their poster to the class. This presentation must cover the specified criteria of the assignment and will serve as an opportunity for students to demonstrate their knowledge of the topic.
Assessment: Teacher will assess both the poster and the presentation. The students must understand that both are contributing to their score on the project. The poster will provide the teacher a means by which to gauge the factual understanding of the students. Specifically, student posters must highlight information relating to social, political and economic aspects of their country. The teacher will evaluate student content knowledge during the oral presentations. As needed, the teacher will pose questions to the students in order to give them a greater opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge. With respect to the actual appearance of the posters, artistic expression is subjective and the teacher must determine what value to give this aspect of the project.
Teacher will engage the students in a discussion after the presentations have been completed. Through guided questioning, the students must make observations and must compare and contrast the different areas that produce rubber. They will be reminded of their earlier discussion and the list that was created at the beginning of the lesson. Students will have an opportunity to identify how their knowledge of the topic has changed their perceptions and may now, with more guided questioning by the teacher, alter their original list of information about rubber-producing countries. At the conclusion of the class, the teacher will show a video about natural rubber production (below).
Assessment: Students must write a journal entry reflecting on this experience. They are expected to discuss their perceptions and level of knowledge that existed before beginning this activity and must then describe briefly what they learned and explain how their perceptions changed through the course of the project.
Best Teaching Practices
- Using writing in class
- Teaching for conceptual change
Alignment with Standards
Common Core Standards:
- RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying our experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.
- WHST.6-8.2 Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/experiments, or technical processes.
- I: Culture and Cultural Diversity Grades 5-8
- III: People, Places and Environments Grades 5-8
- IX: Global Connections Grades 5-8
- Grades 6-8 Social Studies Benchmarks A and B
Teachers should familiarize themselves with the research worksheet and available resources on this website:
Students should adhere to standard safety practices as they would when dealing with a basic art project.
Gaining a greater understanding of the world in which we live has far-reaching applications for anyone. Exercises such as this project only serve to further shape the way one views the world and gives a greater perspective on life and how we fit into our society and the world as a whole.
Ongoing throughout the learning cycle.
Grouping Suggestions: Try to group students in pairs.
Pacing/Suggested Time: Engagement and Exploration will take upwards of two- 40 minute class periods, depending on student research skills. Poster creation will take another 40 minute class period, and yet another 40 minute period should be devoted to presentations. It is up to the teacher's discretion as to how long to engage in the final discussion, and it could very well be adapted to fit instead within a homework writing assignment should the teacher chose to do so.