Building Social Studies Skills
Tips for Parents
Watch the television news together on occasion. Let the events on thenews become a basis for conversation. You might also watch documentaries abouthistorical figures with your child; biography is a good basis for helpingchildren learn about history.
Look at photographs together. Family pictures showing you and your child atdifferent ages are a good choice. Ask, "What can you remember about theseearlier times? What is different now?"
Look at photographs or children in other parts of the world. See whetheryour child knows where these children come from, and then ask him or her to tellyou about the different countries the children come from.
Social studies in the third grade includes learning more about maps andvarious regions of the world. You might ask your child what countries he or sheknows about. Can your child find these countries on a globe or a map?
Third-graders study the globe. Ask your child to pick out the continents --Asia, Africa, South America, North America, Europe, Australia, Antarctica. Makea game of it, taking turns to find the continents. (You can do the same thingwith the oceans.)
With a map or atlas, see if your child can use map coordinates (these arethe guides maps have on the edges, usually numbers on one side and letters onanother, rather than latitude and longitude.)
Ask what scientists, carpenters, mechanics, lawyers, plumbers, physicians,and nurses do. Take turns thinking of various occupations, perhaps starting withpeople you know or characters in books.
Children celebrate several different holidays in school. President's Day,Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, and in some settingsCinco de Mayo receive the most attention. These celebrations are goodopportunities to ask your child what he or she has learned about the presidents,Martin Luther King, Jr., and various national traditions.
Ask your child to share with you what he or she has learned about differentethnic and cultural groups in and around your community. What has your childlearned about African Americans, Hispanics, Vietnamese, and Cambodians?
Ask your child to describe how a skyscraper is built, how a car is made,how wheat is harvested, how bread is made, how oil is carried from one part ofthe world to another, and so on. You will learn about your child's growingunderstanding of the world.
Reprinted from 101 Educational Conversations with Your 3rd Grader by Vito Perrone, published by Chelsea House Publishers.
Copyright 1994 by Chelsea House Publishers, a division of Main Line Book Co. All rights reserved.