Do you know the capital of South Dakota? How about where Vermont is located on a map? Ask a fifth grader at St. Paul’s, and they’ll be able to tell you! Beginning at the end of each January, the fifth-grade students embark on a journey to learn the location of all fifty states and their capitals. Over the course of five weeks, students are progressively tested on the location of ten new states and their capitals. While this begins as a daunting task, many students come to enjoy the process of learning this new information. There are many fun activities to do to help the fifth-graders learn their states and capitals. We listen to a fun song, make flashcards, use the iPads and Chromebooks, and, perhaps the most fun thing of all, utilize the big, painted map located on our blacktop. Students love racing each other to find the location of states on that painted map, and it gives them a nice break from simply studying in the classroom.
While learning about the states ends up being fun, it all culminates into the fifth-grade research report: the state report. After spending five weeks learning about all fifty states, students select one state to thoroughly research. Before they even begin their research, students have a baseline knowledge about their state due to the time spent learning about all of the states. Learning the location of the fifty states allows students to better understand the geography of our country. They have a better understanding of terms like “midwest” or “East coast”. This proves to be beneficial not only for their future, but also throughout their History classes here at St. Paul’s. So, the next time you are stuck on naming the capital of a state, or trying to find one on the map, you can pop by fifth grade and ask one of the students for help!