Houghton Mifflin Social Studies
Oh, California

Exploring California's Regions

Objective: Students describe California's four regions by looking for movie locations.

What You Need:

Suggested Time:
3-4 hours over a period of 2-3 days

Building Background:
Review the concepts of region, climate, and geographical features with students. Challenge them to define or give examples for each, and list their responses on the board. Then ask students to identify California's four regions. List the regions on the board. Have volunteers add one or two words to describe each region. Tell students they will work in small groups to research each region more thoroughly, and report their findings to the class.

What To Do:

1. Tell students they have been assigned the job of finding locations to shoot a new Hollywood movie in California. The movie script requires settings that show a wide variety of geographic features. Divide students into four groups and assign each group one of California's regions: Mountains, Coast, Central Valley, and Desert.

2. Each group will research and identify the climate, geographic features, and one or two special features of their assigned region. Set aside time for students to use the school or local library to find the information. Have them choose one student to record their findings on the California's Regions map.

3. When each group has completed their research, have them transfer their information to their maps. Encourage groups to show the information in visually interesting ways: by coloring the maps, listing the information on the side and drawing leader lines to their assigned region, making a decorative border, etc.

4. Have each group choose a spokesperson to report the group's findings. They can use their maps as part of their reports. Encourage them to use the movie location as a way of organizing their information: for example: "In this region a movie company would find a climate of . . ." and "Geographical features the movie might use could include . . . ."

Write the name of each region on chart paper. Ask volunteers to list or draw one or two activities that can be done in each region. (For example: skiing in the mountains, surfing in the ocean, etc.) Use this discussion to help students understand the varied climates and geographic features available in one state.


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