Title:What is the Value? #103

National Standard: 3 How to analyze the spatial organization of people, places, and environments on Earth's surface.

State Standard: 13

Teaching Level: E

Lesson Introduction: This lesson is intended to be used after reading the book, A River Ran Wild.

Objective/Purpose: Students will use information from the book, A River Ran Wild, by Lynne Cherry to formulate estimations of the distribution of people and wildlife in the Nashua River Valley over a period of 300 years. Students will display their information in the form of a graph.

Materials: masking tape in two colors (red & white), 10 dried beans per group of three students, 10 pieces of macaroni per group of three students, sentence strips to be used for labels, markers, graph paper for student use.


1)Read book, A River Ran Wild, to class.

2)On chart paper identify and record the names of the groups of people who lived in the Nashua River Valley during the following time periods: early 1600's, late 1600's, 1700's, 1800's, 1900's-1960. Possible labels would be: early 1600's- native people, late 1600's- English settlers, 1700's- farmers, 1800's- small factory owners, workers and recreation seekers, 1900's - 1960- industrial factory owners and workers.

3)Discuss the affect each group had on the river valley, the plant life, the animals, the river and the land. Discuss how each group valued the river valley.

4)Write the group names on sentence strips and lay them on the floor in sequential order.

5)Distribute the beans and macaroni to each group. Tell each group that the beans represent people and the macaroni represents their value of the river valley. Explain that ten beans equals a large number of people and ten pieces of macaroni equals a high respect and value of the river valley.

6)Allow students time to discuss with their group members how many beans they would place above the native people label. Ask one member of each group to lay their beans end to end in a vertical line above the label. When each group has done this place the white tape beside the bean line and measure it out. Have each group send up a member to retrieve the beans and leave the tape line.

7)Allow students time to discuss with their group members how many pieces of macaroni will be needed to represent their perception of the native people's value of the river valley. Repeat the exercise as in 6, but use the red tape.

8)Continue steps 6 and 7 for each label.

9)Next determine a key for the graph and a title.

10)Discuss the conclusions students draw from this graph. Ask them to use examples from the book to validate their opinions.

Evaluation/Assessment: Student participation. Teacher observation.

Extension/Enrichment: Have students represent the information in a 2-dimensional graph. Relate this information to current data regarding the region in which the students live.

Reflection: How successful was this lesson? Did all students benefit? Were there any surprises? What might you do differently another time? Please note any changes that will make this lesson more effective and useful in the future and pass them along to the NHGA. We appreciate your comments.
Thank you.
The authors.

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