Where is that Place?

Developed by Susan Frack and Scott Prickett


Nebraska is a medium-size state with several very different geographical regions in it. Young students should be aware of its place in the United States as well as their place within the state. They should begin to be aware that everything in Nebraska is not the same, including the weather.

By choosing another site to compare and contrast with their own school, they will begin to see the differences within their own state and learn to appreciate these differences as well. They should investigate: elevation, topography, nearness to water, land use, peoples' jobs, and the weather.

As they compare the differences in weather between the 2 locations, they will also learn some of the things that a weatherman does to prepare his forecast for his weather report.


Nat. Sci. Obj. 1. Explain the difference between a country, state, and city.
B, C 2.  Record the weather conditions for their school and 1 other Nebraska school.
D, F 3. Compare and contrast the many features of their school with 1 other Nebraska school.
  4.  Learn to prepare a weather report from the information gathered from the weather equipment.

Nebraska Frameworks Obj.: F-5, G-1, G-5


  • wall size United States map--available from Conservation and Survey
  • wall size topographic map of Nebraska--USGS #40096-G6-ST-500, available from Conservation and Survey
  • laminated map of Nebraska to write daily weather conditions--use a road map
  • dri erase markers
  • 8 ½ x 11 size United States map, available in a Social Studies textbook
  • poster paper
  • markers
  • pictures of different scenes across/around the state of Nebraska--NEBRASKAland, Magazine is a good source

MOTIVATIONAL SET: Find as many pictures of different scenes across the state of Nebraska as you can. Be sure they are representative of your own areas as well as the areas you have chosen to compare/contrast with. Put all the pictures on the board and ask the students to look at them and make guesses of where these places are. Chances are good that you will get many different places named. Hopefully, you will get some international locations such as Mexico, Switzerland as well as some more specific locations such as  hadron, Colorado, Grandpa's farm. Write all of the guesses down as children make them. Then tell the children that you will do some research and studying to figure out just where these places are located and what makes them different from one another.


  1. Put up large maps of the United States and Nebraska. On the United States map, highlight Nebraska. On the Nebraska map, highlight your own area and the 1 other STEDII location you going to compare/contrast your area with. Establish with the children, using the maps, the difference between a country, a state, and a city.
  2. Give each student a copy of the 8 ½ x 11 map of the United States and have them color in Nebraska. Then have them put different colored stars or dots on your location and the location of the other school you are studying. You can also label the map with the names: United States, Nebraska and the 2 city names.


Make flash cards to review the concepts and names.

Using the laminated map of Nebraska, put up the daily weather conditions for your school and your comparison school. You can write on the map or you can write on index cards and tape them to the map.


Talk about how you learned theses conditions--collected data with your own equipment, used the computer, listened to the radio, read a paper, etc. These are the same ways that a professional weather man finds out the information for his daily weather report that is seen and/or heard on television, radio, and in the newspaper. So in some ways, your students are actually practicing weathermen. You can really let the kids "ham" this up and give actual live reports when they post the weather on the map . Some students will really enjoy this acting!!

If you write on the actual laminated map, you will need to also make a chart to keep track of the daily conditions in both locations to use in the next activity. If you use the index cards, just date them and save them.

Go back to the picture collection and get out the pictures that would be representative of your area and your comparison school's area. Separate the 2 groups. Using a bulletin board or wall of the classroom, divide it into 2 vertical halves. Label one side, "Our Town_________," and the other side, __________town. Put up the pictures on each side to begin the comparing/contrasting. Put up headings to help group information under as the students study the areas. Headings could include:

  • What does the land look like?
  • What do the plants, trees, etc., look like?
  • What kinds of jobs do people have here?
  • What bodies of water are nearby?
  • What business, factories are near by?
  • What is the weather like?

You will need to exchange information with your comparison school. Children can communicate with letters, E-mail, video tapes, etc.

After completing this Info Board, look for causes and effects. For example, there are many fields of wheat around this area. There is also a mill in this area to turn the wheat into flour. Town B had higher temperatures than our town. Town B also has lots of concrete sidewalks, many more asphalt streets, and big buildings than our town has. These features could soak up more of the sun's energy and help make it warmer than our town. Help the children to look for these kinds of items to get a better understanding of the differences and similarities of the 2 areas.


Students should work in pairs to create a booklet that celebrates the uniqueness of their town. Try to have them include 1 idea from each of the topics you used on your Informational bulletin board/wall. It could start out something like: Our town is re ally special because........... The weather here is unusual because...........