Week 1 - Our Nation, Our State
Natalia and Steven, Studies Weekly’s 4th-grade News Reporters, bring you the best, most informative information about Mississippi and the United States! Students will distinguish among the three branches of government and their roles at local, county, state, and national levels. Students will read about state government laws - from creation to enforcement. Mississippi’s students will enjoy the clever ways Natalia and Steven help them to learn about our great state and nation!
Week 2 - MS Special Focus
Last week, Natalia and Steve introduced government at the state and federal levels along with the three branches of government. Natalia turns the focus on the Great State of Mississippi! Students will investigate the responsibilities of state government to protect, educate, and maintain the public welfare of its citizens. Steven has no idea what “maintaining the public welfare of its citizens” means, but he’s going to find out!
Week 3 - Taking Care of MS
Steven has a new mission: to take care of Mississippi’s people, places, and environment after learning about “maintaining the public welfare of its citizens.” Steven declares himself “Mississippi Man”! “Mississippi Man,” and students analyze spatial and ecological perspectives in life situations. Natalia helps students find ways they can demonstrate these life situations including reducing, reusing, and recycling paper waste at school!
Week 4 - Native Americans
Natalia and Steven help students identify the major Native American groups that were living in the Mississippi area. The kids learn about the Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Natchez groups and compare and contrast their governmental and economic systems. Steven discovers something new about Natalia - she has Choctaw ancestors! In fact, her father is planning on coming to school to provide students with information about their tribe’s past and present day celebrations!
Week 5 - The First Europeans
Steven loved learning about Natalia’s Choctaw heritage, but wonders aloud why we don’t have more Native American holidays, celebrations, or events in Mississippi. The expression on Natalia’s face makes Steven a little bit worried. Why? Natalia guides students and Steven to understand what happened when the first European explorers landed in the region. Ms. Johnson, the kids’ teacher shows them a portrait of De Soto, the first European to explore Mississippi. De Soto was a Spanish Conquistador and when Steven touched the drawing all of a sudden Natalia and Steven are zapped back in time and standing face to face with De Soto!
Week 6 - A New State—Welcome to the Club!
When the music stops, you had better find a seat! Steven decides to play “Musical Chairs” to help Natalia and their classmates learn about Mississippi’s many capital cities. How come Mississippi had more than one or two capital cities? Natalia explains the process and compares it to a long road trip with lots of twists and turns (including interesting characters and sightseeing along the way!) Join Natalia and Steven as they learn about how the Mississippi territory was admitted to the United States! Be careful of what primary and secondary sources you touch because you never know if you’ll be zapped back in time.
Week 7 - Triangle Trade—Evil Business Practices
Steven and Natalia learned that along with the European explorers, they also brought the slave trade to Mississippi! How could such a horrible thing happen? Steven describes the development of slavery and the opposition to slavery in Mississippi. Natalia can’t imagine why slavery was ever “legal.”
Week 8 - Secession—Things Go From Bad to Worse
Natalia and Steven share why some people wanted slavery and some people thought slavery should be illegal. Students will trace the events that led to the secession of Mississippi from the Union and entering the Civil War. Natalia and Steven wonder why the Civil War was called “civil” because nothing about war is courteous or polite! Natalia and Steven’s teacher, Ms. Johnson, show two primary sources photos to the class. One photo is of Abraham Lincoln and the other is a man who looks like he could be Lincoln’s brother. Natalia reaches for the photo of what might be Lincoln’s long lost twin and finds herself in a stuffy room where this man is preparing a speech he will give to the Mississippi Legislature. Good thing Steven is crouched down beside Natalia under the table!
Week 9 - Responsible Citizens
Natalia and Steven are asking their teacher Ms. Johnson some tough questions this week. Mississippi was admitted to the Union, suceded, and eventually was readmitted to the Union. Wouldn’t that make everyone living in Mississippi citizens? Why were so many bad behaviors allowed (like slavery)? Ms. Johnson explains that sometimes the bad things can teach us how NOT to be and can be replaced with good behaviors.
Week 10 - Forks, Swamps and Trails
Natalia and Steven are so excited to go on a field trip today! The kids and their classmates will be traveling by bus to the Natchez Museum of African-American History and Culture located in downtown Natchez, Mississippi. It was in the museum when Steven touched a preserved “classified advertisement placed by Forks of the Road slave traders in Natchez newspapers (that) simply announced the availability of slaves for purchase, indicating a casual, first-come-first-served approach to marketing slaves” - oh no! Steven and Natalia find themselves safely hidden in a wagon witnessing the slave market in action. In the blink of an eye, the two students were in the “Free State of Jones” and lost in a swamp. Natalia also reminds Steven that Native Americans we not safe in Mississippi either. Natalia’s father wrote down important information she should present to the class: before the Civil War, there was the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the Trail of Tears...
Week 11 - A Woman’s Place is in the House of Representatives
Ms. Johnson has special visitors coming to class this week! Natalia and Steven are so surprised when two historical reenactors enter their classroom. Why, it’s Nellie Nugent Somerville and her daughter Lucy Somerville Howorth! Steven is so excited he jumped out of his seat to shake hands with both women and introduces them to the class as the first mother/daughter legislators. Representative Somerville and Howorth are so engaging with their first-person accounts of the Suffrage Movement, the 14th, 15th, and 19th Amendments, plus the discussion about the Great Migration, Steven begins to think that maybe these ladies are not just actors…
Week 12 - The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi
The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s was fraught with danger and Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi was the training ground for many young Civil Rights activists! Students will join Natalia and Steven as they experience first-hand the 1963 Jackson Woolworth’s Sit-In for over three hours. The kids learn that anyone - it doesn’t matter if you are young, old, rich, poor, or what your heritage may be - can make a difference in the world!
Week 13 - Special People of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi
Now that Natalia and Steven have learned a little bit about Mississippi’s Civil Rights heroes, they want to learn more! Ms. Johnson has the class become a “living wax museum!” Students will select a Civil Rights Icon and present an “autobiography” as their person. Natalia selects Anne Moody and Steven chooses Luvaghn Brown. There’s lots of amazing, brave men and women to “become” Hollis Watkins, Dorie and Joyce Ladner (the Ladner Sisters), Luvaghn Brown, Anne Moody, Pearlena Lewis, Memphis Norman, and Professor John Salter, just to name a few.
Week 14 - The National Civil Rights Movement
Ms. Johnson gathers Natalia, Steven, and the other students to discuss how many of the Freedom Riders were still teenagers and Ruby Bridges was just six-years old when she “desegregated” an all-white elementary school. People of all ages and backgrounds worked, suffered, and some lost their lives as the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s continued. Students will learn about the Birmingham Children’s Crusade of 1963, Hank Thomas, Ruby Bridges, Stokely Carmichael, James Meredith, the Little Rock 9 and the four young girls killed in the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.
Week 15 - Diversity in Mississippi
Imagine if you couldn’t see anyone, but you relied on how people behaved, acted, and generally treated others. Who would you choose to be friends with? Students join Natalia and Steven to explore how people in Mississippi and around the world work to get along. What are some of the challenges and benefits of working, living, and learning with different people with different backgrounds, ethnicities, and traditions? The United States is a very diverse country - how can the United States become more united?
Week 16 - Midyear Review
It’s time to show what you know on the best online game show ever! Your game show hosts, Natalia and Steven, will ask tough questions, require contestants to perform amazing tasks, and give all students a chance to be the BIG WINNER! It’s a mid-year review that students won’t forget!
Week 17 - The First People of Mississippi
Natalia and Steven are excited to get to school this week because they will be participating in an archaeological dig near Natchez! Steven and Natalia have so many questions, but the biggest question is how can scientists (archaeologists) learn about people from long ago? Ms. Johnson is the guide-on-the-side this week as the students “dig in” (ha ha, pun intended) to Mississippi’s early history! Long before Mississippi was a state or even a territory it was home to an indigenous and ancient people: the Mound Builders and Mississippians. From those two ancient cultures the Native American tribes emerged. Students will learn about the the three main tribes that lived in Mississippi: Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Natchez.
Week 18 - The Melting Pot of Mississippi
The Natchez National Historical Park tells the story of interactions and impacts among Mississippi’s history: Europeans (Spanish, French, English), African, and Native Americans. This week Natalia and Steven will plan a visit to The Natchez Historical Park and find evidence of the different groups that make up Mississippi’s rich history. Ms. Johnson points out that there is one ethnic group that cannot be found at the park: Chinese. Steven and Natalia wonder why the Chinese are not featured prominently at the Natchez National Historical Park!
Week 19 - Mississippi’s Musicians, Writers, and Arts
Mississippi’s modern contributions to the arts including music, literature, and fine art have impacted the state, nation, and the world! Ms. Johnson has assigned each pair of students a famous artist to research and present an original report to the class. The student pairs will compete to see which presentation is the best! Some of those presentations include famous Mississippians: Richard Wright, Mildred D. Taylor, William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, B.B. King, and Jim Henson. Check out the students’ presentations -- Natalia and Steven have a special surprise “trip” back in time for the whole class when they present their report on The King of the Delta Blues, Robert Johnson. All it takes is listening to a song and they’re gone!
Week 20 - Cartography
Natalia and Steven are sitting with their teacher Ms. Johnson before school started for the day. Steve wants to know what will they be learning about this week and Ms. Johnson replies: Cartography! Steven suggests that cartography (map reading, map designing, map creating) is the most boring part of social studies ever. Natalia gasps and sets her friend straight: cartography is a pirate’s best friend! It’s true! Mississippi has a history of piracy - the famous Jeanne LaFitte called Mississippi home at one point and pirates traveled up and down the Mississippi River, too! Plus there’s rumors of hidden treasure all over the state: gold bars, barrels of gold coins, silver, and other valuables! Steven wants to explore all of these secret places, but how? Ms. Johnson provides a book of maps called an atlas, a globe, a compass, a computer, and wishes the kids good luck!
Week 21 - The Ten Regions of Mississippi - Part 1
Ms. Johnson has a special, spooky treat for the fourth-graders to help them learn about the ten geographical regions of Mississippi that go beyond (way beyond) the different types of soil and landforms. Students in teams of two select a region from a large envelope, but in addition to reporting about the region, students must include a ghost story, an urban legend, or news of the weird tied into the landform or soil. Natalia and Steven can’t wait to get started, but there’s only room for five of the ten regions this week!
Week 22 - The Ten Regions of Mississippi - Part 2
Our spooky or weird geographical regions of Mississippi continues this week - the final five regions! As a recap of last week: Ms. Johnson has a special, spooky treat for the fourth-graders to help them learn about the ten geographical regions of Mississippi that go beyond (way beyond) the different types of soil and landforms. Students in teams of two select a region from a large envelope, but in addition to reporting about the region, students must include a ghost story, an urban legend, or news of the weird tied into the landform or soil. Which one region will be voted as the most unusual, the spookiest, or the weirdest?
Week 23 - Exploring Mississippi’s Resources
Natalia and Steven are learning about the abundance or scarcity of resources in each of the ten regions of Mississippi and comparing each region to another region. Natalia and Steven do their best to convince Ms. Johnson which resource is the best in Mississippi! Students should take notes because deciding the winning resource will help Natalia and Steven plan their next field trip!
Week 24 - The Job Fair
Steven is so excited for the school’s annual Job Fair! Natalia is less enthusiastic because she isn’t sure what career path is the right one for her. All she knows is that she wants to be a big problem solver! Ms. Johnson has several surprise guests from different job sectors like government, industry, and agriculture. Maybe the Job Fair will help Natalia figure out how she can become a problem solver through choosing a job sector?
Week 25 - Mississippi’s Jobs of the Past, Present & Future
Ms. Johnson reminds the students of an important famous quote," Jaime Casap, the Global Education Evangelist at Google, often challenges people to STOP asking kids what they want to be when they grow up and start asking them what problems they want to solve.” Natalia and Steven brainstorm a few specific types of jobs in Mississippi’s government, industry, and agriculture. The best way to predict the future is to learn from the past. Students will join Natalia and Steven as they visit the past and present jobs in Mississippi’s government, industry, and agriculture. How will this knowledge predict the future?
Week 26 - Making Choices in Mississippi
Imagine if students were in charge of making the big decisions for Mississippi’s agriculture, government, and industry! In a few short years students will be making those choices, but Natalia and Steven are already planning for their school’s “Up-and-Coming Mississippi Leaders.” The “Up-and-Coming Mississippi Leaders” event is like a miniature version of the state at the classroom level. Students will elect a Governor, a Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Commissioner of Agriculture, and a Mississippi Development Authority team. Students will have to make decisions and describe the opportunity cost of their choices to their “citizens.”
Week 27 - Global Trade
There’s a big world out there and Natalia and Steven want to know how Mississippi fits into this picture! This week students will learn and discuss Mississippi’s global trade activities. What do we import, export, and why? How does this create interdependence? Natalia and Steven learn that kids all over the world enjoy items made in Mississippi like Barq’s root beer soda. What are some of the things kids in class enjoy that come from far away places?
Week 28 - Global Trade for Mississippi
Natalia and Steven are prepared to explain the benefits and challenges of global trade for Mississippi. Natalia will present the benefits of global trade and Steven will presents the challenges. Boy was Ms. Johnson and the other students surprised when Steven showed up as an alien - an alien species called the Fire Ant!
Week 29 - Mississippi’s Connections to Our Neighboring States
Ms. Johnson sometimes borrows whiteboard markers or paper towels from our neighboring classrooms. Many students have borrowed an item like sugar or a tool from a next door neighbor at home. Natalia and Steven know that it is important to be a good neighbor - that means respecting boundaries (like yards or front door areas), returning items you borrow, and offering to help in times of need. Who are Mississippi’s “neighbors”and how are we connected?
Week 30 - Mississippi’s Connections to Our Further Away Neighboring States
Natalia and Steven have learned about global trade and connections to neighboring states, but what about the rest? This week students will examine the economic and political borders between Mississippi and other states further than Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Everyone has a favorite neighbor - which state do you think is Mississippi’s favorite?
Week 31 - Natural Disasters: Who Will Pay for This?
Natalia and Steven have experienced some bad storms growing up in Mississippi, but never thought of the cleanup and repair costs when hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and earthquakes strike! How much did it cost the people of Mississippi when Hurricane Katrina struck? What about the Hattiesburg tornado of 2013? Natalia is really worried when she and Steven land on a levee during Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. The kids spot a familiar face: William Alexander Percy! Help is on the way!
Week 32 - End-of-Year Review & Wrap-Up!
Time sure has flown by because it’s again time to show what you know! How will you solve big problems using the knowledge and skills gained this school year? Natalia and Steven will ask tough questions, require students to connect learning to future jobs, and provide everyone a chance to be a BIG Problem Solver! It’s an end-of-year review that students won’t forget!