4th Grade California Relief Map Project:

                                  Due Friday, Nov. 13, 2009


Dear Parents,


Students will design a wall relief map for their 4th grade social studies map project. This year we’ve read, studied, and talked about the 4 regions of California in social studies. Now they will get to demonstrate their knowledge of what they’ve learned by constructing a relief map/art project.


We will not have a Book Talk project for the months of November and December.  In lieu of our two monthly book talks, students will do this project. Students have five (5) weeks to complete this project.


California Standard:

4.1 Students demonstrate an understanding of the physical and human geographic features that define places and regions in California.


Materials Needed:

1) Cardboard or other sturdy backing not to exceed 3ft in length and 2 ft in width.


2) Picture of the outline of California (provided by me) and a pencil to sketch the outline of California and the four regions. You may use the map provided or your social studies book to help you with the regions. You may use the provided outline map of CA or draw your own map if you’d like to make a bigger version.


3) Salt dough (see recipe below), Paper mache, adhesive putty, or other type of material that will stick to the board and not fall off when making the relief structures such as the mountains that surround the coast region and central valley. Relief means that I should be able to feel the projection of figures or forms from a flat background; I should be able to touch and feel the mountains and valleys.


4) Paints to color regions: paint the Central Valley green, paint the mountains brown, paint the deserts yellow, paint coast white, and paint the water/ocean blue. You may decorate your relief map by gluing dirt for deserts, using small pine tree stems for the trees on the mountains, using pebbles or sand for coast regions, putting small toy crops in the central valley, using blue painted foil for the Pacific Ocean, etc... You may also use colored adhesive putty or clay in lieu of painting.


5)  Labels (provided by me).


This is your map to artistically decorate, so be original as possible to make it look attractive. Please make sure that your relief map is securely attached to the cardboard so that it won’t fall off when we hang the maps on the wall.

Resources you can reference: (Go to the FORMS page on our class website and click on these links.)

-Your social studies book

-California Wikipedia

-For pictures of relief maps

-About California’s Natural Resources

-Images of the California Environment

-How to make paper mache

-Salt Dough Recipe:

1 cup of flour

½ cup of salt

Add just enough water to make fairly stiff dough.

Before the dough dries, make the landforms.


Students must have the following information to get full credit (check off items below to help you keep track):


O                   Cardboard or other sturdy backing not exceeding 3 feet in length by 2 feet in width (5pts)

O                   Title of your map “California’s Four Regions,” or “California,” or another title you prefer to        

                  use (5pts)

O                   A Legend to describe the 4 regions and state and country boundaries (for example, see map 

            handout) (10pts)

O                   Compass Rose with all 4 points (see map handout) (10pts)

O                   Map must show the four regions with the respective colors and relief structures: coastal

                  region painted white, desert painted yellow, raised mountains painted brown, and Central

                  Valley painted green (20pts)

                  Show and label surrounding states and borders (Arizona, Nevada, Oregon) and country

                  border (Mexico) as well as label bodies of water and mountains (see provided labels).  (10pts)

O                   There must be some original art decorations to emphasize the regions (for example, you can use

                  dirt for the desert region, white painted snow caps and pine trees on mountains, grass to show rows

                  of crops in the central valley, beach sand on the coast, toy ships on the ocean, etc…) Be as creative

                  as you can on this part. (10pts)

O                   Decorate and label, in writing, where the following important geographic landmarks are located on

                  your map: 1. Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, 2. Mojave Desert, 3. Central Valley, 4. Mt. Whitney

                 the highest point in California, 5. Death Valley the lowest point in California, 6. Pacific Ocean           

                 (5pts  each for a total of 30pts)


TOTAL:  100 Points  


I enthusiastically encourage parents to help and guide their children and work together, but please make sure you do minimal participation in the work so that your children may get maximal learning through participation.


                                                                                                                          Thank you,


                                                                                                                                Mrs. Lim