Day 2 – The United States vs. Japan – A comparison

Sue Feldman

Target Level: Grade 4, Grade 5

Subject Area: Science, Social Studies

Class Time: 1 hour

Objectives/Learning Outcomes

  1. The students will compare the countries, landforms, and borders of the United States and Japan.
  2. The students will find similarities and differences between the two countries.
  3. The students will name the ocean that is in common between the United States and Japan.
  4. The students will compare the population and land area between the United States and Japan.

Student Assessment

The children will use the National Geographic website to do research on the United States in a similar fashion as they did in the previous lesson with Japan. The children will answer questions on the question sheet using information that is read on the website. Finally, the students will compare and contrast the United States and Japan using a Venn Diagram. The Venn Diagram should have at least 20 facts on it. This will be assessed based on accuracy of the information, correct spellings, and neatness.

PA State Standards

Subject: Geography (outdated)

Area 7.2: The Physical Characteristics of Places and Regions

Grade/Course 7.2.3: Grade 3

Standard A.: Identify the physical characteristics of places and regions.

  • Physical properties
    • Landforms (e. g., plains, hills, plateaus and mountains)
    • Bodies of water (e. g., rivers, lakes, seas and oceans)
    • Weather and climate
    • Vegetation
  • Earth’s basic physical systems
    • Atmosphere
    • Lithosphere
    • Hydrosphere
    • Biosphere

Subject: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening

Area 1.2: Reading Critically in All Content Areas

Grade/Course 7.1.6: Grade 5

Standard B.: Read and understand essential content of informational texts and documents in all academic areas.

  • Differentiate fact from opinion across texts.
  • Distinguish between essential and nonessential information across a variety of texts, identifying stereotypes and exaggeration where present.
  • Make inferences about similar concepts in multiple texts and draw conclusions.
  • Evaluate text organization and content to determine the author’s purpose and effectiveness.

Materials and Use of Technology

Materials and resources

  • 1 computer for each pair of students.
  • 1 United States note collector sheet.
  • 1 Venn Diagram

Technology resources

  • Firefox




Sequence of Instruction Including Hook and Closure

Hook ― Yesterday we spent time learning about “The Land of the Rising Sun” – Japan. We looked at the land, the countries and seas that surround Japan, and a bit about the people and culture of Japan. Today, we are going to use the same resource, National Geographic, to focus on our country, the United States.

  • Assign workable partners – 1 computer per group of 2.
  • Pass out the United States Question sheet.
  • Using the projector, remind students how to access the National Geographic Site.
  • Explain that today they will be looking at our country, United States, and looking at the similarities and differences between the United States and Japan.
  • Give them approximately 20 minutes to use the National Geographic site and read together and record the information on the question sheet.
  • Once the students have finished their research, gather the children together on the rug and orally share some of the “interesting facts” they discovered about the United States.
  • Create a T-chart on the board and label (between the US and Japan):
    Similarities | Differences
  • Take 10 minutes or so to add to the T-chart. Include – people, all land types, usable land, etc…
  • Pass out the Venn Diagram and give directions. Each student will complete it independently.
  • Directions:
    • List things in the Japan circle that only Japan has.
    • List things in the United States that only the US has.
    • Put items in the center that they both have in common.
    • Use bullets to separate and phrases for the facts.
    • There must be at least 20 items on the Venn Diagram.
    • Pass in when finished.