Lesson Plans and Classroom Activities about California


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Please note that with regard to lesson plans dealing with anthropology, archaeology, indigenous people, ancient civilizations, history, etc, there may be some cross-over and blurring of lines between the topics.  For example, a lesson plan dealing with archaeology is automatically dealing with an anthropological subject.  A lesson plan dealing with indigenous people is also automatically dealing with anthropology and any of them may, or may not, be dealing with history or ancient civilizations.  While every attempt will be made to keep the topic lines as 'clean' as possible, be aware this may not always be possible.

Appropriate grade or age levels are included with the lesson plans.

The number of lesson plans available online for this topic is enormous.  This site can not and does not index all lesson resources. That would be impossible, as sites appear and disappear with astonishing rapidity.  The following provides some idea of what is available and will hopefully be a good starting point.

Back to Teacher's Resources, Lesson Plans

This page is a supplement to California Social Studies where you will find additional material including history, colleges and universities, capital city profile, lesson plans, state government and more.


*While many lesson plan sites have a subscription fee or otherwise sell their lesson plans (that is an additional feature of some of the sites found here)  all lesson plans and collections of lesson plans listed here are free.


Go to California Social Studies - California History - Capital City Sacramento, California - California Tourism - California Disasters - California Geography - California Lesson Plans - California Colleges and Universities

BlackDog's United States of America Coloring Book - California __ The youngest of students can have fun coloring a map of their state along with learning some interesting things about it. You will find a print out for this classroom activity. - From blackdog.net - http://www.blackdog.net/refrigerator/coloringbook/usa/california.html 

California Regions Online Lesson __ "California has four distinct regions, varying widely in climate, landforms, tourist attractions and animal life. This lesson will give students the opportunity to explore and compare the four main regions of California (mountains, coast, central valley, and desert)." - Goals, procedure and materials needed. - From learncalifornia.org - http://www.learncalifornia.org/doc.asp?id=88 

California State Flag __ While not a lesson plan 'per se,'  it would be an excellent basis for one for teaching younger students about your state flag with descriptions, history, and much more. - From allstates-flag.com - http://allstates-flag.com/fotw/flags/us-ca.html 

California State Study Unit __ "These state unit studies are designed to help children learn the geography of the United States and learn factual information about every state. These studies are great for children in the public and private education system as well as homeschooled children." You will find lessons, printables, activities, quizzes, maps, fun facts, and many other classroom activity items. - From About.com - http://homeschooling.about.com/cs/unitssubjgeog/a/susca.htm 

California - A State Unit Study __ "This mini unit on CALIFORNIA uses the cross curricular approach to education. There are several activities from different academic subjects for you to choose from. One of the most important things is to have fun!" - From easyfunschool.com - http://www.easyfunschool.com/California.html 


Californio to American: A Study in Cultural Change __ Here is a lesson plan that uses printable primary source documents to analyze the changes to an adobe ranch house over several centuries. - From National Park Service - http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/8californio/8californio.htm 

California Word Search __ Students find names of this state's cities on a printable puzzle - From thepotters.com - http://www.thepotters.com/puzzles/california.html 

Eat Your State! Social Studies Lesson Plan... __ Students make an "edible" map of their state and its resources.  When the lesson is over, let 'em munch away at their efforts. - From lessonplanspage.com - http://www.lessonplanspage.com/SSEatYourState-StateNaturalResourcesIdea24.htm 

The Gam Saan Adventure- Are You Willing to Risk it? __ "You and your teammates have the opportunity to travel back in time to become some of the first Chinese immigrants to arrive in California. You will explore the reasons why Chinese prospectors came to "Gam Saan" (Gold Mountain) and their experiences in California once they arrived. You will then have three days to decide whether you want to travel back in time to be a Chinese prospector in California of the 1850's." Goals, procedure materials. - From Kristen K. Lee - http://www.museumca.org/goldrush/curriculum/gamsaan/index.html 

KidZone Geography - United States Printables for various State Emblems: __ You will find class activity material for your state as well as all the others.  These activities are for the earliest grade levels. - From kidzone - http://www.kidzone.ws/geography/usa/index.htm


Knowing Where You Are __ "Students research place names in their state and discover and analyze the varied sources of these place names." Goals, procedure and materials needed. - From eduplace.com - http://www.eduplace.com/ss/act/knowing.html 

Learn California __ You will find a collection of lesson plans about California and California history.  Goals, procedure and materials needed. - From learncalifornia.org - http://www.learncalifornia.org/doc.asp?id=23

Lesson Plans - Make State Maps With MapMachine __ A lesson that can be made California specific.  "This lesson asks students to compare and contrast their state with another one using observations they make from National Geographic's MapMachine. They'll look at their own state's maps as the teacher creates them for the class, and they'll make their own maps of another state of their choice. They'll list their observations of the two states' maps then write paragraphs comparing and contrasting what they've seen." - Goals, procedure - From nationalgeographic.com - http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/lessons/03/g35/exploremaps.html 

Let Me Tell You About My State! __ "The purpose of this activity is to develop an awareness of the concepts of the United States through the Amateur Radio communication services. It provides an opportunity for the students to verbally interact information about their state. Comparing and collecting data about different cultures, current events, geography, history, government, natural resources, and climate conditions are examples of shared data. Students will be given the opportunity to interact with another student operator to exchange information. Verbal questioning skills, critical thinking skills and the growth of writing skills will be enhanced. Through sharing of information about ones' state, published reports will be written from the acquired data."  Goals, procedure and materials needed. - From eduref.org - http://tinyurl.com/bz9ou 

Levels of Government in California __ "...students will examine problems; determine the appropriate level of government to deal with the problem; and identify their local, state and federal elected officials."  Goals, procedure. - from learncalifornia.org - http://www.learncalifornia.org/doc.asp?ID=761 

Mini Study of a State __ The students will learn to do research while comparing your state with one of the states of the U.S. They will be graded on information, drawing and art work, spelling and punctuation and neatness.  Goals, procedure and materials needed. - From eduref.org - http://tinyurl.com/8y9ks 

NetLink on California Missions-4th grade __ "On a summer day in 1769 in the Spanish territory of California, the first permanent Catholic mission was established in San Diego. By 1823 there were 21 missions stretching along the California coast from San Diego to San Francisco. The development of towns and cities in California is linked to the locations of the missions. Riding horseback, a traveler could just make it from one mission to the next in a day's ride. In this lesson you will tour the missions and collect answers to questions for an information treasure hunt." - goals, procedure and materials. - From Barbara Garrison - http://www.suhsd.k12.ca.us/mvm/netlinks/1missions4/1missions4.html


The Rancho Period __ "Students draw from historical and community resources to organize the sequence of events in local history and describe how each period of settlement left its mark on the land,..."  goals, procedure, materials needed. - From history.ctaponline.org - http://tinyurl.com/9n7g5 

The Road to California - A Journey to Freedom __ "In the years following the Gold Rush, California was viewed as a land of opportunity. Thousands joined the Westward Movement and journeyed to the "Golden State" in search of a better life. But not all who traveled the road to California came of their own accord. Although California entered the Union as a free state, its laws did not prohibit slave owners from bringing slaves into the state. Such was the case of Biddy Mason, who in 1853 walked to California behind her master's wagon train. Biddy Mason's journey to freedom is an inspiring chapter in American history. How could a women born into slavery, against all odds, become one of the wealthiest - and most generous - women of the Westward Movement?"  goals, procedure and materials. - From Gail Desler - http://home.jps.net/~gailhd/westward/road.htm 

Start Your Own Gold Rush Town __ Here is a guide for turning your classroom into a California goldmining town. - From socialstudies.com - http://socialstudies.com/c/@Pz.ZEein0BGTs/Pages/article.html?article@GJ121B 


State Reports __ Students will use different types of resources (computer software, research books, etc.) to find the climate, landforms, natural resources, government officials, etc. of a specific state.  In this case, yours.  Goals, procedure and materials. - From eduref.org - http://tinyurl.com/8alyq 

US template __ Print out this template for your students to create a state brochure as a class activity. - From North Canton City Schools - http://tinyurl.com/8yqbn 

Your Mission: The Last Mission __ "Students study the existing missions to find characteristics of a successful mission. Led by their discoveries, students search for the perfect location for the final California mission."  goals, procedure and materials needed. - From score.rims.k12.ca.us - http://tinyurl.com/7ft7b 


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