The license plate lesson observed was the culminating activity of a state identification activity which took place since September. I am proud to say that by adding 3 new states each week most of my students are now able to identify all the states. As a reward, I gave them each an actual expired plate from my collection.
We not only discussed the geographical location of where their plates came from but delved into a cross curricular lesson. We discussed sequential numbers system for a Math connection. i.e. AAA-111, AAA-112, AAA-123. ELA brought us into a phonics lesson where we drew parallels between text messages and vanity plates. The students had to figure out what vowels were missing in a provided brain teaser worksheet. Engineering and design were covered by learning about the prison manufacturing system and looking at some factory misprints. Some students noticed that some of the older plates had a bad smell. As a Science connection we talked about how the varnish or lacquer decomposed over time on certain state's plates leading to this horrible odor. We drew parallels to animals decomposing as this is a 4th grade vocabulary word. We talked about collections they have and that there is actually a club for license plate collectors called ALPCA (automobile license plate collectors association). The students got the chance to each read articles in a license plate magazine of their choice. We talked about how reading about things outside our comfort zone is an important way to expose ourselves to new things. We culminated this lesson with a discussion about artistic design. Each student got a blank paper license plate and were instructed to design a state of their choice being sure to have clear large letters and numbers for law enforcement's benefit as well as coming up with a unique design as actual plate designers would need to do across our country.
- Mr. Brown