Completing a social studies project allows fourth graders to explore a topic that interests them and study it on their own. Social studies projects encourage students to pursue further investigation of a subject that can't be fully covered in the classroom curriculum. This is the ideal way for a student in North Carolina to learn more about his home state. Projects can be entered in a school, county or state social studies fair.
Fourth graders can pursue a project that explores the way North Carolina's population has grown and different cities have developed over the years. Students can identify the major cities in the state, such as Charlotte or Raleigh, and find out their current populations. Students can explore reasons that may have contributed to the growth of each city or what has drawn people to want to live there. Look into the major industries of each city and find out which businesses employ the most workers. Examine the position of the city within the state to determine if its geography played a role in its development. For example, if the city is near a major port, its easy access by boats would be a major factor in attracting new residents. Map out the major attributes of each city, such as arts and entertainment, school systems, unemployment rate and transportation, then draw and support your conclusion about the ideal city in which to reside.
Eastern Band of Cherokees
The Eastern Band of Cherokees are the only federally recognized Native American tribe in the state. Cherokee legends and archaeological artifacts have shown that people inhabited the state more than 11,000 years ago, making Cherokee culture a huge part of North Carolina history. Today, the role of Cherokees in North Carolina has been significantly reduced because the tribe was only given a small piece of reservation land. Fourth graders interested in the Cherokee people could do a social studies project about Cherokee culture. The project might focus on Cherokee history, tools, agricultural and hunting techniques, clothing, song and dance or tribal customs. The project might also explore the present social circumstances of the tribe. You could find out the current population, how Cherokee people earn their living, what school is like for a Cherokee fourth grader, how modern Cherokees dress or compare their modern way of life with the ways of their ancestors.
Agriculture plays a major role in North Carolina's economy, providing jobs for many of the state's citizens. North Carolina's agribusiness dates back to the Colonial Period, when crops like cotton and tobacco were king. Today, the state's main cash crop is tobacco, while other crops like grain, corn and sweet potatoes are also widely grown throughout the state. Fourth graders could pursue a social studies projects that explores the agriculture industry and how it contributes to the economy. Students can identify the areas that produce the most of each crop and the number of jobs the industry provides. An interesting project might explore the history of agriculture in the state, including the methods used for farming and relate that information to the current agriculture business. How has the industry changed since colonial times? What new tools or equipment are used on farms today? Are there family-run farms or are most farms commercialized for mass production? What would the prohibition of tobacco mean for North Carolina farmers?
Tourism is a vital part of North Carolina's economy, generating more than $15 billion dollars annually, according to the North Carolina Travel & Tourism Coalition. Tourists not only spend money visiting attractions, but also bring business to hotels, restaurants and retailers. Among the most popular tourist attractions are Blue Ridge Parkway, state parks, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Cape Hatteras Seashore -- all attractions that allow visitors to explore the state's natural landscape. Fourth graders could complete a project exploring the role of tourism in the state. The project could focus on a single attraction or on tourism as a whole. Students should think critically about what is to be gained by opening these attractions to tourists and what the state and its citizens lose by commercializing its natural wonders. Factors to consider include overcrowding, lack of tranquility, jobs or acclaim.
A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.