Lighting the maritime path: The geography of North Carolina's lighthouses
In this lesson students will examine images of North Carolina lighthouses from the Built Heritage Collection at North Carolina State University and explore various websites to determine the relative location of eight North Carolina lighthouses and develop an understanding of maritime activities and coastal living.
A lesson plan for grade 4 Social Studies
- Students will be able to:
- recognize the relative location of North Carolina lighthouses
- develop an understanding of maritime activities and coastal living
Time required for lesson
Three 45-minute class periods
- 5 x 8 index cards (two cards per student if you are planning to complete both activity one and activity four)
- dictionaries (several students can share one)
- colored pencils
- Outer Banks map activity sheet
- Observation of images student handout (one per group)
- Essential questions handout (one per group)
- pastels or water colors
- one computer for each student in classroom
- Venn diagram handout for extension activity (one per student)
- The following images from the Built Heritage Collection from the North Carolina State University Special Collections Research Center. (Note: To access the images, you may need to make sure you have enabled your browser to accept pop-ups from the Built Heritage page.)
Activity one: Vocabulary map
- Have the students create a vocabulary map for the word “relative location” on a 5 x 8 index card. The vocabulary map should include a student-generated definition, a sentence using the vocabulary word in context, and a colored illustration.
Activity two: Mapping activity/geography skills
- Have the students work in pairs on the North Carolina’s Outer Banks website at a computer to complete the Outer Banks map activity sheet and discover the relative location of the following North Carolina lighthouses: Currituck, Bodie Island, Cape Hatteras, Ocracoke, Cape Lookout, Cape Fear, Oak Island, Bald Head.
- Instruct the students to write the number from the map that correlates with the correct name of each lighthouse in the answer column.
Activity three: Reading internet sources and analyzing primary source documents
- Distribute a copy of the essential questions handout to each group
- Have the students work in small groups to answer the essential questions by reading the internet sources and evaluating the images from the Built Heritage Collection using the observation of images student handout:
- Essential question: What are some ways today’s farming life in coastal North Carolina is similar or different to 1850s farming life?
- The Official Site of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse
- Built Heritage Collection images:
- Cape Hatteras
- Essential questions: What are the types of fish in the Atlantic Ocean that make Hatteras known as “The Billfish Capital of the World”? (blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish) What are the various ways the fishing industry and marinas support North Carolina’s coastal economy? (resorts, charter fishing, kayaking, parasailing, fresh seafood for restaurants, etc.)
- Read the paragraph on “The Sport Fisherman’s Paradise” on The Outer Banks of North Carolina website
- Investigate some of the marinas in Cape Hatteras:
- Built Heritage Collection image:
- Bald Head
- Essential question: How does Bald Head’s past make it such a dynamic tourist attraction? (It was once a hideout and refuge for notorious pirates like Blackbeard and Stede Bonnet, Native Americans, explorers, soldiers and sailors.)
- North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands
- Swashbucklers, soldiers and a shining beacon article from Bald Head Island Limited
- Built Heritage Collection images:
- Hold a whole-class discussion at the end of the session for students to compare observations and share what they learned.
Activity four: Postcard home
- Ask students to imagine they are visiting one of the three lighthouses the class studied in the previous activity (Bald Head, Currituck, or Cape Hatteras).
- Give students a 5 x 8 index card and pastels or water colors to replicate the lighthouse chosen.
- Direct students to write a postcard to a friend or family member back home on the opposite side of the illustration.
- Students should include at least four details from the pre-reading activity in their postcard home to support what they learned about the lighthouse.
- Have students use the Venn diagram handout to compare and contrast the similarities and differences of the three highlighted lighthouses — Old Baldy, Currituck, and Cape Hatteras
- relative location
- one of the five themes of geography that describes the location of a place in relation to other places
- The Official Site of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse from Outer Banks Conservationists, Inc.
- Hatteras Harbor Marina — a full-service marina
- Hatteras Landing — shops, eateries, residences and a full-service marina
- Oden’s Dock — a full-service marina
- North Carolina’s Brunswick Islands — from the Brunswick County Tourism Development Authority
- Bald Head Island — from Bald Head Island Limited
- North Carolina Essential Standards
- Social Studies (2010)
- 4.G.1 Understand how human, environmental and technological factors affect the growth and development of North Carolina. 4.G.1.1 Summarize changes that have occurred in North Carolina since statehood (population growth, transportation, communication and land...
- 4.H.2 Understand how notable structures, symbols and place names are significant to North Carolina. 4.H.2.1 Explain why important buildings, statues, monuments and place names are associated with the state's history. 4.H.2.2 Explain the historical significance...
- Social Studies (2010)
North Carolina curriculum alignment
Social Studies (2003)
- Goal 1: The learner will apply the five themes of geography to North Carolina and its people.
- Objective 1.01: Locate, in absolute and relative terms, major landforms, bodies of water and natural resources in North Carolina.
- Objective 1.03: Suggest some influences that location has on life in North Carolina such as major cities, recreation areas, industry, and farms.