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California Regions Offline Lesson
For classrooms with no student access to computers 

Student Research Form

Go To Teacher Lesson Plans

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).


  • Explore regions of California
  • Compare and contrast regions
  • Use pictures and research information to describe how regions vary in land use, vegetation, wildlife and climate

Student Task: Each group will make a presentation to the class, telling the class what their region has to offer as a site for a movie or television series.

Time Required: Two to three 50 minute class periods

Grade Level: 4

Lesson Connections and Standards References:
California Department of Education

  • History—Social Science Standards:

Subject Areas: History-Social Science, Language Arts, Technology

Resources Used:

Environmental Information by Bioregion

Don Bain’s Images of the California Environment

California Museum for History, Women and the Arts

Movies Made In California

Materials and Preparation:

  1. Locate resources for student research in the library or the classroom.
  2. Download and print Research form.


  1. Begin the lesson by describing a familiar place on campus by its characteristics(without giving its name). Have students guess the place. Do this with other areas on campus. Lead students to the understanding that the characteristics of an area help us define it.
  2. Discuss with the class the meaning of regions, landforms, products, tourist attractions, climate, and plant/animal life.
  3. Discuss how various regions might be used for different types of movies or television shows, focusing on how different regions offer different features or backgrounds for movie scenes.
  4. Ask students to list some of the television shows or movies they watch and talk about what kind of environment is shown in that television show or movie as a way of identifying how different sites are used.
  5. Tell the groups they are hired as the Regional Promotion Committee to try to promote Hollywood to use their region for making movies and television shows. By knowing what type of features each region has and some of the different cities located in the region, they can develop a persuasive presentation promoting their region.
  6. Divide the class into groups of 5, assigning a region to each group. Each group member will be resonsible for one of the following research areas:
    • Landforms
    • Climate
    • Plant/Animal Life
    • Products
    • Tourist Attractions
    • 10 cities in that region
  7. Provide each student with a copy of the Research form.
  8. Students will gather the information, keeping in mind that they are making a presentation promoting their region to movie studio representatives
  9. Each group will make a presentation to the studio executives (the rest of the class), telling the executives what their region has to offer as a site for a movie or television series.

Additional resources to accompany this unit (to be downloaded)

Evaluation Criteria:
Students will be evaluated on:

  1. Thoroughness of information presented.
  2. Quality of the presentation to the "movie executives."
  3. Ability to work in a group.
  4. Additional extensions teachers select.


  • Students could write an individual essay about what movie or television show they would make in their region and why their region is best suited for such a movie or show.
  • Students could make a travel brochure for the regions they researched, calling attention to the natural attractions of the region. For additional credit they might list places of interest to visit.
  • Students could compare the characteristics of a region with the characteristics of their county.
  • The class could play a jeopardy type game, with the groups submitting questions based on their presentations and working as teams with the teacher as moderator and giving points to the teams identifying the correct region.
  • Students could draw a mini-mural of their region for their presentation.

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