4th Grade Geography Inquiry



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Supporting Question 1


Supporting Question

What physical features make New York State’s geography diverse?

Formative Performance Task

Identify the physical features of New York State in a graphic organizer.

Featured Sources

Source A: Image bank: Photographs of physical features

Source B: Image bank: Maps of New York State

Conceptual Understanding

(4.1a) Physical and thematic maps can be used to explore New York State’s diverse geography.

Content Specifications

Students will be able to identify and map New York State’s major physical features, including mountains, plateaus, rivers, lakes, and large bodies of water, such as the Atlantic Ocean and the Long Island Sound.

Students will examine New York State climate and vegetation maps in relation to a New York State physical map, exploring the relationship between physical features and vegetation grown as well as between physical features and climate.



Social Studies Practices

Gathering, Using, and Interpreting Evidence

Geographic Reasoning


Supporting Question


As students begin to think about and investigate this supporting question and the featured sources, they will explore the diverse geography of New York State. The images and maps from all over New York State offer initial insights into the range of resources and physical features of the state.

Formative Performance Task


The formative performance task asks students to gather and identify geographic features of New York State from a variety of images and maps and to compile their findings on Part 1 of the Physical Features Task (Geographic Reasoning). The Gathering, Using, and Interpreting Evidence practice is evident when students (1) cite examples of landforms, bodies of water, and climate; (2) illustrate the chosen examples with drawings; (3) describe the chosen examples using text; and (4) choose one feature from each category to locate and correctly identify on a blank New York State map (Part 2 of the Physical Features Task).

Physical Features Task



Part 1 directions: Using your research into the diverse geography of New York State, complete this chart with specific information you have gathered.

Geographic Features

Name It

Illustrate It

Describe It

Landforms










Bodies of water










Natural resources










Part 2 directions: Choose at least one of the geographic features from each category on your chart to represent on this blank New York State map. Be sure to represent your chosen feature(s) in the correct locations. Remember, you may need to add mapping elements, such as a legend and compass rose, in order to accurately represent your thinking.

Created for the New York State K–12 Social Studies Toolkit by Agate Publishing, Inc., 2015.


Adapted from Map of United States of America with States - Single Color by FreeVectorMaps.com. https://www.freevectormaps.com/united-states/new-york/US-NY-EPS-01-0001.


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