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Grade 4
John Muir in California

Unit Concept:

John Muir, an immigrant to California , encountered environmental problems and found solutions.


In two 45- to 50-minute sessions, students listen to key events in John Muir's life and plot locations on a California map.


  1. Find a copy of a book about John Muir (see Resources ), such as John Muir, At Home in the Wild by Katharine S. Talmadge.

  2. Make a copy of the pages titled John Muir's California for each student.

  3. Make an overhead transparency of the map of California ( downloads Adobe Acrobat file ).


  1. Create a class list on the board or on chart paper using students' ideas about what John Muir accomplished in California. Add to this list as students learn about Muir.

  2. Distribute the maps and read about John Muir from the John Muir's California page. Use passages from literature to augment the lessons.

  3. Plot the places on the map with pictures and names, using the overhead transparency as a master and giving verbal cues.


  1. Read some of Muir's stories about the places identified on the map, using the Resources for Grade 4 .

  2. Use a large commercial map of California to locate and identify places named after John Muir. Ask students to retell stories to younger "buddy" students on John Muir Day.

  3. Take conservation action at your school. Create a map of the school yard and plot places to protect. Plant and weed flowerbeds and plant and care for trees. Plant a butterfly garden with native flowers to attract butterflies.

Resources for Grade 4

Download this complete unit in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format (file size = 384,695 bytes).

The entire Study Guide is also available in PDF format.

John Muir Day Study Guide Home

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