Iowa Economy - Social Studies Pathfinder (Grades 6-8)

This research will engage students in inquiry while researching information for their topic involving Iowa's export products and the countries in which they are shipped. Iowa's exports include agricultural and industrial products, but is known for its agricultural product, corn. This information will be gathered and compiled so that it can be displayed during the Student Research Fair, which will be held during parent/teacher conferences.

Questions to ponder while completing the research process include, but are not limited to:
  • What are Iowa's exports?
  • Which countries does Iowa export to?
  • How is the exported product used in this country?
  • What impact does the exported product have on the country?
  • How does this impact the United States?


Take me to:

Preface-------Encyclopedias-------Dictionaries-------Atlases-------Biographical Sources-------Government Documents-------Fiction Sources-------Media Sources-------Teacher Librarian

books_fictional_or_extra.jpgstack_of_books_encyclopedia.jpg----dictionary.jpg --atlas.jpg------- books_biographical_source.jpg --------------------american_flag_gov_doc.jpg----------- book_fictional_single.jpg --------computer.jpg ------------teacher_librarian.jpg

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books_fictional_or_extra.jpg Preface:

  • Iowa Core Curriculum Essential Concepts and Skills
---------------Social Studies: Economics
------------------------Understand factors that create patterns of interdependence in the world economy.
------------------------Understand the impact of advancing technologies on the global economy.
---------------Literacy: Reading
------------------------Read for a variety of purposes and across content areas.
------------------------Use a variety of skills and strategies to comprehend nonfiction and informational text.
---------------Literacy: Writing
------------------------Engage in the information literacy process: access, evaluate, and communicate information and ideas.
------------------------Incorporate technology as a tool to enhance writing.
---------------Mathematics: Data Analysis/Statistics and Probability
------------------------Analyze and summarize data sets, including initial analysis of variability.
---------------Science:Science as an Inquiry
------------------------Select and use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data.
------------------------Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations.
---------------21st Century Skills: Employment Skills
------------------------Demonstrate productivity and accountability while aspiring to meet high expectations.
---------------21st Century Skills: Technology Literacy
------------------------Use critical thinking skills to conduct research, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate technological tools and --------------------------resources.
------------------------Understand the legal and ethical issues of technology as related to individuals, cultures and societies.
------------------------Understand the underlying structure and application of technology systems.

  • Dewey Numbers and Subject Headings
---------------330 Economics
---------------338.1 Production of Agriculture
---------------633.1 Field and Plantation Crops, including Corn
---------------Agriculture -- Economic aspects
---------------Iowa Corn
---------------Iowa Exports
---------------Iowa Economy

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stack_of_books_encyclopedia.jpg Encyclopedias:

Use the exploratory search technique when using World Book Online. Begin by using World Book Student, as this material will be more appropriate for Middle School students. When searching students may opt to search both World Book Student and Kids, as this will provide more sources than only searching one edition of this source. Terms that may be of use when searching include: economy, Iowa exports, corn, Iowa. These search terms will provide information for all aspects of the exploratory search process.
World Book Encyclopedia Online is a general encyclopedia that is in online format. It provides a technological approach to using an encyclopedia. It includes a broad assortment of information as it is a general encyclopedia. There is little bias or misconceptions present in this resource because it is a general encyclopedia. The main difference between World Book Encyclopedia Online and other general encyclopedias is that it has both a print and online format. There are few sources that currently have this format. When comparing this online encyclopedia to using a search engine to research, the encyclopedia provides an accurate, reliable source of information, where as the Internet may have inaccurate or outdated materials.

  • Encyclopedia Americana, Scholastic, 2006, REFER. AE 5 .E333
Use the index volume of Encyclopedia Americana to easily locate information regarding your topic for this assignment. For example, Iowa in the index provides information regarding agriculture and economy, which may be useful for the topic of Corn as Iowa’s Export. This index will provide you with information regarding which volume the article can be located and also the page number. This source will be used as a background knowledge and exploratory source as students pursue their research for this assignment.
Encyclopedia Americana is a general encyclopedia that provides information on a wealth of topics. The information is organized alphabetically and can easily be searched using the index, located in its own volume. As this is a general encyclopedia, information presented in this resource is unlikely to contain bias or hold any misconceptions. When comparing this resource to the Internet, one can come to the conclusion that the Internet will not provide as clear results and may not be as reliable. In addition to the Internet, comparable general encyclopedias may be likely to provide similar information.

  • Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations, Thomson Gale, 2007, YR 910 J
Like other multi-volume encyclopedias, Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations is accessible by locating a specific volume and exploring the table of contents for that volume. To effectively use this resource the user may wish to read the section entitled “Guide to Country Articles”. For the purpose of this assignment, this subject encyclopedia can be used to explore the United States Nation. Note this resource explores nations, not countries. Inside the United States article, users can explore general information about the United States, as well as more specific information, such as its economy and agriculture.
Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations is a subject encyclopedia that provides exploratory information about the various nations. Unlike general encyclopedias this subject encyclopedia provides users with information based on a narrower subject, nations. With any encyclopedia, there is little bias due to the factual information presented throughout. When compared to other sources such as the Internet or other subject encyclopedias, this resource provides information in a well organized format and focuses on the subject rather than general information.

  • Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of the States, Thomson Gale, 2007, YR 973 J
Ways in which to use this resource are similar to that of any multi-volume encyclopedia. Specifically pertaining to this assignment, the article on Iowa will be useful, particularly the section on economy. To locate the Iowa article, you will need to locate the correct volume. Once the volume has been identified, use the table of contents to find the location. Users of this encyclopedia may want to learn how to use the encyclopedia. This can be completed by reading the “Reader’s Guide” and “Guide to State Article” sections, which are found at the beginning of each volume. As this is an exploratory source, students can gain background information about Iowa and can also gain more specific information on Iowa’s economy and agriculture in this resource.
Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of the States provides exploratory information about all of the states in the United States. This subject encyclopedia provides users with the opportunity to gain specific information on a narrow topic, such as the states. The information presented in this resource is unbiased and accurate, as it is mainly factual information. When compared to like sources, the organization of this encyclopedia outshines its competition. The Internet does provide general information on Iowa, but does not go in depth, such as its economy or agriculture like this resource.

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dictionary.jpg Dictionaries:

  • Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged, Merriam Webster, 2002, DICTIONARY STAND 310A
To use this source effectively search for a word or words alphabetically. Most likely, users will have a word or words in mind when using this source. Some words that may need to be searched for this assignment include economy, export, import, or trade, as well as others students may come across.
Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged is a comprehensive resource that includes an extensive amount of information, as it is an unabridged source. There is little bias or misconceptions throughout this source as it is an unabridged dictionary. Merriam-Webster is a well known publisher, which hold this resource to high standards and quality. When searching the Internet for terms, this resource outshines the information provided in quality and quantity.

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atlas.jpg Atlases:

  • Goode’s World Atlas, Rand McNally, 2005, YR 912 G
Use the table of contents to locate various maps that may be of interest to your specific topic. This would consist of exploring your topic. For example, the topic of Iowa’s Export of Corn may find the World Maps titled “Major Agricultural Regions”, Maize (Corn)”, “Exports/Imports”, Regional Maps titled “United States and Canada Agriculture”, as well as the Table Indexes titled “World Agriculture Table”, and “World Economic Table” to be of use.
Goode’s World Atlas provides opportunities to learn about specific information about the world through its inclusion of thematic maps and tables. Users will be presented with accurate and unbiased information as these maps contain factual information. The information provided in this resource is not comparable to information found on the Internet due to the specific information and maps it contains. Also, the amount of specific information provided in this resource is higher than most other comparable resources of its kind.

  • National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers, National Geographic, 2007, YR 912 N
To effectively and efficiently use National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers use the table of contents and read through the Front of the Book section of this resource. Once you are familiar with the use of this resource, explore the various maps by continent. For purposes of this assignment, explore the North America maps. Items to make note of are the economy symbols that identifies the areas on the map for their economic activities. You may also find the World Maps of use which are located in the Front of this Book section, particularly “World Economies”. In addition to these maps, basic facts can be found on pages containing maps.
National Geographic World Atlas for Young Explorers provides many opportunities for users to gain exploratory information about world economy, but more specifically in the United States. Students can view the economic activities that Iowa partakes in and compare that to the rest of the United States. This resource does not provide any biased information and is accurate. National Geographic is a reliable source. Therefore, when compared to other sources and Internet searches, this resource outshines comparable resources.

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books_biographical_source.jpg Biographical Sources:

  • Current Biographical Yearbook, H.W. Wilson, 2008, REFER. CT 1100 .C8
To effectively use Current Biography Yearbook, the user must understand how to use this resource. If an individual person has been identified to seek their biography, such as Tom Vilsack, who is identified with agriculture, the user can use the Culminated Index, which is located in the back of each volume. This index provides a span of years, such as 2001-2009. Also, in each volume, which is annual, there is also a Classification by Profession index located in the back of the source. This will allow users that do not have a specific person in mind, but a topic in which they would like to know of people who work within that topic. The Table of Contents in the front of the resource will also be of use to allow the user to locate information within the source. In the 2009 issue, Tom Vilsack may be of interest in this assignment regarding agriculture or for a more broader topic, such as economics, Simon Johnson may be of interest.
Current Biography Yearbook is a good source of biographies, as well as obituaries, of people involved in various professions. This resource has noted that they update information on previous existing biographies to provide opportunities for information to be accurate and up-to-date. The information included in this resource is likely to include bias, but the source states that they try to be as accurate and objective as possible. This resource provides biographical information on select persons, which can also be accessed on various Internet searches. This source is more likely to be reputable and accurate than sources located on the Internet.

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american_flag_gov_doc.jpg Government Documents:

To use this source, you must select World Fact Book in the Quick Links section on the right of the web page. This will take you directly to the resource. Once at World Fact Book Online, students will be able to explore the site by selecting a country or location to gain information on. For this assignment, students should explore the United States, as well as countries that the U.S. exports products to. These countries can be located by researching in the Economy section of the U.S. page.
World Fact Book Online is a quality resource to use when needing facts on countries throughout the world. Users will find that it is very accessible and is easy to use. I found that it had quality information related to corn as an Iowa export and broader topic of economy. It is presented by the CIA as a means to view facts about other countries and is not limited to use only by citizens of the U.S. It is updated on average every two weeks. I would say that this information does not show any misconceptions or bias. In comparison to the Internet, information that was located from a comparable search did not include this resource. It did include a government website designated to U.S. exports, but did not provide information for this assignment.

To use this source begin by searching “Iowa export” in the search field in the upper right corner of the web page, under “Search the Abstract”. These search results will provide you with information regarding Iowa and a variety of information about its exports.
Statistical Abstracts of the United States provides opportunities for users to gain information on statistics of the United States. Data located in this resource come from a variety of government resources. Since this resource is a government document, and contains statistical information, there is little room for bias or misconceptions. It is considered to be very accurate. There is not really any source comparable to this as it is a government document published by the government. When using an Internet search for this same topic, the results are not as reliable as this government document.

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book_fictional_single.jpg Fiction Sources:

  • The Linden Tree by Eleanor Mathews, Milkweed Editions, 2007, located using Books in Print
Katy Sue Hanson lives in a rural Iowa community. Her life is turned upside down when her mother dies suddenly. Life for Katy's family after the death of their mother is difficult. Her family is trying to keep their farm running as best they can. Katy's Aunt Katherine comes to live with them to help out, but a relationship between Aunt Katherine and Katy's father grows. This relationship is challenging for Katy and her family to deal with as they only lost their mother less than a year ago. This book tells the story of how Katy and her family grieve the loss of their mother and the challenges they face as changes arise.

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computer.jpg Media Sources:

This magazine article provides readers with the opportunity to learn about the success in U.S. exports in an economy which is suffering. It provides information on a variety of U.S. exports, including corn. Users can search EBSCO Middle Search for this article by using precision search techniques, specifically, U.S. export* AND corn.
EBSCO Middle Search Plus is a database that provides opportunities for students to search a variety of sources, including magazines, for information. Since this source contains sources including magazines as well as other sources, there is room for bias or misconceptions to be made. These resources are from a variety of publishers as well as authors, which provides room for bias to be present. This unlike any internet search because it can search a variety of resources at with one search.

This resource will provide students with knowledge of Iowa’s exports, including countries in which Iowa exports to. Users can access the Des Moines Register, ProQuest database through the UNI Rod Library Databases A-Z site. To effectively search this database, use precision search techniques. The search used to locate this article included Iowa export*.
This article provides a general knowledge about Iowa’s exports and the countries these exports go to. Because this is a newspaper article and comes from a newspaper database, there is room for bias. Newspaper sources are likely to contain bias. When comparing this database, Des Moines Register, ProQuest, is unlike any comparable newspaper database. This is because of its focus on Iowa and the newspaper. One limiter could be that only one newspaper source is being searched, but overall, it is an excellent resource for this assignment.

Users will be able to gain information on the agricultural exports of the Midwest. This video provides opportunities for students to learn the three major agricultural products of the Midwest. It provides students with the opportunity to build background knowledge for the assignment. Discovery Education was searched by using the term Iowa exports.
Land Area and Agriculture video segment provides information on the agricultural land of the Midwest. It is a short segment of a video on American geography, which highlights the Midwest. This video provides information that may hold bias. The video clip is short, which does not provide opportunities to include all information on the Midwest. When completing a search on the Internet the presence of video clips on a topic for this assignment was scarce.

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teacher_librarian.jpg Teacher Librarian:

  • Visit with your teacher librarian, Ms. Kral, about how to use the library, ways to find more information, locate materials you are interested in that are not in the school library, or what sources may be helpful to you. It is the teacher librarian's job to provide and help you with quality information that you can use when researching information. Ms. Kral is here for you!

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