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What a Student Should Know and Do


The identities and lives of individuals and peoples are rooted in particular places and in those human constructs called regions

By the end of the eighth grade, the student knows and understands:

Geography Standard 4: The physical and human characteristics of places

1. The physical characteristics of places (e.g., landforms, bodies of water, soil, vegetation, and weather and climate)

2. The human characteristics of places (e.g., population distributions, settlement patterns, languages, ethnicity, nationality, and religious beliefs)

3. How physical and human processes together shape places

Therefore, the student is able to:

A. Analyze the physical characteristics of places, as exemplified by being able to:

  1. Use field observations, maps, and other tools to identify and compare the physical characteristics of places (e.g., soils, landforms, vegetation, wildlife, climate, natural hazards)
  2. Develop and test hypotheses regarding ways in which the locations, building styles, and other characteristics of places are shaped by natural hazards such as earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes (e.g., building design and land use in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Manila)
  3. Use maps, graphs, satellite-produced images, or tables to make inferences about the causes and effects of changes over time in physical landscapes (e.g., forest cover, water distribution, temperature fluctuations)

B. Analyze the human characteristics of places, as exemplified by being able to

  1.  Use field observation, maps, and other tools to identify and compare the human characteristics of places (e.g., cultural characteristics such as religion, language, politics, and the use of technology; population characteristics; land uses; levels of development)
  2.  Use photographs to develop and test hypotheses about similarities and differences in cultural landscapes (e.g., street scenes in Miami versus street scenes in Latin American cities)
  3.  Use maps, aerial photographs, and satellite-produced images to make inferences about the causes and effects of change in a place over time (e.g., urban growth, the clearing o forests, development of transportation systems)

 C. Identify and analyze how technology shapes the physical and human characteristics of places, as exemplified by being able to

  1.  Analyze the effects of different types of technology on places (e.g., the impact of railroads in the nineteenth century and satellite communications in the twentieth century on the northeastern corridor of the United States)
  2.  Assess how variations in technology and perspectives affect human modification of landscapes over time and from place to place (e.g., tree clearing in rain forests, damming of rivers and destruction of wildlife habitats, replacement of farmlands with wetlands)
  3.  Explain how isolated communities have been changed by technology (e.g., changes resulting from new highways or the introduction of satellite dishes and computers)

Geography Standard 5: That people create regions to interpret Earth’s complexity

1. The elements and types of regions

2. How and why regions change

3. The connections among regions

4. The influences and effects of regional labels and images

 Therefore, the student is able to:

A. Identify the criteria used to define a region, as exemplified by being able to

  1.  Give examples of regions at different spatial scales (e.g., hemispheres; regions within continents, countries, and cities)
  2.  Suggest criteria that identify the central focus of a region (e.g., a town as the headquarters of a sales region, Atlanta as a trade center in the Southeast, Amsterdam as a transportation center)
  3.  Describe the relationships between the physical and human characteristics of a region (e.g., the Sunbelt’s warm climate and popularity with retired people)

 B. Identify types of regions, as exemplified by being able to

  1.  Suggest criteria for and examples of formal regions (e.g., school districts, circuit-court districts, states of the United States)
  2.  Suggest criteria for and examples of functional regions (e.g., the marketing area of the Los Angeles Times in south California, the "fanshed" of a professional sports team)
  3.  Suggest criteria for and examples of perceptual regions (e.g., the Bible Belt in the United States, the Riviera in southern France, the Great American Desert)

 C. Explain how regions change over space and time, as exemplified by being able to

  1.  Use maps and other graphics to show regional change from decade to decade and how such changes affect the characteristics of places (e.g., Pittsburgh in 1920 versus today and the Aral Sea region in Kazakhstan in the 1930’s versus today)
  2.  Assess the impact of regional transportation changes on the daily lives of people (e.g., the building of new highways, the abandonment of railroad lines, the construction of a new airport)
  3.  Explain the factors that contribute to changing regional characteristics (e.g., economic development, accessibility, migration, media image)

 D. Explain how regions are connected, as exemplified by being able to

  1.  Use maps to show the physical and human connections between regions (e.g., links between watersheds and river systems and regional connections through patterns of world trade)
  2. Use cultural clues such as food preferences, language use, and customs to explain how migration creates cultural ties between regions (e.g., Spanish-language newspapers in major U.S. cities, specialized ethnic-food stores in cities)
  3. Explain the importance of trade and other connections between regions in the United States and the world, using maps, tables, and graphs

 E. Evaluate the influences and effects of regional labels and images, as exemplified by being able to

  1.  Explain the significance of a region being known as a developing region rather than a less developed region
  2.  Evaluate the meaning and impact of regional labels (e.g., Twin Peaks in San Francisco, Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., the South, the rust belt)
  3.  Evaluate regional events that contribute to that region’s image (e.g., crime in Miami, natural disasters in California, the destruction of the Berlin Wall)
  4.  The geographically informed person knows and understands...

Geography Standard 6: How culture and experience influence people’s perceptions of places and regions

 By the end of the eighth grade, the student knows and understands:

1. How personal characteristics affect our perception of places and regions

2. How culture and technology affect perception of places and regions

3. How places and regions serve as cultural symbols

Therefore, the student is able to:

A. Evaluate the characteristics of places and regions from a variety of points of view, as exemplified by being able to

  1.  Obtain information reflecting different points of view about the proposed use of a plot of land in the student’s local community, and then analyze those views on the basis of what could be best for the community
  2. Assess a place or region from the points of view of various types of people--a homeless person, a business person, a taxi driver, a police officer, or a tourist
  3. Compare ways in which people of different cultural origins define, build, and name places and regions (e.g., street names in new subdivisions and names given to places or regions to symbolize an event or principle or to honor a person or cause)

B. Explain how technology affects the ways in which culture groups perceive and use places and regions, as exemplified by being able to

  1.  Explain the impact of technology (e.g., air-conditioning and irrigation) on the human use of arid lands
  2.  Trace the role of technology in changing culture groups’ perceptions of their physical environments (e.g., the snowmobile’s impact on the lives of the Inuit people and the swamp buggy’s impact on tourist travel in the Everglades)
  3.  Identify examples of advertising designed to influence cultural attitudes toward regions and places (e.g., the use of urban settings in music videos, use of mountain landscapes in automobile commercials)

 C. Identify ways culture influences people’s perceptions of places and regions, as exemplified by being able to

  1.  Give examples of how, in different regions of the world, religion and other belief systems influence traditional attitudes toward land use (e.g., the effects of Islamic and Jewish dietary practices on land use in the Middle East)
  2.  Read stories about young people in other cultures to determine what they perceive as beautiful or valuable in their country’s landscapes
  3.  Explain the enduring interest of immigrants in the United States in holding onto the customs of their home countries

D. Illustrate and explain how places and regions serve as cultural symbols, as exemplified by being able to

  1.  Compile a series of photographs from magazine advertisements or other sources that show building, structures, or statues that have come to represent or symbolize a city (e.g., Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco; the Opera House in Sydney, Australia; the Gateway Arch in St. Louis; Tower Bridge in London)
  2.  Develop a map of the student’s local community including local landmarks with a cultural identity, then extend that same process to the capital city of the state and to major cities in the region
  3.  List songs associated with specific regions and identify the kinds of images such songs suggest (e.g., "Waltzing Matilda" and Australia; "The Volga Boat Song" and Russia)

21. The Middle East Conflict

27 minutes

Justin Zimmerman is a sixth-grade teacher at Magnolia School in Joppa, Maryland, about 30 miles north of Baltimore. Mr. Zimmerman explores the claims to land in the Middle East from three major religions — Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. After learning about the geography of the area, the students begin to explore the region’s political unrest and discuss the controversy over control of the land of Israel. Through this lesson, the students begin to make connections that relate their own lives to the political and religious struggle.



Source: Geography for Life, National Geography Standards 1994. National Geographic Research & Exploration. Chapter 6. Geography Education Standards Project. Developed on behalf of the American Geographical Society, Association of American Geographers, National Council for Geographic Education, National Geographic Society




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