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Geography, What is it?

"Geography is concerned with understanding the spatial dimension of human experience (space and place)."
"History is concerned with understanding the temporal dimension of human experience (time and chronology)
National Geography Standards

Eratosthenes, a 3rd century B.C. chief librarian at the famous Library of Alexandria, is credited as the first person to use the word “geography.”  Early humans probably developed “mental maps” to guide them in their search for life, food and water.

Geography is usually pursued or organized as a discipline either as:

Regional geography focuses on areas of Earth  Regions may be basically physical, human or some combination of both and may vary in size from continents to small ecosystems.

Cultural geography is similar to that of anthropology and sociology.

Physical geography is closely aligned with geology.

Topical geography focuses on subfields such as political geography, economic geography, environmental Geography, and urban geography.

Cartography is the art and science of making maps. Regrettably, many people think of maps as the centerpiece of geography. While map interpretation and creation are important tools, the Procedural Knowledge of geography is extensive and integrates the other social studies fields in unique ways.

Historical Geography

"...geography is by nature the constant companion of historical studies; it is hardly possible to grasp the one without the other." -Bradley Commission on History in Schools

"The historical record is inextricably linked to the geographic setting in which it developed." -National Standards for History

"History is concerned with understanding the temporal dimension of human experience (time and chronology). Geography is concerned with understanding the spatial dimension of human experience (space and place)." - National Geography Standards

"Key concepts of geography, such as location, place, and region are tied inseparably to major ideas of history such as time, period, and events. Geography and history in tandem enable learners to understand how events and places have affected each other across time..." -Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC), U.S. Department of Education.

As an example, if one were to examine Florida's history, it could not be constructed without knowledge of:

  • Prehistoric settlements
  • First Americans
  • European Arrival
  • Annexation
  • Statehood
  • Immigration
  • Proximity to the Caribbean and South America
  • Economic Development
  • Ranching
  • Tourism
  • Citrus Industry
  • Transportation
  • Railroading
  • Air Conditioning
  • Weather
  • Hurricanes

Assignment Geography 1.1 Teaching History & Geography
View the following video and review the 10 NCSS Themes and their strands. Identify which ones are achieved in this lesson Complete a typed paper with the following heading:

  1. Procedural Knowledge (PK):NCSS Theme
    • CULTURE—Social Studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of culture and cultural diversity, so that the learner can:
  2. Pedagogical Content Knowledge: Using the Strands explain the content and method the teacher used.
    • Example: Strand B. The students were required to
      • construct simple timelines of African History
      • identify examples of change as the teacher led a whole-class discussion and,
      • recognize examples of cause and effect relationships as the teacher presented information on how trade affected Africa

17. Exploring Geography Through African History
26 minutes &vodid=192389&pid=1775#

Lisa Farrow is a seventh–grade world cultures teacher at Shiloh Middle School in a suburb of Baltimore, Maryland. Ms. Farrow's lesson provides her students with an understanding of African history and geography. After creating a personal timeline, the students create a historical timeline of Africa, focusing on the Bantu migrations, the rise of Islam, the West African trading empires, the Turkish empire, the slave trade, and European colonialism. Students take an active role in group work as they create maps and captions that define each period. Ms. Farrow concentrates on the importance of the trading empires and their connection to Africa's history as a whole.

The Six Essential Elements of Geography
The Eighteen National Geography Standards

There are Six Essential Elements and Eighteen National Geography Standards. By clicking each one of the six elements, you will be transported to What Each Student Should Know and Do and the eighteen standards..

Assignment Geography 1.2 Application of Geography's National Standards

  1. Familiarize yourself with each of the the 18 National Standards by clicking on each of the above 6 elements and reviewing the descriptions
  2. Using the Sample Geography Textbook Content and the Application of the 18 Standards Template, identify those standards that could be achieved with the sample content and briefly explain how.
  3. Complete the template using the Sample Geography Textbook Content by indicating the pedagogical content knowledge the following for each of the 18 standards:

List of Assignments

Assignment Geography 1.1 Teaching History & Geography

Assignment Geography 1.2 Application of Geography's National Standards



History Home Page

Geography Home Page

Geography Themes

Sunshine State Standards

Sample Geography Text Content

Web Resources



NCSS Recourse

The NCSS Themes of Social Studies

The NCSS Democratic Beliefs and Values

The NCSS Essentials of Social Studies Education

The Six Elements of Geography

The world in spatial terms

Places and regions

Physical systems

Human systems

Environment and society

The uses of geography