The Geography of England

A Tiny Island Nation with enormous influence

A web quest by:  Kevin Anthony

 

Introduction

     The influence of the English is everywhere in our daily lives.  How did a tiny island nation in northern Europe come to wield such commanding power and influence?  Is it merely the legacy of a resilient people, or are there other factors that contributed to this obvious impact?  Moreover, did geography play a role in the success of this island nation?  Students will be asked to ponder these and other questions as they complete this three day web quest that is intended to increase awareness that geography can greatly influence history. 

Task

     Students will be divided into groups of four and will be asked to complete three distinct projects utilizing internet resources and any other resources that they deem useful.  The three main assignments are a historical essay, a map, and a power point presentation.  Students will be expected to provide general background information about the history and geography of England paying particular attention to natural resources, industrialization, and maritime accomplishments.  The second part of the assignment will require students to create two maps of England:  one modern day map, and one pre-1800 map.  Finally the students will be asked to plan a trip to England and present a short power point presentation highlighting costs of airfare, hotels, and other expenses they expect  to incur.  Students will also be required to visit three historical or culturally relevant sites. 

Process

     The students will be given three class days to work on this web quest and will be divided into groups of four.  Students will be assigned one of the following three roles;  historian, cartographer, and travel planner.  Two students will be assigned the role of the cartographer since two separate maps will be developed and compared.  The historian and the travel planner are expected to work together on the essay and the power point so that the work is more equally divided.  All groups will be required to present their maps and power point trip plans to the entire class, but the historical essay will be turned into the instructor when the group presents. 

Evaluation

Historical Essay

Excellent (50-45) Good (44-40) Adequate (39-35)
Clearly expressed ideas with a myriad of information concerning geography, history, climate, accomplishments, etc.  Mostly all ideas are presented in a complete manner, and sufficient information is provided relating to all specified areas. Some ideas need further explanation, and more content is necessary to better illustrate understanding of content.
Virtually no grammar or spelling errors A few spelling and grammar errors More than 4 spelling or grammar errors (additional points will be deducted for each error)

Maps

Excellent (50-45) Good (44-40) Adequate (39-35)
Superior accuracy of places, bodies of water, natural resources, major cities, and boundaries. The map has a valid key that is easily interpreted. Highly accurate map that lists all appropriate bodies of water, major cities, natural resources, and boundaries, but has a few minor errors.  The map has a valid key that is somewhat easy to interpret. The map has a few too many errors but mostly all of the bodies or water, major cities, natural resources, and boundaries are in evidence.  The map has a key that needs to be improved but is still discernable. 

Power Point

Excellent (50-45) Good (44-40) Adequate (39-35)
Slides are easy to read and do not have an over abundance of text.  The expenses for hotels, airfares, and entertainment are clearly expressed.  Three historical sites or cultural stops are included.  There is at least one or more pictures.  Virtually all of the slides are easy to read and only a few have too much text.  Expenses are noted in almost every area and two out of three historical sites or cultural stops are in evidence.  There is at least one picture. A few too many of the slides are difficult to read and quite a few have more text than is necessary.  Some expenses have been left out but at least two historical sites have been included.  There is at least one picture. 

Student internet resources

 

http://www.britannia.com

http://sunsite.berkeley.edu/kidsclick!topgeog.html

http://www.kidport.com/reflib/worldgeography/england/england.htm

http://www.britain.org.nz/about/games/exp_geog.html

http://www.lonelyplanet.com/mapshells/europe/england/england.htm

Conclusion

     Hopefully upon completion of this web quest the students will have a greater understanding of the geography and history of England.  Having the students complete a power point presentation will also be beneficial to their future educational careers as they will undoubtedly use power point in college or even in their jobs.  Trough this web quest activity, it is my hope that students will have a greater appreciation for the importance of and relevance of the geography of other nations besides the United States.  Finally through the cooperative learning that is central to this web quest, the students will benefit from working in a group to accomplish tasks and will feel more comfortable relying on and trusting their fellow classmates.