THE INFLUENCE OF PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY/CLIMATE
CLICK HERE FOR A MS WORD DOWNLOAD
GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT: Appropriate for grades 6-12
Largely due to the development of technology -air conditioners, gas and electric heating, air travel- students often seem to lose an appreciation for the limits and demands from the physical world around them. The description here will focus on a lesson about "your" province, but this activity can be used for Canada, or even Continents of the World.
Used during a geography unit -large or small scale- or at the beginning of a unit on exploration (ex. Europeans to North America; Spanish to New Mexico), this activity focuses on motivating student consideration for the impact of the physical world on the survival and well-being of people. Depending on the importance of Geography (depending on the focus of the lesson and of the teacher), this lesson is flexible enough to be a one-day activity, where students write their answers on the chalkboard for a general introduction to a unit, to a three-day activity, where students use the Atlas, a provincial map, and necessary materials -construction paper, glue, etc.- for a presentation with visual aides.
The student will:
1) Identify the geography and climate of your province (i.e. Nova Scotia).
2) List basic (or other) human needs -shelter, food, water, "MTV, radios, Nintendo, telephones, etc."- and describe how to meet those needs in the conditions identified.
3) Write a letter (contemporary or dated) to/from travelers/explorers to your province which identifies conditions and important resources which will be needed.
Depending on the weight given this activity, the information base can come from either student "brainstorming" to the use of an Atlas, class texts, and a provincial map.
ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES:
1) Define the following on the board (other elements may be used as appropriate): geography (elevation, vegetation, distances/dimensions); climate (rainfall -include lakes, rivers, proximity to water) and temperature in terms of seasonal differences, and human needs (shelter, food, water, "MTV, radios, Nintendo, telephones, etc.").
2) Divide your province (or could be Canada) into regions and assign groups (3-4 students) to investigate each region. Each group should have no more/less students than the number of assignments. Work can be done individually for group consensus or in cooperation.
3) Finally, students will collect their data and write a letter to travelers or explorers going to their area. This can be done either as a letter of recommendation from the "point of origin," to the explorers, or as a letter "home" from explorers already in the area of study. From investigating the facts, identifying human needs, combining these for describing the impact of physical geography, students finish by synthesizing the data and their opinions to a 2-3 paragraph "letter."
TYING IT ALL TOGETHER:
At first, students will probably want to bring along MTV, "boom-boxes," and plenty of perishable food. After they identify the physical geography, the teacher should ask how they plan using the things they regularly enjoy. This is also a good opportunity for asking and investigating what early explorers had and what else the students think they would need. An evaluation can come from student writing or group presentation (with maps, drawings, and original information, presentations can be very interesting).
Teachers should remember this is only a BRIEF description; this activity can be used to introduce a lesson about explorers, as an inclusive geography lesson, and as a simulation of interacting with the land.
Back To Contents