Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Teaching Geography: About this Workshop

Series Objectives

Each Teaching Geography workshop has five major instructional objectives:

  1. Teaching the geographical perspective - spatial consideration, including size, scale, relative location, regional similarities, spatial variation, and human-environmental interaction.
  2. Teaching World Regional Geography content - understanding why and how places with similar characteristics evolve as distinct cultural and geographical regions; comparing and contrasting regions.
  3. Teaching Human (Thematic) Geography content for the new College Board Advanced Placement test - investigating urbanization, rural land use, migration, and other aspects of population; the spatial nature of politics and land-use patterns.
  4. Integrating the 18 National Geography Standards, the geographic perspective, and five geographic skills with the geographic content.
  5. Helping seventh- through twelfth-grade educators enhance their geography teaching skills.

The National Geography Standards

This is a standards-based series embracing use of the geography standards from Geography for Life: The National Geography Standards (1994). Throughout the series, we'll see how the Standards can inform lesson plans and provide teachers with a guide to content and activities. A list of the Standards is available here.


The standards are important for me because it gives me kind of a framework on which to hang my lessons…Basically what we do in seventh-grade geography for our curriculum is we're starting in the western hemisphere and moving east. So, I like to draw a lot of compare and contrast kinds of things as we go through the year. So the standards help to kind of outline the themes that I want to hit and the recurring themes. So, I'll integrate that, and sometimes I'll even use that as an objective of one of my lesson plans.

—Randy Hoover, Dover-Sherborn Middle School, Massachusetts


Inquiry-Based Instruction

These workshops are inquiry-based. Inquiry is an approach to learning that involves a process of exploring the natural or material world that leads to asking questions and making discoveries in the search for new understandings. Inquiry, as it relates to science education, should mirror as closely as possible the enterprise of doing real science. For more information on the inquiry approach, visit the Institute for Inquiry online at www.exploratorium.edu/IFI/.

Within the inquiry process, students are encouraged to engage in and develop the following five geographic skills:

    1. Asking Geographic Questions
    2. Acquiring Geographic Information
    3. Organizing Geographic Information
    4. Analyzing Geographic Information
    5. Answering Geographic Questions

Video Program Structure

Each of the eight-hour-long video programs is broken into two half-hour programs. Each half-hour includes:

    1. Geography Content: Regional and thematic case study documentaries with commentary by Regional and Human Thematic Geography experts (15 minutes).
    2. Pedagogical Context: Commentary to help connect the geography content with the teaching methodologies (5 minutes).
    3. In-Class Documentaries: Practical examples of geography instruction used to model best-practice classroom techniques, showing how the nation's best teachers teach (10 minutes).

World regions covered in the workshop include Latin America, North America, North Africa/Southwest Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Russia, Europe, and East Asia. More information on the specific places profiled and the issues raised can be found in Workshop Summaries.