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

Workshop Summaries

Throughout this workshop, case studies are paired with classroom segments to provide rich exploration of geographic themes and pedagogical context. Additional commentary on teaching methodology and regional and human geography present a strong foundation for teaching any region of the world.

Workshop 1: Introduction

Part 1. El Paso and Ciudad Juárez: Life on the Borderlands
This workshop introduces the 18 national geography standards, showing how they can explain the complexity of our geographic world. A case study of neighboring cities El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez in Mexico highlights the importance of understanding spatial relationships and geography's effect on human lives.

Part 2. NASA: A Lofty View
This half-hour provides a framework for inquiry-based teaching, introducing the five geographic skills associated with good scientific inquiry. Our case study follows a NASA space-shuttle mission and the geographic insights it provides. The commanding view of Earth from space points out the benefits of shuttle- and satellite-gathered imagery that is employed in the accompanying classroom segment. In that segment, our teacher uses a new NASA-developed Mission Geography Inquiry lesson to help his students understand the geographic factors surrounding Russia's shrinking Aral Sea.

Workshop 2: Latin America

Part 1. Guatemala and Mexico: Population Migration
In this program, we investigate the geographical issues associated with human migration. During the case study, we come to understand why many rural Mayans migrate for a few months each year to Guatemala City and how this temporary displacement affects the Maya population. In the final portion of the program, we see a classroom segment in which students investigate a similar pattern of migration in Mexico.

Part 2. Ecuador: Preventing Tragedy Through Understanding Geography
This half of the workshop addresses the relationship that people who live near volcanoes have with their geographic surroundings. In Ecuador, we focus on Mount Tungurahua. Drawn by its hot springs and fertile soil, area residents and tourists must also confront the very real possibility of a life-threatening eruption. We follow geographers as they study Tungurahua, putting their research to work in preventing future tragedy. Later, in our classroom segment, students discuss the relationship between volcanoes and earthquakes and weigh the pros and cons of living near such natural hazards.

Workshop 3: North America

Part 1. Boston and Denver: Mapping Urban Economic Development
In this program, we examine urban areas in terms of ethnic diversity and income. We first focus on Boston and its “empowerment zones,” impoverished areas mapped by geographers as those areas most in need of government grants for economic redevelopment. Following the case study, we visit a classroom in which students use maps derived from Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to investigate the distribution patterns of poverty in Denver.

Part 2. Chicago, Philadelphia, and San Antonio: U.S. City Development
This half of the workshop examines suburban sprawl and its implications. First, we look at Chicago and the trend toward movement away from the city and into surrounding farmlands. Following the case study, Philadelphia students examine that city's growth over the past 300 years, and another class in San Antonio uses census data to investigate the future of their city's expansion.

Workshop 4: North Africa/Southwest Asia

Part 1. Israel: Sacred Space Under Siege
The video program for this workshop addresses Israel's status as an enclave of Jewish culture surrounded by Islamic states. Our case study focuses on Jerusalem's history as a religiously significant city for Muslims, Jews, and Christians. We examine the spatial distribution of these religious groups in the past and raise the question of how to organize Jerusalem in the future. Our classroom segment features Ungennette Brantley Harris leading her class in an investigation of what life is like for Palestinians living in Israel's occupied territories. Her students explore what it means to be a refugee and work to address the living conditions in refugee camps.

Part 2. Egypt: Water in the Desert
Here, we investigate the limited natural resources in Egypt. Our case study examines the pressure on the Nile watershed in light of an increasing urban population and discusses the government's response to this issue. Later, we will see a hands-on activity in the classroom designed to help students understand the gravity of competition for Egypt's resources.

Workshop 5: Sub-Saharan Africa

Part 1. South Africa: This Land Is My Land
This program considers present-day issues in South Africa resulting from the redressing of land inequities under apartheid. In the case study, we follow a geographer investigating the disparity in land productivity of black and white farmers. During the classroom segment, students come to understand land allocation in South Africa through a role-playing activity.

Part 2. Kenya: Understanding Sickness
In this part of the workshop, we look at the spread of HIV-AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Our case study focuses on Kenya, where HIV-AIDS is one of the biggest threats to the population and, ultimately, to national development. Our classroom segment features Shirley Hutchins and her eighth-grade class as they use a case-study approach to develop their understanding of HIV-AIDS in Kenya. After analyzing geographic information, Shirley's students present their findings through a CNN news report, a letter to the Kenyan Minister of Health, and a Venn diagram comparing Kenyan and American attitudes toward HIV-AIDS.

Workshop 6: Russia

Part 1. St. Petersburg: Russia's Window on the West
This program examines the development of cities in Russia, past and present, and looks to what the future holds in a post-Soviet society. St. Petersburg serves as our case study, from its roots in the vision of Peter the Great, to the difficulties transitioning from a communist system to a free-market economy. Following the case study, we visit a classroom in which students participate in an inquiry-based exercise to determine where cities are located in Russia and why.

Part 2. Dagestan: Russia's Southern Challenge
This workshop explores the opportunities for both cooperation and conflict when cultures interact. First we explore Dagestan as one part of Russia's cultural mosaic and the reasons for its continued membership in the Russian Federation. We also see how the people of Dagestan react to conflicts in neighboring Chechnya. Later we visit a classroom where students participate in a role-playing exercise negotiating cultural boundaries in the fictional country of "Ugeria" in order to better understand real-world cultural conflicts.

Workshop 7: Europe

Part 1. Berlin and Amsterdam: City Rebirth and Growth
This workshop examines urban locations in the geographic region of Europe. We begin with Berlin's new role as the capital of a reunified Germany and as a symbol of a more unified Europe. The growth and development occurring with former East Berlin's integration points to city reorganization and economic expansion. Later, high school students in Denver compare their city's modern grid to Amsterdam's older European city rings. They demonstrate their understanding of city organization and function by creating brochures that highlight the positive aspects of Amsterdam and writing letters to city planners to address improvements that might be made.

Part 2. Strasbourg and the European Union: Supranationalism in Europe and Beyond
Supranationalism, the willingness of several countries to give up some measure of sovereignty for the benefit of all, is a driving force in modern Europe. This program looks at supranationalism and at the city of Strasbourg as a locus of power in the European Union. Our case study looks at the geographic determination of Strasbourg's role as the home of the Council of Europe and the seat of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Union's European Parliament. Later, we watch an AP Human Geography class debate the implications of supranationalism in Europe and North America.

Workshop 8: Global Forces/Local Impact

Part 1. Guangdong, China, and Southeast Asia: Booming Economies and Quality of Life
In this program, we focus on globalization in the context of the geographical region of Asia. First, our case study takes us to Guangdong, where we see the effects of modernization and globalization on China's population. Later we visit a classroom where students use economic development measures to examine the disparity in quality of life in Southeast Asia.

Part 2. Oregon and Pennsylvania: Water Resources and Human Interaction
The first part of this workshop looks at the difficulties associated with limited water resources. Our case study takes us first to Oregon, where Native American fishing interests collide with farmers' need for irrigation. We then visit two Pennsylvania classes who take to the field to investigate the human effects on water resources in their communities of Philadelphia and Harrisburg.

Workshop 8 - Global Forces/Local Impact Workshop 7 - Europe Workshop 6 - Russia Workshop 5 - Sub-Saharan Africa Workshop 4 - North Africa/Southwest Asia Workshop 3 - North America Workshop 2 - Latin America Workshop 1 - Introduction