Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Teaching Geography: Workshop 8

Global Forces / Local Impact

Before You Watch

Before viewing the video programs for Workshop 8: Global Forces/Local Impact, please read the National Geography Standards featured in this workshop. You may read the Standards here on the Web, in your print guide, or in Geography for Life. We encourage you to read Geography for Life in its entirety as you move through the workshops. It contains further background on the National Standards, numerous examples and rich illustrations aiding interpretation, valuable tools for strengthening and developing lessons, and additional insight on geography's significance to our daily lives.

The National Geography Standards highlighted in this workshop include Standards 3, 8, 11, 14, and 16. As you read the Standards, be thinking about how they might apply in lessons you have taught.

Also, prior to attending the workshop, you should explore the associated key maps and interactive activities and read the video program overviews below, paying close attention to the Questions to Consider.

Video Program Overviews: Global Forces/Local Impact

Part 1. Guangdong, China, and Southeast Asia: Booming Economies and Quality of Life

This program focuses on the province of Guangdong, on China's southern coast. This province alone is responsible for more than twenty percent of China's total exports. As modernization efforts succeed in doubling China's national wealth each year, it is Guangdong, far from the politics of Beijing, that has benefited most significantly. One hundred and fifty million Chinese have migrated from subsistence farms to Guangdong factory jobs, dramatically changing their lives. In this case study, we visit a Nike shoe factory and explore the global production system that has encouraged the booming economy in Guangdong.

This program's teaching segment features Illinois teacher Fred Walk leading his students through an ARGWorld inquiry investigation about the quality of life in Southeast Asia, asking why there are disparities across and within countries.


Participants will be able to:

  • explain why optimum plant-location decisions in a commercial economy take into account labor costs, transportation costs, and market locations;
  • analyze and evaluate issues related to the spatial distribution of economic activity; and
  • incorporate cooperative and inquiry learning to promote divergent thinking and understanding of complex geographic concepts.

Questions to Consider

  • How have the relationships between people, location, and resources influenced the stability and prosperity of Guangdong and Hong Kong?
  • How have factors of human and physical distribution influenced Guangdong's participation in the global economy?
  • How does teacher Fred Walk use cooperative and inquiry learning, as well as maps and data sources, to promote student understanding about quality of life across and within countries?

Featured Educator

Mr. Fred Walk, eleventh- and twelfth-grade geography teacher,
Normal Community High School, Normal, Illinois

Fred Walk brings thirty years experience teaching geography and economics at Normal Community High School in Normal, Illinois. He has conducted numerous geography workshops, reviewed textbooks, and consulted on curriculum development. Fred is past president of the Illinois Geography Society and is a teacher consultant for the NASA/GENIP Institute to present lesson plans using Mission Geography curriculum at Texas A&M University. Fred is featured in two classroom segments in Teaching Geography, one on Russia's shrinking Aral Sea and the other on measures of quality of life in Southeast Asia.

Part 2. Oregon and Pennsylvania: Water Resources and Human Interaction

Salmon have long been an integral part of Oregon's agriculture, especially to the Native American population around the Umatilla and Columbia Rivers. The recent dwindling of the salmon population to near extinction inspired a project in the early 1990s to restore the Umatilla River by deepening the waters and importing salmon from downstream. But diversion of these waters to government-subsidized circular irrigation fields complicates this process. These fields are part of potato farms whose produce is shipped to the global market.

An essential resource for both the farms and the salmon, water has become a source of tension between Native Americans and farmers, especially in light of the recent energy crisis. This investigation of Oregon's geography raises the issue of how to allocate limited geographic resources in order to satisfy multiple and sometimes conflicting interests.

In our teaching segment, we join two environmental science teachers in Pennsylvania. First, Marlene Brubaker's Philadelphia class participates in a field trip through the Peopling of Philadelphia project. They visit historic Bartram's Garden and see firsthand how Philadelphia's growth has affected the Schuylkill River. Next, Mary Pat Evans and her students investigate pH and alkalinity levels in the Chesapeake Bay watershed in Harrisburg. In both lessons, students gain greater understanding of the impact that humans have had on the river systems in their communities and develop insight into their roles in preserving water resources.


Participants will be able to:

  • understand how resource development and use change over time;
  • evaluate the ways in which technology has expanded the human capability to modify the physical environment;
  • describe the effects of physical and human changes on ecosystems; and
  • explain the use of firsthand observation, field research, and GIS to show how human actions modify the physical environment.

Questions to Consider

  • How has the distribution of water in Oregon influenced the spatial distribution of population and resources?
  • How has the population of Oregon influenced the physical environment and use of resources in the region?
  • Describe how teachers in the video use GIS and field study to facilitate student understanding of water issues in their communities.

Featured Educators

Ms. Marlene Brubaker, ninth-grade Earth science/biology teacher,
Philadelphia Mennonite High School, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Marlene Brubaker has been teaching at Philadelphia Mennonite High School for the past four years. As part of her efforts to work for the betterment of her students and provide opportunities for their success, Marlene's environmental science course provides a number of field trips in partnership with the Peopling of Philadelphia Collaborative throughout students' freshman year. These trips provide them with a wealth of common experiences that they can draw on throughout their high school career.

Ms. Mary Pat Evans, seventh- and eighth-grade Earth science and field studies teacher,
Londonderry School, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Mary Pat Evans, who earned her B.S. in chemistry and biology at Cabrini College, has taught various levels of chemistry and biology in her career. For five years, she has been using Graphic Information Technologies, a set of technology tools whose use she helped support as chair of the Pennsylvania K-12 GIS Alliance. She has made presentations on her work at the ESRI User Conference, the National Imaging Technology in Education Conference, and the Pennsylvania State GIS Conference. In her lesson, Mary Pat's students partake in a field trip in order to gain hands-on GIS experience.


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