ShamyK 12Geography

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```					   Geography and Spatial
Understanding

Implications and Strategies for Teaching
Geography K-12
How Well Do We Do?
2001 NAEP Assessment: 74% of
students scored in the below proficient
category in geography in grade four.

Only 13% of young adults aged 18
through 24 in the United States were
able to correctly identify Iraq on a map
of Asia and the Middle East.

Recent National Geographic–Roper
country survey of ages 18 through 24,
Americans ranked second to last.
Why are American Kids so far behind in geography?

• Elementary education starts too late in working with
objects to develop spatial understanding at an early age.
articulated curriculum and instructional strategies that
require students to visualize and learn maps and
geography skills. Geography is left to the individual
teacher in the classroom. The development of Spatial
Understanding in children helps them to:
The Development of Spatial Understanding Helps Students to:
 Visualize Viewpoints – Convex/Concave On A Flat Map
 Locate Places
 Find Their Way
 Represent Directions (Horizontal And Vertical) And Spaces
What Can We Do?
Map reading and mapmaking constitute one of the
broadest skill applications in the elementary school
curriculum and should be developed as much as possible in
the K-12 skill set.
SPATIAL UNDERSTANDING: Mapping skills derive
from the ability to imagine relationships between and
among places. It is an important part of learning
mathematics as well.
What is Spatial Ability?
“…spatial visualization which is the ability mentally to manipulate a
pictorially presented stimulus or object.” Leeson, N. “Improving
Children’s Sense of Three Dimensional Shapes. Teaching Children Mathematics Sept. 1994: 8-11

“…an intuitive feel for one’s surrounding and the objects in them.”                                    Liedtke,
W. Developing Spatial Abilities in the Early Grades.” Teaching Children Mathematics Sept. 1995 12-18
A Child’s View is
Egocentric
Children first see objects egocentrically
(view-based): they do not know how an
object looks from a viewpoint other
than their own.

Reality is at it looks from one’s own position!

Parallel Play
Visualizing Viewpoints

To help us in our understanding we
create:
•Maps
•Physical Models
•Mental Maps And Mental Models
Putting What We See Into
CONTEXT:
•How Big Is It?
•Where Is It Located?
•How Is It Related To Other
Things?
Expanding a Child’s Viewpoint

Draw a Map     Draw
– Birdseye    the Doll
View        Sees
Eight skills needed for                Adapted from:
Assessing Spatial Development: Implications

geography competence in                for Map Skill Instruction
Social Education

students:                              Volume 55 Number 5

1. Interpreting Symbols
This is the only skill that is not spatial but visual or graphic.
Students must recognize the meaning of symbols and
graphic representations.

2. Perspective
Perspective is the ability to imagine or recognize an object
from the aerial, or "bird's-eye" view. Most children lack
opportunities to view geographic areas from above. Formal
instruction in the skill's relationship to maps is absent in
many social studies programs.
3. Finding Location
Two Grid Systems: Alpha Numeric and Latitude
Longitude

4. Determining Direction
Three categories of directional concepts emerge in
children:
1. Environmental: In - Under - Behind
2. Personal: Front - Forward - Left - Clockwise
3. Global: North - South - East - West

5. Calculating Distance
Often used in combination with determining direction.
Locate place X miles north of Y.
6. Computing Elevation
Vertical Distance is represented in:
•   Intervals rather than exact measurements.
•   Feet and meters rather than miles or kilometers.
•   Color rather than by shapes or symbols.

7. Imagining Relief
Topography or Contour in Convex or Concave Areas

8. Understanding Scale
Scale refers to the size of the map’s reproduction and
challenges the child’s ability to recognize the
difference between and area’s actual size in space and
its reduced size on a map.
T
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a
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M
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Teaching Geography
Use maps when discussing places, people and events.
Desk maps are an integral part of the formula for
success.

2. Move “in” to the location that is being studied by
pointing out major features, including continents and
oceans.
3. Focus on the particular area that is being discussed.
4. Back “out” of the map to the big picture of the
world, constantly reinforcing the major continents
and features of the map.
Have children draw maps from memory.
Geography
(1) Students work with maps
individually;
(2) Students have to do something with
the map;
(3) Whenever possible make it a game;
(4) Get students to respond to your
questions that are framed around the
skills;
(5) Try to talk students out of their
response.
GEOGRAPHY INSTRUCTION
Use a variety of maps and globes to locate places
Children should note the relative location of a place
– Where is it in relation to . . . ?
– How far is it from . . . ?
– How long would it take to get there from here?

latitude, longitude, elevation, and climate. This
information should then be related to the local
setting so that the they have a concrete referent for
comparison.
Further Points
• Restore emphasis on topography, place names, map reading
• Keep geography close to history. Two dimensions of the
same phenomenon…the story of Human Experience on
Earth
• The events people places and history all have a where
Lewis and Clark
Revolutionary War
Transcontinental RR
Mound Builders and River Valleys
Great Migration
• Why do we have deserts and rainforest here and not
there?
Myths
Geography is boring
Rote learning is a waste of time
Teacher who teaches facts is incompetent
The Five Themes of Geography
• Location: People and places are positioned variously on the
Earth's surface. Where in the world are places located?

• Place: Physical and human characteristics distinguish one place
from other places. What makes a place special?

• Relationships Within Places: The interactions of humans with
their environments shape the characteristics of both people and
the environment. How do people change the natural environment
and how does the environment influence the activities of people?

• Movement: Human interactions on the Earth--people, products,
and information--affect the characteristics of places. What are
the global patterns of movement of people, products, and
information?

• Regions: The Earth can be divided into regions to help us
understand similarities and differences of peoples and places.
How do regions form and change?
Qu ickTime™ and a
Photo - JPEG decompressor
are need ed to see thi s pi cture.
How do we
know where a
glacier stops?
Ice sheet on
From Tundra:
Semi-frozen Sub
Arctic Plain

To: Deciduous Forests
Dr. Lenore P. Tedesco, Director   Center for Earth and Environmental Science, Indiana University ~ Purdue University Indianapolis
Dr. Lenore P. Tedesco, Director   Center for Earth and Environmental Science, Indiana University ~ Purdue University
Indianapolis
10,000 Years Ago
Dr. Lenore P. Tedesco, Director   Center for Earth and Environmental Science, Indiana University ~ Purdue University Indianapolis
Dr. Lenore P. Tedesco, Director   Center for Earth and Environmental Science, Indiana University ~ Purdue University Indianapolis
Dr. Lenore P. Tedesco, Director   Center for Earth and Environmental Science, Indiana University ~ Purdue University Indianapolis
Hypothetical
American Indian
Local Sequence
in Archaeology
Woodland Period
2000 BP

Archaic Period
8000 BP

Paleo Indian Period
12000 BP
Hypothetical Archaeological Local Sequence
Woodland Period
Circa 1000 BP    Raising Corn, Beans and Squash

Circa 2000 BP    Cultivating Grasses, Bow and Arrow

Circa 3000 BP    Pottery
Archaic Hunters
and Gatherers

Circa 8000 BP
Paleo Indians
Circa 12000 BP
PALEO INDIAN TOOL KIT
Hypothetical Archaeological Local Sequence
Woodland Period
Circa 1000 BP    Raising Corn, Beans and Squash

Circa 2000 BP    Cultivating Grasses, Bow and Arrow

Circa 3000 BP    Pottery
Archaic Hunters
and Gatherers

Seasonal Campgrounds

Circa 8000 BP

Paleo Indians
Circa 12000 BP
ARCHAIC PERIOD POINTS
The Style and Diversity of Projectile Points and Tool Kits Expands
With Each Period

Tools became varied and
include more ground,
polished and bone tools.
They developed grooved
axes, pestles, etc. Fishing
becomes more important
and net sinkers and fish
hooks appear.
Hypothetical Archaeological Local Sequence
Woodland Period
Circa 1000 BP    Raising Corn, Beans and Squash

Circa 2000 BP    Cultivating Grasses, Bow and Arrow

Circa 3000 BP    Pottery
Archaic Hunters
and Gatherers

Circa 8000 BP

Paleo Indians
Circa 12000 BP
The Three Sisters of the Garden
WOODLAND POINTS
Burial and
Ceremonial
Mounds

Great Serpent Mound Ohio
Locations of
Mound in the
Mississippi
Ohio Valleys
Geographic Features and the Spread of
Ideas, Agriculture and Livestock

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