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A storyboard provides a visual means for conceptualizing and organizing information. A storyboard approach can be used for developing community geoportraits in which students visually present their community's geography with photos, video, or other visual means.
STORYBOARD FOR PLANNING A COMMUNITY GEOPORTRAIT
BASED ON THE SIX GEOGRAPHY STANDARDS
How can the spatial information about this community be reported using graphs, maps, and globes?
What human systems impact this community? How is this community impacted by migration, movement, interactions of cultures, economic activities, settlement patterns, and political units?
What are the human and physical features of this community and its region?
How do the human and physical environments interact in this community and region?
What are the dynamic and interactive natural forces that have shaped the natural environments of this community and region?
How can we use geography to understand the past, present, and future of this community?
Story maps can contain the elements typical to a story, (such as the title, setting, characters, problems, main events, and conclusion) or be specific to a particular book. For example, in Streams to the River, River to the Sea by Scott O'Dell (a middle level book), students might construct a story map depicting pictures of both the cultural and natural environments described in the book, descriptions of several places along the Lewis and Clark route, a diary entry for Sacagawea, a list of facts about the journey, and a map of the route.
Some primary books, such as Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins, lend themselves to actual simple mapping skills. In the case of Rosie's Walk, students:
¨read the book;
¨discuss how to make a map to trace Rosie's walk;
¨list the places to be illustrated;
¨illustrate the places and then glue identifying word strips to the illustration;
¨assemble in the order of the walk; and
¨then have one student be Rosie and make the walk.
Source: "Beginning Mapping Skills" lesson by Cindy Martindale, Eagle River, adapted by Kathleen Brandt.
The lesson plan on Alaska issues in the Instruction Chapter illustrates how Brenda Campen at Mt. Edgecumbe High School uses brainstorming to set the direction for the course in Alaska issues, resulting in a course in which students have ownership of the topics and thus of the course. Brainstorming can also be an effective way to begin new units.
After students at Mt. Edgecumbe High School brainstorm Alaska issues course topics, they discuss the lists based on the question, "What do these lists tell us about what Alaskans are concerned about?"
A scenario for a high school project investigation in the social studies:
Students work independently over a week. At the end of that time period they present their findings in writing.
The notion that some countries are more "developed" than others implies that one country's future may be understood as, in part, the re-enactment of another country's past. Select some aspect of development for which this might hold true (cultural development, military development, spiritual development, etc.). Working within the aspect of development you have selected, describe those changes within a developing country that would be least predictable. Finally, describe the ways in which the aspect of development you have selected can be better understood from the perspective of "more developed" countries, and in what ways that perspective can be misleading
Source: Marzano, et al, 1992.
The ability to ask and answer geographic questions are foundations of the five geographic skills outlined in Geography for Life: National Geography Standards 1994. The five skills are:
1. Asking Geographic Questions
2. Acquiring Geographic Information
3. Organizing Geographic Information
4. Analyzing Geographic Information
5. Answering Geographic Questions
Students begin to use these skills by "posing questions about their surroundings." (Geography for Life, page 42)
¨Where is something located?
¨Why is it there?
¨With what is it associated?
¨What are the consequences of its location and associations?
¨What is this place like?
Creative Problem Solving/Future Problem Solving
A scenario for a problem-solving performance task in an elementary classroom:
Students work in cooperative groups for a two-week period of time, at the end they present their findings as a debate.
Many people blame the Japanese for the decline of the manufacturing industry in the United States. Some Americans argue that if more people in this country would "Buy American" there would be less unemployment. However, many people say that the quality of American merchandise does not compare with the Japanese imports. Assume that this is true. How could you increase the sale of American products with the constraint that it will take a long time--at least ten years--to increase the quality of American products?
Source: Marzano, et al, 1992.
Topics for debate abound in the social studies, whether the focus is history, geography, or government/citizenship. Sample topics for debates include:
¨Is Thomas Jefferson an American icon, an authentic hero, apostle of democracy to be revered or a simply an historical figure with no heroic traits, especially given his position in life made possible by the fact that he owned slaves?
¨Should the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge be opened for oil development?
¨What should be the future of affirmative action in American society?