Standard 5: Knowledge of major elements of geographical study and analysis (such as location, place, movement, and regions) and their relationship to changes in society and the environment
Concept C: Understanding the concept of place
Grade Level Expectation SS5 1.6: Analyze human characteristics, such as people’s education, language, diversity, economies, religions, settlement patterns, ethnic background, and political system & Analyze physical characteristics such as climate, topography, relationship to water and ecosystems
Original Instruction: When I grew up, and in most of my classroom teaching experience, maps were and continued to be a static experience. Whether in the students’ textbook or in supplemental worksheets, students would interact as much as I could allow with the maps, interpreting patterns as dictated by the creator(s) of the maps.
Original Assessment: Students would have had textbook-provided questions on traditional assessments related to patterns they were to have correctly analyzed and/or interpreted.
Revised Instruction: Google Maps and its companion software Google Earth provide seemingly unlimited ways to manipulate and interact with nearly real-time maps and a host of overlays. For example, human dependence on the forces of nature can be powerfully demonstrated by overlaying before and after images of areas like New Orleans or Joplin, MO relative to natural disasters. Students can literally see the impact of nature. Similar comparisons and overlays could be made for any number of human activities and characteristics upon the physical characteristics of any given area.
Revised Assessment: Given both the traditional, familiar static maps and novel, interactive maps, students will demonstrate skill in analysis by recognizing patterns of interaction between humans and their environment.