Friday, February 20, 2015

Art's Utility in Climate Change

A climate scientist, Robert Davies, noticed a disconnect between the scientists' messages and the public's comprehension in climate change communication.  After some thought, he came up with an idea how to increase the public's comprehension-- music.  He stated that he could tell that the audience understood the simple science, but they were not feeling the message, In order to feel the message, he has incorporated music, a professional string quartet, into his lectures.  He hopes the audience can both appreciate the art and the messages being portrayed during the lectures.  Time will tell if art and climate change communication can go hand in hand. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The New York Times Posts Animated Lecture on Alfred Wegener

Continuing their animated science lectures series, The New York Times recently posted an animated lecture on Alfred Wegener.  Within an 8 minute time frame, we learn about Alfred Wegener and his contribution of the theory of continental drift to science.  It is a joy to watch!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

New Research on Greenland's Ice Sheet


A recent Science Daily article featured research from scientists at the German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ, Utrecht University, the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, and the University of Oslo that could potentially shed new light on why the Greenland ice sheet developed when it did. When compared to the Antarctic Ice Sheet, which began developing over 34 million years ago, the ice on Greenland is geologically young—only beginning about 2.7 million years ago.

With that in mind, the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets, or CReSIS, offers some great lesson plans to teach about glaciation, properties of ice and more. There are lessons for K-8 students and computer-based activities for 9-12 students.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Interconnected Earth

The Earth is a complex, interconnected system that can more easily be understood using a geographic perspective. Geography can make sense of how things like climate, weather, oceans, and physical landforms interact to make the world we inhabit the unique place that it is and influence how we live.

National Geographic Education provides some interesting lessons plans to explore some of the Earth’s physical geography:

  • This lesson introduces 6th -8th grade students to the physical geography of Europe.
  • Explore extreme weather with 2nd-5th grade students in this lesson.
  • High school students can learn about the world’s ocean in this lesson.
  • Learn how the ocean and weather interact and how El Niño and La Niña work in this lesson for 7th -12th graders. 
  • Learn about plate tectonics and geology with this activity for 3rd-8th graders. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What can you do with geography?

Want to know what your students can do with geography?

You can also explore some real-world geography careers with National Geographic's Real-World Geography collection.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Explore Human-Environment Interactions on China’s Yangtze River

The Yangtze River is the longest river in China and one of the longest rivers in the world. It has played a major role in the historical, cultural, and economic development of China. The river itself flows through many different ecosystems and is home to many different species of wildlife, including some endangered species.

In 2012, construction of the Three Gorges Dam, the largest of its kind in the world, was completed on the Yangtze. The implications of this construction for the people and land surrounding the Yangtze are explored in the PBS film “Up The Yangtze” by filmmaker Yung Chang.

PBS Learning Media has provided an excellent teaching resource using clips from the film and support materials to show one family’s interaction with the Three Gorges Dam.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Using Geography to escape a zombie apocalypse

TED-Ed is a free global educational website that provides videos and customizable lessons for all sorts of topics. All you need is a computer and an internet connection.

In his lesson, educator David Hunter presents a unique way to explore population geography and migration—escaping the zombie apocalypse!

Further Reading: This BBC Bitesize article is a good source of background information on migration and push and pull factors. It is geared toward the United Kingdom but provides great universal information.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Teaching Ideas

Want to incorporate more geography lessons into your classroom but don’t know how? Consider these options:

  • Teacher Vision is a great online source of ideas. While Teacher Vision is subscription based, they offer five free printable resources and a free-trial. Lessons range from strictly US and world geography to incorporating geography into other subjects, like earth science, math, and language arts.

  • The Library of Congress has a wide selection of online maps and geography resources that can make their way into the classroom. Online maps can help with spatial understanding, and there is even a link to an online “Earth as Art" exhibit using Landsat aerial images.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Geography and the Holidays

It’s the holiday season again! The geography of a place can be a huge influence on holiday traditions from food to folklore.

ESRI put together a fun story map showing how the story of Santa Claus has evolved over time and place. This can be a great way to introduce and discuss regional differences with younger students. Learner’s Online put together a convenient e-resource to provide background information on prominent winter holidays around the globe that can be used in conjunction with ESRI's story map.

Scholastic also offers thematic social studies resources to explore winter holiday traditions in the classroom. These resources include lesson and unit plans for K-8 grades on everything from Christmas to Hanukkah to Diwali, including how to plan your own multicultural holiday celebration for elementary school students.