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Events in Physical Geography--Grades 9-12

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Introduction

Geography in the News™ includes many articles about topics in physical geography. In this lesson, students will read a few of these articles to find out the ways in which physical events are affecting human populations and the ways in which people are responding to the geographic events around them. They'll write public service announcements to inform people about a particular geographic event, and they'll research the ways in which government is responding to an aspect of physical geography, such as earthquake danger or global warming.

Time Frame: 3-4 class periods

Objectives and Standards

Students will:

  • Discuss people's and government's reactions to a recent natural disaster or weather event.
  • Read and take notes on Geography in the News™ articles concerning physical geography.
  • Write public service announcements informing the public about an event covered in the articles.
  • Research and report on the ways in which government is responding to events or potential events in physical geography.

National Social Studies Standards:

  • 3: People, Places, and Environments: Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of people, places, and environments.


National Geography Standards:

  • 7: The physical processes that shape the patterns of Earth's surface.
  • 15: How physical systems affect human systems.
  • 18: How to apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future.

Maps and Materials Needed

Materials Needed:

  • Student handout (one copy for each student)

Procedure

  1. Ask students to think of a recent natural disaster or major weather event and explain in a class discussion what people did about it. How did the general public react? How did the government react? Were people adequately prepared? What are people saying after the fact?
  2. Have students read at least three Geography in the News™ articles concerning topics in physical geography, such as tectonic activity, weather, or global warming. The articles don't have to cover disasters or sudden events; they can concern processes that are occurring gradually over time. Have students read the articles and take notes on each one, answering the following questions for each (they can use the handout for this purpose):
    • What is the geographic event or events discussed in the article?
    • How did this event get started, and how has it developed over time?
    • What are the potential consequences of this event?
    • What are people doing to prepare for this type of event or in response to this occurrence?
  3. Ask each student to choose one of the articles and write a public service announcement that might appear on the radio or in a newspaper to inform people about this geographic issue or event. Students should consider the following points as they write:
    • The announcement should clarify the situation and, if applicable, provide information explaining how the public should respond.
    • The announcement should explain the things that are currently being done in response to this geographic issue.
    • The public will want as much information as possible about the geographic changes that are occurring in their locale, but they'll want the information to be presented in a clear and concise manner.
  4. Have students choose an issue related to physical geography and find out what the local, state, or federal government is doing about that issue. For example, if they live near a fault, they can find out what the local government is doing to help the community prepare for an earthquake. Or, they can research the things that the federal government is doing to increase awareness of and prepare for the effects of global warming. Ask students to present their findings in written or oral reports and to include graphics whenever possible.

Assessment Suggestions

Check to make sure that students have:

  • Participated in class discussions.
  • Read the articles.
  • Completed the table in the handout with answers that reflect their understanding of the articles.
  • Written convincing public service announcements that follow the recommendations in step 3.
  • Presented the findings of their research on government responses to geographic events in a clear and informative manner.


Events in Physical Geography

Student Handout

Read at least three Geography in the News™ articles that concern topics in physical geography, and complete the table, answering questions for each article.

Article 1

Article 2

Article 3

What is the geographic event or events discussed in the article?

 

 

 

How did this event get started, and how has it developed over time?

 

 

 

What are the potential consequences of this event?

 

 

 

What are people doing to prepare for this type of event or in response to this occurrence?

 

 

 

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