Parks are all around us and provide excellent opportunities for students to explore, energize, or relax. Similarly, this week’s Maps 101 content provides opportunities to engage students in class or at home, to keep their minds active, engaged, and exploring.
Identifying Characteristics of a Place
Teachers all over the country report to us that their students are lacking basic geographic knowledge and skills. This week’s content provides a perfect opportunity to engage students in practicing these skills.
A basic geographic skill is recognizing the difference between a place and a location. Places have distinct characteristics. Locations are addresses or coordinates that pinpoint where a place is on Earth. Using the National Parks Field Trip, the GNN article on the Grand Canyon, or for the younger audience, the Parks Are Fun! Field Trip, have students create a graphic organizer that identifies at least three different places. Then, have them describe characteristics of these places that help them identify what the place is and what its purpose is.
If able, take a walking tour of your area, pointing out various places and how they can be distinguished from other places. Look at architecture, signage, advertising, what is in or at the place that distinguishes it. In this way, students will practice identification, evaluate what is important, and analyze their own experience to enrich their understanding.