5 themes of geography projects

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MsMar, Jul 31, 2015.

  1. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    I'll be teaching 6th grade social studies for the first time this school year and we start off with the 5 themes of geography. I am wondering if anyone has taught this and has a fun project idea to share. Thanks!
     
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  3. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    We had a project but I wasn't a huge fan so we don't do it anymore. I'm looking for something better too. We intro it with a PowerPoint and then incorporate the 5 themes into our continent study. There are a lot of free things on treachers pay teachers though.
     
  4. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    I did browse there and found some things with potential. There's a nice looking word wall and poster set for $4 that I'm considering buying too. Since it's a brand new classroom for me and the person in it before me taught math, I've got a whole lot of nothing for my walls!

    I'm leaning towards doing something where the students get to create their own country, draw it, and explain how it shows the 5 different themes. I'm thinking if they create their own country the themes will stick in their head better. Plus I may not have access to a computer lab or other tools to do research on an actual country or place. By creating their own country it takes that component out of it.

    Seems to me the biggest challenge with the 5 themes is differentiating between region and place. Have any suggestions on how to best get across the difference between the two?

    Out of curiosity, what's the project you've done that you're no longer a fan of?
     
  5. dmbfan36

    dmbfan36 Rookie

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    Last year I did a book project that the kids seemed to have liked. It's mostly done at home and I gave them a choice of 5 or 6 countries to choose from. They had to research the country and write about how each of the 5 themes is found and use a certain amount of vocab words from our unit. We plan on doing in again in September.
     
  6. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    I have been teaching Geog this year. we don't do themes but one topic that the kids really had to think about was globalisation. Getting them to research where the very expensive trainers (sneakers) they are wearing actually come from and how much the children making them earn.
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    A classroom can be seen as a place, with physical characteristics that include room shape, walls, and furnishings (lab tables vs. desks vs. risers for band/choir) and human characteristics that run along the lines of how the desks are arranged and the teacher's tastes in inspirational posters. Regions are distinguished by unifying properties and, crucially, by boundaries:

    - the different wings or floors or buildings of a school demonstrate formal (fixed) boundaries, like city limits, and the fenced-off kindergarten area is clearly a region with formal boundaries

    - if each wing has three classrooms so the fourth of four third-grade classes is in a portable at the end of the wing that houses the others, we can still speak of the third-grade region, and there we're dealing with functional boundaries; functional boundaries go away when their function ceases, so part of the chunk of playground that's marked for soccer in one season may be assimilated into the chunk that's used for softball in another, and the space set aside for the school fall carnival disappears entirely when the carnival ends

    - "where the cool kids sit at lunch" demonstrates a vernacular boundary
     
  8. SummerIsTooLong

    SummerIsTooLong Rookie

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    When I taught 6th grade I did an introductory unit that went over the five themes and culminated with a make your own country project. The students made brochures and wrote reports on their country. They also created their country using salt dough and had to be sure include a certain amount of physical geography elements in their country's design. I can try and find the info on it if you're interested.
     
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2015
  9. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    I do a short introduction to the Five Themes as a part of my geography intro unit. I ask students to work in groups to create a poster that illustrates the Five Themes. They scour the internet, magazines, etc. for images, and they then pair their images with a theme. Additionally, i ask them to define each theme and write a couple of sentences explaining where they see the theme in our community.

    As a final assessment for the activity, I give students a short story to read. They are to identify parts of the story that illustrate each of the Five Themes.
     
  10. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Our old "project" that was really just a larger assignment was a photocopy of a puzzle with 15 interlocking pieces. Students had to examine where they live and reflect on the 5 themes by writing descriptions or drawing 3 pieces for each theme. For example the 3 pieces for location weight include a relative location of their home + absolute location ( street address, latitude / longitude ). It did cause students to really think about where they live.
     
  11. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Thanks TG, I like how you tied it all into the school. I think that will be a great way to help differentiate between place and region.
     
  12. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    If you find it, that would be great. Thanks a bunch!
     
  13. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Thanks everyone for the great suggestions! Now I need to figure out my pacing guide and see how much time I have on this before I need to move on to the next unit. I know it's not something we spend a ton of time on, but I don't want to just zip through it either. These project suggestions look like a great way to get them to understand the 5 themes instead of just memorizing or doing some worksheets.
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Well, and this is a good opportunity to model using what one knows to get a better grip on what one doesn't; I find this works well with all manner of learners.
     
  15. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Can I ask, what are the 5 themes?
     
  16. geoteacher

    geoteacher Devotee

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    place, location, region, human-environment interaction, and movement - They are a framework for teaching geography. When studying an area, students can use it he themes to gather geographic information. For instance, for location, we would ask where the area is. We could then gather information about relative and absolute location to help answer that question.
     
  17. blazer

    blazer Connoisseur

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    Thanks. We tend to break it down into Physical, Human and Environmental areas.
     
  18. LiterallyLisa

    LiterallyLisa Companion

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    Aug 1, 2015

    We did 5 Themes of _______ Middle school (they divided a poster/paper into five sections and could decribe, draw, cut and paste pictures to describe each theme) Seen somewhere where a teacher did 5 themes of my backyard (so basically where your student lives)
     

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