Title: The White Mountain Region 213

Key Words: Five themes of geography

National Standard: 5 (People create regions to interpret Earth's complexity)

State Standard: 11 (How people define regions in terms of physical and cultural criteria)

Teaching Level: Middle School

Introduction: Looking at the world through a geographic lens is one way to understand the relationship between people, places, and the environment. By looking at a particular geographic feature through the five themes of geography: location (absolute and relative), place (cultural and physical), region, movement, and human/environmental interaction, we can develop an understanding of the world around us.

Objective: Students will describe the White Mountains in New Hampshire through the five themes of geography.

Materials: Maps of the White Mountain National Forest, NH Highway maps, tourist maps, or a NH Gazetteer/Atlas.
A variety of pamphlets or brochures on the White Mts. (can be found at information booths and Chambers of Commerce); post cards; newspaper articles or magazine articles about the White Mts. for a bulletin board display as background motivation.
A variety of objects connected with the White Mts. (see suggested list in the Procedure).
Handout: The Five Themes of Geography.
Five signs naming each of the five themes (one theme per sign).

Procedure: Ask students to make a list of words to describe the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Allow three to five minutes for this and ask students to save the list until the end of class.

Using the Five Themes of Geography handout, briefly review the concept of the five themes of geography. Display a variety of objects connected with the White Mts. on one table or desk and then place the signs of each of the five themes of geography on five different desks. Tell students to categorize the objects on the one table or desk into each of the five themes of geography. Have students place each object on the desk that has the theme which best categorizes the object. Students may note that many of the objects can be placed into one or more themes depending on the facet of the object they want it to represent. Ask students to explain why they put the objects into certain geographical thematic categories.

Some examples of objects connected with the White Mts. and placed into the five themes of geography categories are:
Location- An AMC Trail Guide that shows the location of each mountain in the range.

Place - granite; postcards of the Old Man of the Mountain; figurine of a llama, which is becoming a popular pack animal on treks; pair of longjohns; parka; model of an antique car to represent the early road races to the top of the mountain.

Movement - postcards of the Cog Railway; NH Highway map; pitons; model of a gondola; skis; snowshoes.

Region - Vesey Seed Catalog to show cold region planting information; model of a military jet, A-10 or F-16 to show the mountains are a training region for aircraft; pictures of alpine flowers to represent the alpine region; map highlighting the White Mts. as a tourist region; map showing land area by wind power class; map showing regions of population density of the state; box of brownie mix to show the region as a high elevation region requiring special cake making directions.

Human/Environment Interaction - a model of a logging truck; a picture of a peregrine falcon to show the efforts being made to restore the population; post cards showing roads made through the notches (gaps, passes); an artist's brush to show the artistic interaction with the natural setting; a model train to represent the railroads built to bring tourists and skiers; posters of ski trails.

Ask students to think of other objects that could describe the White Mts. through the five themes of geography, and tell them to take three to five minutes to repeat the categorizing activity.

Compare the list they developed in the beginning of class to the new list they composed. Ask for volunteers to comment on the comparisons and content of their lists.

Ask volunteers to tell why using the five themes of geography is a good starting point to study the White Mts. region of New Hampshire.

Draw conclusions. Some example are: The five themes of geography offer you five ways to look at a topic, in this case the White Mts.
Some descriptive objects can fit into more than one theme depending on the focus..
People interact with and within the White Mts. in many ways.
Ask students to draw their own conclusions.

Evaluation/Assessment: Display the objects pertaining to the White Mts. in different areas of the classroom. Give students time to walk too each display and make a decision about which object they will use to represent each of the five themes of geography. Ask students to return to their seats and fill out a form containing the following three elements: Object, Theme, Explanation of How the Object Fits the Theme.

Extension/Enrichment: Have students select their favorite geography theme and do further research about the White Mts.

Select another mountain range anywhere in the USA or world and begin exploring it through the five themes of geography until you find inspiration for a report, poster, or model to show what you learned. Include a list of all the sources used: maps; tables; charts; graphs; explorer's notes; photographs; videos.

Reflection: How successful was this lesson? Did all students benefit? Were there any surprises? What might you do differently another time? Please note any changes that will make this lesson more effective and useful and pass them along to the NHGA. We appreciate your comments.
Thank you,
The authors

Handout: The Five Themes of Geography

LOCATION: The location of a place can be described in terms of absolute location, its lines of latitude and longitude. Location can also be explained in terms of relative location, where something is in relation to something else; for example, New Hampshire is north of Massachusetts.

PLACE: Place is described in both physical and human or cultural features. Physical features of a place are climate, soil, bodies of water, landforms, plant life, animal life. Human or cultural features of a place are ways of earning a living, languages, religions, architecture, transportation.

REGION: An area of the world that has similar, unifying characteristics. These characteristics can be physical or human. A region can be as large as a hemisphere or as small as a classroom.

MOVEMENT: Movement in geographic terms is how people, goods, and ideas get from one place to another. Some examples are: newspapers, roads, the Internet, bicycles, books.

HUMAN/ENVIRONMENT INTERACTION: This theme explores how people have adapted and changed their natural environment to live. Some changes and adaptations have brought enormous benefits while others have created new problems. Some examples are: building irrigation ditches, creating ski areas, making gardens. These changes, however, can cause air and water pollution.


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