Title: Regions Change 219

Key Words: region, change

National Standard: 17 ( Applying geography to interpret the past)

State Standard: 15 (Applying geography to interpret the past)

Teaching Level: Middle School

Introduction: There are many factors that contribute to change in a region. Several have their root in either physical or cultural geography. This lesson introduces students to the many ways geography can have an impact on change in a region.

Objective: Students will explore the concept that geographic factors play a role in how a place or region changes.

Materials: Handout: From This to That

Procedure: Use a leading question like: "What do you think this area will be like in 50 years?"

Possible answers: "There will be a park where this building is because a new technology made it possible for education to take place at home; therefore, the space was returned to its original natural setting." -or- "One of you become very famous and now this town draws millions of tourists every year. Many tourists come to see and visit the school you attended. These tourists follow an abbreviated school day schedule like you had in the old days when children came to a school building for their education."

Ask students to pair up for this activity. Give each pair of students the handout, From This to That, and explain the writing assignment.

Give students time to read through the choices and the list of factors that could be responsible for the change. Encourage them to discuss their ideas before writing. Circulate to offer assistance or keep students on task.

Invite several students to share their short stories with the class. After several examples have been given, ask students to write down the geographic factors that were used in the stories to explain why the place or region changed.

Pose this question for discussion: "If you can see change coming and could prepare for it, what decisions would you make about what to do?"

Draw conclusions. Some examples are:
Regions change for many reasons.
Geographic factors help explain why change occurred.
Changes can be for the better or for the worse.

If you understand the reasons why regions change, you can see change coming and prepare for the positive change instead of the negative.

Evaluation/Assessment: Write a paragraph to explain why regions change.

Extension/Enrichment: Choose a real example of a region changing and find out the geographic reasons. Some suggestions are:
Growth and decline of Timbuktu, Mali
Why Mecca became a focal point in Islam
Baghdad, past and present
How St. Louis, Missouri became an important city
What happened in Hawaii when plantations were started
How a desert region in Nevada turned into Las Vegas
How arid southern California became a high yield agricultural area
Growth, decline, and rebirth of mill towns in the Merrimack River Valley of New Hampshire and Massachusetts
How political entities such as a town become part of a larger political entity such as a city, e.g. Malboro o Keene

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 in the future and pass them along to the NHGA. We appreciate your comments.
Thank you,
The authors

Handout: From This to That

Read through the list and select one situation. Write a short story to explain how it changed from one thing to another. Include references to the geographic factors that contributed to the change.

1. From boom town to ghost town
2. From railroad depot to fancy restaurant
3. From floodplain farm to river park
4. From military base to center of industry
5. From slum to thriving community
6. From factory building to housing for the elderly
7. From wooded road to mall heaven
8. From thriving village to many abandoned houses and businesses
9. From rural area to popular tourist spot
10. From run down port city to historic district

Ideas to help you start thinking of what geography factor might have been responsible for the change.

1. A natural wonder discovered
2. A new transportation or communication system
3. A surge or drop in population
4. A force of nature hit (blight, drought, flood, volcanic eruption)
5. A natural resource was just discovered or was just depleted
6. The construction of a dam or canal
7. A culture clash
8. People's tastes, needs, or attitudes changed
9. A location was no longer considered strategic
10. New industries moved in or many old ones moved out
11. A border changed
12. Other regions could produce more and get it done faster
13. Isolation was an attractive feature

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