Introduction    Grade Expectations  Directions   Resouces   Assessment  

Introduction

What is Geography?

Geography is the spatial study of the Earth; it isn’t just states and capitals or mountains and rivers. It isn’t just about where things are; it has to do with why they are located in that spot as opposed to somewhere else. It has to do with natural resources and movement of people, animals, and goods around the planet. It has to do with cultural differences between people and the boundaries that unite and divide these groups of people. If you can use a map to study a topic or learn more about it, then it is geographic.

 How often do you use Geography?

General Inquiry Process Steps

  • Build a foundation or draw on prior knowledge
  • Formulate Question
  • Investigate - Research - Cite Sources
  • Revise Question (if needed)
  •  Investigate - Research - Cite Sources
  • Formulate answer
  • Ask follow up questions expand inquiry – if time allows
  • Discuss- Share-Reflect

What is a Probing Question?

  • A single number, word, or statement can’t answer them
  • The answer can’t be copied, but rather must be formulated and constructed from research notes
  • The entire answer often can’t be found in just one place
  • Often begin with wording such as  “how” “why” or “to what extent”
  • Often lead to additional questions 

Examples of probing questions:

  • Why are many state capitals not the most well known city or largest city in the state?
  • To what extent are the United States and Canada cooperating to manage the great lakes?
  • How is water managed in the California desert so that farmers will be successful?


Grade Expectations

H&SS1 Students initiate an inquiry
H&SS7 Students communicate findings
H&SS11 Students interpret geography and solve geographic problems


Directions 

Step 1 - Question:
Draft a probing question you would like to know the answer and share with teacher. We will refine the question if needed before moving on to research. Use the worksheet for initiating inquiry

Step 2 - Identify where you may find information for your answer
Numerous maps and atlases are available in the classroom. The GEMS Learning Center contains many books and references that may contain information that will help you answer your question. Online sources will also be valuable but beware of getting bogged down in too much information. 

You should also know that it is unlikely you will find the complete answer in a single place where you can simply copy it down. Formulating the answer will take a little detective work, thinking, and the use of several sources. Your job in this stage is to take notes and collect facts that could be useful to your question.

You are responsible for citing all sources used. You may use either MLA or APA format.  Citation Machine makes this easy. If you have questions ask for assistance.

Step 3 - Formulate your answer
Put your facts together to answer the question. If you aren’t 100% sure of the answer that is OK, draw the most likely conclusion given the facts. Use these facts to support your answer when you explain your findings to others.

If you have tried to find information that will answer your question and are unable to come to conclusion with the notes that you have taken, organize your notes into the most interesting facts and determine what questions may have been answered by those facts.

Step 4 – Create a product to demonstrate your understanding of the answer
Use a small posterboard provided by the teacher. This could be a map, chart, graph, vocabulary list, poem, picture, graphic organizer, etc. Anything that will help you explain to others what you have found.

Step 5 - Discuss findings and research experience within a small group discussion. 


Resources

Here are a few links to get you started, but don't forget the great print resources including maps, atlases, class text, and reference books.

EBSCO, World Book Online and others located off the Learning Center Web Page

http://www.infoplease.com/

Google Maps

http://www.about.com

http://www.howstuffworks.com/

http://geology.com/

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/

http://nationalmap.gov/

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html

http://www.census.gov/

http://www.fedstats.gov/mapstats/thememaps/

http://en.wikipedia.org/

Remember  to cite all sources! See http://www.gemsvt.org/library/recommended_websites.htm  for pages to help you do so. Here is a link directly to Citation Machine
 


Assessment

 

Research

Product

Discussion/Sharing

Use of Time

Accomplished

Initiates high-level inquiry by formulating probing questions, identifying the needed information, locating, examining, and analyzing various resources, and creating complete source citations

Demonstrates thorough
understanding of topic, the ability to make numerous connections, and is a powerful, high quality, aid to share learning

Well prepared and demonstrates a strong desire to share learning with others

 Detail on Discussion Rubric

All time used wisely, extra time is used to extend and expand inquiry into additional areas

Proficient

Initiates inquiry, by formulating probing questions, identifying the needed information, locating and examining resources, and creating complete source citations

Demonstrates understanding of topic, the ability to make connections, and serves as an meaningful, high quality, aid to share learning

Prepared and demonstrates a desire to share learning with others

Detail on Discussion Rubric

All time used wisely

Amateur

Initiates inquiry by formulating probing questions, locating, and using resources, and creating source citations

Demonstrates new learning, the ability to make basic connections, and serves as an aid to share new learning

Not fully prepared, shares some learning with others

Detail on Discussion Rubric

Most time used wisely

Beginner

Initiates basic inquiry identifies, uses, and cites sources with assistance

Demonstrates basic learning

Unprepared, attempts to share learning with others

Detail on Discussion Rubric

Some time used wisely