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From Global to City Air - World Geography Lessons

World geography explores the patterns and functions of human settlement, specifically cities. Students assess how physical geography affects settlements and cities and how health concerns can play a central role in city design. The history of human settlement, impact of physical systems on human systems, and urban geography are the underlying topics addressed in this unit. Students’ work in this unit provides the necessary background students will need to complete the final project - the creation of an environmentally-friendly city with minimal air and water pollution that considers the physical geography and cultural needs of a given region.

Content Standards addressed by this unit include: ‘The World in Spatial Terms’, ‘Places and Regions’, and ‘Human Systems’.

Threaded Big Idea
Human settlement is historically based on its functions, physical location, climate, and cultural needs. These settlements reflect a city’s history and impact its future developmental needs in relationship to its inhabitants.
Essential Question
How do cities develop historically based on the cultural and developmental needs of its inhabitants, and continue to change to meet current/growing needs?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
Describe my City
This Engage lesson is the beginning of a series that helps students explore the functions of cities by creating a visual image of their own neighborhood. In this lesson students will begin to recognize why people live in cities and engage in activities based on their cultural and economic needs, and physical location.
1. Diagram, list, and label the major business and cultural centers of the neighborhood where they grew up.

2. Identify its major cultural aspects including major language(s), religion(s), and art.

3. Describe the geography of their city.

5 class periods
Week 1

Explore
Human Migration in the United States
The United States is the world’s third largest country in land area and population. Its abundance of natural resources and variations in climate, fertile soil, and plentiful water has attracted many immigrants in search of a better life.
1. Locate the 4 major subregions of the U.S.

2. Distinguish the economic functions, natural resources, physical features, and climate of each region to examine how they shaped development and settlement.

3. Explain the push-pull factors of migration in each region.
2 class periods
Week 2
Explain
Hello Mexico City
In this lesson, students will research and explain the functions, characteristics, and cultural aspects of Mexico City and analyze how they have affected development and settlement.

Describe the physical features, cultural characteristics, economic activities, and urban geography of Mexico City.

2 class periods
Week 2

Apply
What’s In Your City’s Future?
In this Apply lesson, students will review and evaluate their notes, specifically their responses to the Mexico City homework, with their partner to identify potential problems and solutions regarding air pollution in the city where they live.
Interpret the characteristics of your city and analyze potential future issues it will encounter.
1 class period
Week 2

 

Threaded Big Idea
Geography, climate, and geology impact the choices of human settlement.
Essential Question
In what ways do geography, climate, and geology affect cities and the ways humans live within those cities?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
Your Favorite Hobbies
In this Engaging lesson, the teacher will begin the unit that leads to the idea of how climate and geography influence the way people live in their cities.
Identify how geography and climate affect human activity.

1 class period
Week 3

Explore
Ancient Cities
Explore how geography and climate affected the development and land use of ancient cities.
3 class periods
Week 3
Explain
Getting to Work and Making Money
In this lesson students explain the role of geography and climate in relationship to professions and forms of transportation unique to their city.

Explain the major professional lifestyles in a city are a product of the climate and geography..

1 class period
Week 3

Apply
Fun In the City
In this lesson students will apply their understanding of a city’s layout based on geography and climate. The favorite hobbies that students listed in the Engage lesson will be the sources from which students design their ideal city.
Given your city’s climate and geography, as well as your personal interests, design a new layout for your city.
2 class periods
Week 4

 

Threaded Big Idea
A city’s geography and climate, and the ways in which human actions modify or live within the environment, affect air quality and environmental health.
Essential Question
How do city landscapes and human industrial and residential actions directly impact air quality and human health?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
Looking for the Dirty Scoop
In this engage lesson, the teacher will begin to introduce the idea that there is a connection between geography, climate, city functions, resident activities and air pollution.
Identify forms and locations of transportation, industries, and waste disposal and locate where most air pollution is emitted.

2 class periods
Week 4

Explore
Not In My City
This lesson will give students the opportunity to explore the issue of air pollution and its negative health effects on city residents.
Identify types of pollution caused by different elements of a city and analyze how and why this affects people of different socio-economic status.
3 class periods
Week 4 & 5
Explain
Saved by the Law
In this lesson students explain to each other the legislative efforts to improve air quality and local health issues.

Explain the legislative efforts of local or state government regarding air quality issues in your city.

1 class period
Week 5

Apply
Smart Cities
This lesson’s intent is to have students analyze how a city in the United States and one beyond, have created “smart growth” ideas to improve air quality and healthy living.
Analyze how 3 specific major cities have worked to improve human health and environment.
3 class periods
Week 5 & 6

 

Threaded Big Idea
The environmental issues within a city that are created by climate, geography, and geology must be considered, in relationship to human health, when developing an environmentally safe city.
Essential Question
Considering its physical environment, how can an environmentally healthy city be developed and planned today?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
Dreaming of a Healthy City
Dreaming of a Healthy City is the introductory lesson to this unit’s final project. During the lesson students review the essential elements of a city.
Identify essential elements of a city while maintaining high air quality standards.

1 class period
Week 6

Explore/Explain
Planning a Healthy City
Students will apply their understanding of city layout and effects of city design on air quality and environmental health as they build a scaled model city.
Create “blueprint” for a city that contains all essential elements while maintaining high quality air standards.
2 class periods
Week 6
Apply
Building a Healthy City
Students will apply their understanding of city layout and effects of city design on air quality and environmental health as they build a scaled model city.

Build a scale model city, in a given location, that contains all essential elements while maintaining high quality air standards.

5 class periods
Week 7

 

Threaded Big Idea
City policies and plans can be evaluated to reflect the current need to develop healthy cities.
Essential Question
In what ways can new city policies and plans be changed or improved to continue evaluating the construction of a healthy city?
Learning Cycle
Lesson Title & Description
Objective
Students will:
Class period & week
Engage
Mega-cites Have Their Mega-problems
Explore mega cities and identify problems specifically associated with mega cities.

1 class period
Week 8

Explore/Explain
Us and Them
Compare and contrast their model cities with the actual cities. Explain why the actual city might have developed as it did. Identify the solutions that could be incorporated into the existing city.
1-2 class periods
Week 8
Apply
A Recommendation for the Future

Write a formal letter outlining air quality concerns of a given city and describing might begin to improve air quality. Propose at least one city policy or plan that will ensure cleaner air for future inhabitants of the city.

1-2 class periods
Week 8


PULSE is a project of the Community Outreach and Education Program of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center and is funded by:


an
NIH/NCRR award #16260-01A1
The Community Outreach and Education Program is part of the Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center: an NIEHS Award

LOGO - SWEHSC
LOGO - NIEHS Center LOGO - NIEHS

Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694


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Last update: November 10, 2009
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