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World Geography Lessons

The World Geography lessons are incorporated into two units of the PULSE curricula. The two units are Cultures and Cycles: Arsenic and Human Health and From Global to City Air: Air Quality, City Design and Disease. There are Geography components to other units as well.


The lessons are organized to concentrate on important big ideas, which are addressed by a learning cycle approach. At the completion of each big idea’s learning cycle students should be able to answer the corresponding driving question.

Typically, each learning cycle contains four lessons. The lessons associated with a specific learning cycle may take from a couple of days to a few weeks to complete. The first lesson engages the students' interest in the big idea, prompting them to demonstrate the background they bring to the topic and to ask questions. In the second lesson, students explore the big idea, searching for answers to their questions and expanding their understanding of the concept. The third lesson is an opportunity for students to explain the big idea. In the fourth lesson the students apply what they learned to a new situation.

The chemistry learning cycles of "Cultures and Cycles: Arsenic and Human Health" and "From Global to City Air: Air Quality, City Design and Disease", address National Standards for Social Studies for world geography and students explore how the concepts of Earth Sciences and World Geography are connecected. These two units also address earth sciences.

  • In "Cultures and Cycles: Arsenic and Human Health", described below, students investigate arsenic exposure via drinking water which is thought to affect thousands every year. But how does arsenic get into the drinking water? How can we get it out of the water and what illnesses does it cause? The answers to these questions help people better understand how arsenic affects their health.
  • In "From Global to City Air: Air Quality, City Design and Disease", described below, students explore the air impacts on human health and in turn how the humans affect air quality. The relationship between air quality and human health is pointedly clear in this unit as students explore the built community, buildings, highways, and industrial parks, plus environmental and human health.

At the end of the unit, the students will be able to apply their new scientific understanding to the Major Project where they produce a product to demonstrate what they learned in the unit.

  • For "Cultures and Cycles: Arsenic and Human Health", The major project is to organize and deliver a presentation to an assigned community where there is a large amount of arsenic present in the drinking water. Students will formulate a persuasive advisory to the public educating the community not only about why arsenic is in the water and its’ affects in the ground water, but also the actions that might be taken to reduce the arsenic in the water they consume.
  • For "From Global to City Air: Air Quality, City Design and Disease", Students take on the role of city planners as they design a city with health at the top of their considerations. Using the actual physical geographical location of major cities, they develop a scaled model of a city including the zones within a city. Students focus on excellent air quality as a feature of a healthy city and using their understanding of climate, weather, and air movement, design their city accordingly.

 

"Cultures and Cycles: Arsenic and Human Health"
5 Essential Questions for 5 Big Ideas
Project time to complete: 8 weeks
     
1
How are maps and other technologies useful?
Big Idea
Maps and other technologies can be used to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective.
     
2
How do changes in the earth affect different regions of the world?
Big Idea
There is a fragile balance between the earth’s four geo-spheres as is seen by the recent climatic changes.
     
3
How do people adapt to their physical environment?
Big Idea
Places are characterized by their physical and human properties.
     
4
How do people deal with disasters that may be human induced or natural?
Big Idea
Humans perceive and react to disasters differently depending on their culture and physical environment.
     
5
How can various technologies be used to address environmental problems?
Big Idea
Geographic knowledge, skills and perspectives are used to analyze current problems and make decisions for the future.
     

 

"From Global to City Air: Air Quality, City Design and Disease"
5 Essential Questions for 5 Big Ideas
Project time to complete: 8 weeks
     
1
What are the purposes of journal writing?
Big Idea

Journal writing stimulates personal growth, self reflection, and can serve as a record of personal health. Journals have also been used to record a wealth of historical information, from climate conditions to daily life.

     
2
Which reading strategy is most appropriate to use in order to comprehend a given text?
Big Idea
Certain reading strategies are better suited to understanding scientific and historical texts as opposed to literary texts.
     
3
How does literature reflect the cultural beliefs and values of a society?
Big Idea
Reading multicultural fiction and nonfiction reveals to us that writing is influenced by cultural values and societal beliefs. Such reading encourages us to examine how society affects our own ideas and perspectives about various topics, including environmental health.
     
4
What tools do authors use to craft engaging, vivid texts?
Big Idea

Literary analysis can be used to discover the techniques authors use to construct convincing fictional and nonfiction texts that deal with a variety of historical and scientific topics.

     
5 How does the writing of a formal document differ from other types of writing?
Big Idea

Formal documents such as resumes, business letters, and essays require a specific format and tone.

     

 

 

 

 

 

 


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

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Supported by NIEHS grant # ES06694


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Last update: March 8, 2007
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