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 World Geography
Home • Curriculum • Social Studies • World Geography
Learning Outcomes
Teaching/Learning Strategies
These 15 outcomes should be applied to each of the world regions identified in the Massachusetts Frameworks: Africa, Western Asia, Central and South Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania, North and East Asia, Europe, and South America.

1. Use map and globe skills learned in prekindergarten to grade five to interpret different kinds of projections, as well as topographic, landform, political, population, and climate maps. (G)

2. Use geographic terms correctly, such as delta, glacier, location, settlement, region, natural resource, human resource, mountain, hill, plain, plateau, river, island, isthmus, peninsula, erosion, climate, drought, monsoon, hurricane, ocean and wind currents ,tropics, rain forest, tundra, desert, continent, region, country, nation, and urbanization.(G)

In alignment with Massachusetts State Frameworks Standards: A.1, A.2, W.A1, W.A2, CSA.1, CSA.2, SEAO.1, SEAO.2, NEA.1, NEA.2, E.1, E.2, SAM.1, SAM.2; A - option 4,5; WA – option 5

  • Draw a world map on an orange and then peel the orange so map lays flat to illustrate the difference between a globe and a flat projection.
  • Assign a world region to students.  Students use atlases to gather information from different types of maps of their particular regions.  Students present their information in regional Fact Sheets.  These are gathered into a class book.

  • Make an illustrated dictionary of geographical terms.
  • Discuss how people adapt to geographical features or alter them for economic reasons.  Discuss the ethics of altering the environment.
Global awareness.

Stewardship of the earth and its resources.
www.usgs.gov (US Geological Society)

Small Worlds: Maps and Mapmaking – Karen Young

Interact Publishing Geography Simulations:
Analyze the impressions given by different types of map projections.

Choose a country, identify its major geographical features, and explain how these features affected how that country was settled and developed.

Learning Center:  
Where in the World Is….
Set up a center with various types of atlases and a globe.  Have students search for a list of world cities with interesting names, a list of archaeological sites, a list of locations in the news, etc.  Or provide a list of clues to various locations on a journey around the world.  Students map their journey.  
Learning Outcomes
Teaching/Learning Strategies
3. Interpret geographic information from a graph or chart and construct a graph or chart that conveys geographic information (e.g., about rainfall, temperature, or population size data). (G)

4. Explain the difference between absolute and relative location and give examples of different ways to indicate relative location for countries or cities across the world. (G)

5. Identify how current world atlases are organized and the kind of information they provide for each continent and country. (G)

In alignment with Massachusetts State Frameworks Standards: A.3, WA.3, CSA.3, SEAO.3, NEA.3, E.3,  SAM.3; A – option 5; CSA – option 8; NEA – option 4,5,6

  • Students work in cooperative groups to create an electronic database of population size in regions of the world and use the information collected to graphically compare regions.
  • Pole to Pole Travelogue: assign students a line of longitude to travel along from the North to the South Pole.  Students keep a travelogue of countries visited along the way.
  • Follow and plot a ship’s travels: cargo ship, cruise ship, local fishing vessel, ship in the America’s Cup or other race.
  • Create a class atlas.  Each student draws a map of an assigned country and creates a fact sheet about that country. Bind all student maps together to make an atlas that will be used as a reference book.  

Global awareness

Stewardship of the earth and its resources

Appreciation for diversity

National Geographic Family Reference Atlas of the World

Atlas of World Cultures – Brunetto Chiarelli

World Geography: Standard Deviants DVD - Cerebellum
Identify the major landforms, countries, and cities on each continent.

Learning Center:
What’s the Weather Like?
Students use the internet to track weather on each continent for a given period.  Students chart their findings.
Learning Outcomes
Teaching/Learning Strategies
6.Identify what time zones are, when and how the precise measurement of longitude was scientifically and historically determined, the function and location of the international
date line, and the function of the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England, and give examples of differences in time in countries in different parts of the world. (G)

7. Use the following demographic terms correctly: ethnic group, religious group, and linguistic group. (G)

8. Define what a nation is and give examples of the different ways nations are formed. (C)
In alignment with Massachusetts State Frameworks Standards: A.3, A.4, A.5, WA.3, WA.4, WA.5, CSA.4, SEAO.3, SEAO.4, NEA.3, NEA.4, E.3, SAM.3, SAM.4; A – option 2,3,7; WA – option 2,3,4,6,7; NEA – option 2,3,8,9, CSA – option 1,2,4,6,7; SEAO – option 2,3,5,6; E - option 2,3,6; SAM – option 2,3
  • Divide the room into time zones. Place battery operated clocks around the room, labeled with a major city in the time zone.  Have students act out what someone might be doing in their time zone when it is 10 am. EST.
  • Students choose a culture and make a culture capsule containing  samples to illustrate that culture: music, art, language, crafts, traditions, etc.
  • Compare the diversity of the people of the United States with more ethnically homogeneous nations.  Discuss the effect of current immigration trends in Europe.  Discuss how nations redefine themselves as their population becomes more heterogeneous.
  • Identify the major ethnic, religious, and linguistic groups in the regions of the world.
  • Work in groups to prepare a presentation on ethnic or religious conflict in a particular world region.

Dignity of each person


Solidarity with our brothers and sisters all over the world

Appreciation for diversity

Rand McNally Premier World Atlas
www.cia.gov  (The World Factbook)

Smithsonian Institution
National Archives
Faces Magazine
Dig Magazine
Calliope Magazine
National Geographic Kids Magazine

Compose and deliver a speech promoting tolerance and acceptance of immigrants.

Learning Center:
Cultural Corner
This center changes as you focus on different regions.  Materials: maps, music CDs, artifacts, books, language tapes, folktales, poetry from the region you are studying.  Design activities for the students to explore the culture: e.g.  learn 5 phrases in the language and teach them to three adults; make a story map of a folktale; write a poem in the regional style;  listen to regional music and paint your feelings as you listen; make a tourism poster advertising the region’s cultural activities; make a piece of art in the regional style.      
Learning Outcomes
Teaching/Learning Strategies
9. Give examples of several well-known international organizations (e.g., the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the British Commonwealth, the European Union, and the United Nations) and explain their purposes and functions. (C)

10.Provide examples of currencies from several countries and explain why international trade requires a system for exchanging currency between nations. (E)

11.Give examples of products that are traded among nations, and examples of barriers to trade in these or other products. (E)

In alignment with Massachusetts State Frameworks Standards:
A– option topic 6, SEAO – option 1,4,7; E – option 5; NEA – option 1; E- option 1,4,5,7; SAM – option 1,4
  • Groups research an international organization and teach the class about that organization.
  • Make an itinerary for a class trip around the world.  Convert dollars into the appropriate currency for each country visited.

  • Have students mark on a map the countries of origin of the clothes they are wearing.  Have them inventory items in their homes to find location of origin.  Gather data on a world map.  Analyze data.

  • Students interview their parents and/or grandparents about a product that was in demand in the past but that is not in demand today.  Analyze the reasons why this product is no longer in demand.

Understanding of fair trade

Interdependence – global responsibility

Peaceful conflict resolution

www.fte.org  (Foundation for Teaching Economics)

Debate the role of NATO in the post-Soviet world.

Analyze barriers to trade in a given developing country.

Write an essay evaluating the benefits/drawbacks of the euro vs. a national currency for the countries of Europe.

Draw a political cartoon illustrating injustices in trade.

Learning Center:
Letters to the Editor
Provide current events magazines and newspapers. Students examine issues currently being discussed by international organizations.  Students write letters to the editor expressing their opinion on an event.  (The Vatican web site posts any statements made by Vatican representatives/ delegates to the United Nations and other organizations.  These can be printed out and used as resources for the Catholic perspective.)  
Learning Outcomes
Teaching/Learning Strategies
12.Define supply and demand and describe how changes in supply and demand affect prices of specific products. (E)
Supply is what producers or sellers want to sell or exchange. Demand is what consumers or buyers want to get in exchange or buy

13.Identify the key elements of a market economy. (E)
In a market economy, the major decisions about production and distribution are made in a decentralized manner by individual households and business firms following their own self-interest

14.Describe how different economic systems (traditional, command, market, mixed) try to answer the basic economic questions of what to produce, how to produce, and for whom to produce. (E)
In alignment with Massachusetts State Frameworks Standards:
A– option 6, SEAO – option 4,6;  E – option 5
  • Discuss how natural resources affect the economic development of a country.  

  • Discuss the rights of workers as presented in Catholic social justice teaching: the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to organize and join unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.
  • Students draw posters illustrating how the different types of economies work.
Understanding of the rights of workers

Appreciation for the dignity of human work as a participation in God’s creation.
www.nccbuscc.org  (United States Catholic Conference)

Ready-to-Use World Geography Activities -  James Silver

Geography Skills Activity Kit – James Silver

Geography – Kenneth Davis

Geography Curriculum Activities – James Silver

Analyze the benefits/disadvantages of the different types of economies.

Construct a chart showing distribution and use of the world’s resources by continent.

Write an essay answering the question, “Who owns the natural resources found in a country?”

Learning Center:
Gather a collection of challenging puzzles and games, such as World Dash! (ITOS Enterprises), Made for Trade (Educational Learning Games), Passport To Culture (Educational Learning Games, Atlas Adventures (Green Board Games), Peoples Of The Planet (Bioviva), Artifacts (Outset Media Corporation), The Global Puzzle (A Broader View), and Bioviva (Bioviva).  Students play a game in groups and fill out a cooperative learning assessment sheet.
Learning Outcomes
Teaching/Learning Strategies
15.Compare the standard of living in various countries today using gross domestic product per capita as an indicator. (E)

In alignment with Massachusetts State Frameworks Standards:
A– option 1, 4, 6; WA – option 1; CSA –option 5; SEAO – option 1,4, 7; NEA – option 1; E – option 1

  • Make chloropleth maps of regions to compare GDP.

Mini-State Department Project:  Divide the class into State Department Bureaus
Bureau of African Affairs (AF)                                      Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP)
Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR)          Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA)
Bureau of South Asian Affairs (SA)                              Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA)
This is a year-long project.  Each bureau is responsible for thoroughly researching its region and providing geographic, economic, political, cultural, ethnic, religious, and current events information about the region.  Economic and political relationships between regions are explored by representative bureaus working together. Teams are responsible for presenting the information to the rest of the class through posters, brochures, fact sheets, multimedia presentations, weekly news bulletins.  Presentations on various aspects of the regions can be given as these aspects are covered in whole-class lessons (Department Briefings).  For example, when map interpretation is covered, groups present various types of maps they have made of their regions.
Understand the Church’s preferential option for the poor

Understand the need to work for the common good in local and global communities.

www.nccbuscc.org  (United States Catholic Conference)

A Beginning: Resource Book for Incorporating Values and Teachings in the Catholic School Curriculum – Sr. Mary Leanne Welch  (NCEA)

Discuss the responsibility of developed countries toward developing countries.

Write a speech to the United Nations General Assembly about the needs of a particular developing country.

Analyze ways nations of a given region work together to raise the standard of living.