Curriculum

K-12 GEOGRAPHY STANDARDS



GEOGRAPHY


 

1. Students know how to use maps, globes, and other geographic tools to locate and derive information about people, places, and environments.
2. Students know the physical and human characteristics of places, and can use this knowledge to define and study regions for the purpose of interpreting patterns of change.
3. Students understand how natural processes shape Earth’s surface patterns and systems.
4. Students understand how social systems and processes (economic, political, cultural) interact to shape patterns (human populations, interdependence, conflict, and cooperation) on Earth’s surface.
5. Students understand the effects of interactions between human and natural systems and the changes in meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources.
6. Students apply knowledge of people, places, and environments to understand the past and present and to plan for the future.

 

NOTE: SPACE is geography’s domain; TIME is history’s domain.


Content Standard 1

Students know how to use maps, globes, and other geographic tools to locate and derive information about people, places, and environments.


RATIONALE

Seeing the world geographically requires an understanding of various tools to be able to interpret and make maps; recognize relationships in and between places; make generalizations; and understand the concepts of distance, direction, location, connection, and association. These abilities and concepts are basic to what makes geography unique—the spatial perspective.Maps, globes, photographs, satellite images, and geographic information systems (GIS) are geographic tools. They are essential to portraying, analyzing, evaluating, and predicting human and physical patterns and processes on Earth’s surface. They play a critical role in helping people make sense of a complex world, and they improve human capacity to move about and plan activities.Developing locational knowledge—for example, knowing where places are and why they are there—is also a part of being a geographically informed person. This knowledge, developed through factual learning, serves as a personal framework for objective and personal geographic knowledge. Geographic images and the impressions students have of places are organized by these personal frameworks.Geographic literacy also demands an understanding of how space on Earth is organized. To understand spatial organization requires observation and analysis as well as an awareness that the patterns observed on Earth’s surface reflect geographic processes.The concepts of distance, direction, location, connection, and association help explain how space is arranged on Earth. And other geographic concepts explain the size and locations of settlements, the connections or lace of connections between and among locations, and the interchange of people, ideas, and goods.


1.1 Performance Standard. Students know how to use maps, globes, and other technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective.

Grade-Level Student Proficiencies. To demonstrate proficiency in the performance standard, students at each grade level below will:

K-2

· Recognize the characteristics and purposes of maps, globes, and other geographic tools and technologies.

· Learn to build geographic data bases by displaying information on maps, globes, and geographic models (3-D representations).

3-5

· Display information on maps, globes, and geographic models (3-D), and in graphs, diagrams and charts.

· Use maps, globes, graphs, models, and computer programs to answer geographic questions.

6-8

· Identify and explain essential features, functions, and differences among maps, globes, aerial photographs, geographic models, and satellite images when solving geographic problems.

· Use latitude and longitude to locate places and understand time differences between places.

9-12

· Select appropriate maps and other graphic representation tools to depict geographic problems.

· Use technologies to represent and interpret Earth’s natural and human systems.

· Develop and use maps, globes, models, graphs, charts, data bases and geographic information systems to analyze explain, and solve geographic problems.

· Amplify application of latitude and longitude to locate places and understand time differences

1.2 Performance Standard. Students develop knowledge of Earth to locate people, places, and environments.

Grade-Level Student Proficiencies. To demonstrate proficiency in the performance standard, students at each grade level below will:

K-2

· Locate physical and human features on a map of the neighborhood/community.

· Compare physical and human features with communities around the world.

3-5

· Develop general spatial perceptions by making a simple map of continents and oceans.

· Locate major physical and human features (e.g. major cities, countries, bodies of water).

· Locate physical and human features in the Rocky Mountain region and the United States to answer geographic questions.

6-8

· Continue to develop sophisticated spatial perception by making maps from memory and/or by using visual cues of increasing and appropriate complexity to display geographic information and answer geographic questions.

· Locate physical and human features in the United States and in other regions of the world as needed to answer geographic questions.

· Explain how personal knowledge and experience influence an individual’s perception of places.

9-12

· Continue to develop spatial perception sophistication by making maps with an increasing amount of detail and accuracy.

· Use locational knowledge of physical and human features of the world to answer complex geographic questions.

· Explain how people’s perceptions of places influence locational, environmental, and economic decisions.

1.3 Performance Standard. Students know how to study the spatial organization of people, places, and environments on Earth’s surface.

Grade-Level Student Proficiencies. To demonstrate proficiency in the performance standard, students at each grade level below will:

K-2

· Use concepts of location and direction.

3-5

· Identify and compare the different ways and reasons that places are connected (e.g. through the movement of goods, ideas, and people).

· Analyze locational decisions for human activity.

· Use the concepts of location, direction, distance, scale, movement and region.

6-8

· Identify factors that influence residential and commercial locational decisions.

· Compare different land use patterns in urban, suburban, and rural areas.

· Apply concepts such as distance, latitude, longitude, interdependence, accessibility, association and connections.

· Explain the ways that places are connected and the significance of those connections, at a local, regional, or global scale.

· Describe patterns and processes of diffusion (e.g. the spread of fast-food chains and information networks around the world).

9-12

· Analyze the principles affecting the location of human activities (e.g. the location of a planned development or dam).

· Evaluate the patterns of spatial organization, including the distribution and arrangement of settlements.

· Interpret the causes and effects of diffusion.





Content Standard 2

Students know the physical and human characteristics of places, and can use this knowledge to define and study regions for the purpose of interpreting patterns of change.


RATIONALE

Knowledge of place helps people make informed decisions about where to live, work, travel, and seek new opportunities. Places form and change as a result of physical and human processes. The physical characteristics of a place are caused by the long-term interaction among natural processes. These processes produce the landforms, water bodies, air, soils, vegetation, animal life, and climate on which human life depends. The human characteristics of a place result from the interaction of human processes. These processes produce particular settlement patterns, political systems, architecture, commerce, and other activities and enterprises.Regions are areas that display unity in terms of selected criteria. We create regions to clarify the complexity of human and natural features on Earth’s surface. Regions are geographic generalizations in the sense that they abstract a broad pattern from great and often confusing detail. Studying how and why regions change helps people understand and interpret the past, participate responsibly in the present, and plan effectively for the future.The way people think about places and regions varies according to how they organize, interpret, and use information. Personal attitudes, experiences, and values are important in shaping these variations. Differences in cultural background, age, gender, and life experience contribute to the perceptions people have about places and regions. Understanding places and regions helps one appreciate different perspectives and develop the cooperation needed to resolve conflict.

2.1 Performance Standard. Students know the physical and human characteristics of places.

Grade-Level Student Proficiencies. To demonstrate proficiency in the performance standard, students at each grade level below will:

K-2

· Identify human (e.g. jobs, customs) and physical (e.g. mountains, forests, rivers) characteristics of places.

3-5

· Identify and classify the human (e.g. language, jobs, customs) and physical (e.g. mountains, forests, rivers) characteristics of places

· Describe how human and physical processes together shape places (e.g. volcanoes, floods, farming).

6-8

· Explain how human and physical processes shape places.

· Analyze the role of technology in producing distinctive places (e.g. the Dillon Reservoir).

9-12

· Investigate the human and physical characteristics that give a place meaning and significance

· Research the physical environment lead to the formation of places and to a sense of personal and community identity.

· Research the changing human and physical characteristics of places.

2.2 Performance Standard. Students know how people define regions to interpret the Earth’s changing complexity.

Grade-Level Student Proficiencies. To demonstrate proficiency in the performance standard, students at each grade level below will:

3-5

· Define the concept of region as an area of Earth’s surface with unifying geographic characteristics.

· Explain the similarities and differences among regions.

· Describe ways in which regions change.

6-8

· Identify multiple criteria that can be used to define regions.

· Explain how and why regions change.

· Describe the connections among regions (e.g. political, economic, and social relationships).

· Analyze the influences and effects of regional labels and images (e.g. Rust Belt, Sun Belt).

9-12

· Compare regions using multiple criteria.

· Apply the concept of region to organize the study of a geographic issue.

· Analyze the ways in which human and physical regions are interconnected.

2.3 Performance Standard. Students know how culture and experience influence people’s perceptions of places and regions.

Grade-Level Student Proficiencies. To demonstrate proficiency in the performance standard, students at each grade level below will:

K-2

· Observe places and regions in different ways (e.g. holidays).

3-5

· Describe places and regions in different ways.

· Investigate ways in which different people view places and regions.

6-8

· Explain why there are various perspectives associated with places and regions.

· Examine how culture and technology affect perception of places and regions.

· Illustrate how places and regions serve as cultural symbols.

9-12

· Distinguish how and why different groups in society view places and regions differently.

· Explain how changing personal knowledge and experience of an environment contributes to cultural change.

· Evaluate why places and regions are important to individual human identify and stand as symbols for unifying society.





Content Standard 3

Students understand how natural processes shape Earth’s surface patterns and systems.


RATIONALE

Processes of nature create the natural environments upon which human life depends. Understanding Earth’s natural, or physical, features and the processes that produce them is essential to the study of human life on Earth.It is therefore essential to know the characteristics of landforms, soils, water bodies, vegetation, animal life, weather, and climate, and how these characteristics are distributed over Earth’s surface.Understanding processes that produce environments is vital to understanding the ways humans affect nature. There are a variety of physical processes, such as weathering, erosion, and vegetation change, that shape the environment over time and space. These processes and their associated patterns can be explained by concepts such as system, boundary, force, threshold, and equilibriumClimates, landforms, and soils are natural systems. An ecosystem—a complex natural system—is an interdependent association of plants, animals, air, water, and land. Ecosystems form distinct regions within the biosphere that vary in size, shape, and complexity. The constancy of change is nowhere more evident than in ecosystems. Here, all organisms interact with each other as well as with the physical and chemical elements of the environment in which they live. Understanding the nature and distribution of these relationships and their role in the natural flow of energy and matter throughout the environment is crucial to understanding the role of humans within the natural world.


3.1 Performance Standard. Students know the natural processes that shape Earth’s surface patterns.

Grade-Level Student Proficiencies. To demonstrate proficiency in the performance standard, students at each grade level below will:

K-2

· Identify some components of Earth’s physical systems (soil, water, vegetation, weather).

3-5

· Identify some components of Earth’s physical systems and their characteristics.

· Demonstrate how Earth-Sun relationships (seasons) shape climate and vegetation patterns (e.g. mid-latitude hardwood forests, tropical rain forests).

· Examine how patterns (e.g. location and distribution) of features on Earth’s surface are shaped by natural processes.

6-8

· Describe how natural processes shape environmental patterns.

· Explain how natural processes influence the formation and location of resources.

· Predict the consequences of natural processes on Earth’s surface.

· Identify time scales of processes (e.g. weathering, erosion, vegetation change).

· Explain how Earth-Sun relationships affect natural processes and patterns (e.g. monsoons and hurricanes).

9-12

· Identify the dynamics of the four basic components of Earth’s natural systems: the atmosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere.

· Explain the interaction of Earth’s natural systems, such as climate and oceans (e.g. El Niño).

· Explain the variation in the effects of natural processes across Earth’s surface.


3.2 Performance Standard. Students know the characteristics and distributions of natural systems of land, air, and water.

Grade-Level Student Proficiencies. To demonstrate proficiency in the performance standard, students at each grade level below will:

K-2

· Define local environmental features (e.g. hills, forests, streams, plants, animals).

· Find patterns of environments.

3-5

· Identify characteristics of natural systems (e.g. water cycle).

· Define local environmental features (e.g. hills, forests, streams, plants, animals)

.· Find and comparing patterns and distribution of environments.

6-8

· Identify the local and world patterns of ecosystems.

· Explain how ecosystems work.

· Analyze how natural processes produce changes in ecosystems.

· Analyze how human activities influence changes in ecosystems.

9-12

· Explain the factors that affect the distribution and characteristics of ecosystems.

· Research the diversity and productivity of ecosystems.

· Justify the importance of ecosystems in understanding environmental issues.





Content Standard 4

Students understand how economic political, cultural, and social processes interact to shape patterns of human populations, interdependence, conflict, and cooperation on Earth’s surface.


RATIONALE

Humans create economic, political, social, and cultural systems that interact to determine a wide range of ways of life, and are manifested in geographic space. The geographic study of human populations focuses on location, movement, and the dynamics of size. Populations tend to locate in clusters rather than spread out evenly over the land surface; these distribution patterns depend on both natural and human environments. People make long-term, permanent migrations and short-term, temporary journeys, often on a daily basis. Migration is often the result of the way people perceive a place. Population growth, decline, and equilibrium patterns are influenced by medical, cultural, and economic issues.Culture defines every human society because it encompasses identity, purpose, place, and vision. Culture has meaning beyond a single group in a specific place. The study of the locations, spatial patterns, and processes of cultures provides a means to analyze how people interact with each other and with their environments. Culture is a force that can both unify and shatter connections and communication among peoples.In the developed, urbanized, and industrialized world, economic systems are complex, fast-moving, and technologically dependent. Developing countries have vast, unstructured urban areas surrounded by traditionally based rural areas. But economic interdependence links the developed and developing world. The latter faces rapid change, including loss of traditional culture.Settlements, whether rural or urban, have many identifiable patterns, such as architecture, sacred space, and economic activities. Settlement patterns reflect changing cultural attitudes toward place as well as shifts in technology, population, and resource use.Earth space is divided into political, economic, social, and cultural spaces, ranging in scale from local to global. Political spaces, which are created by both cooperation and conflict, may be as small as the school District or as large as an alliance among nations. Economic space includes a firm’s marketing regions and international trading blocs. Social and cultural spaces range from households to the administrative regions of world religions. The partitioning of space into social, economic, and political spheres of influence is dynamic and ongoing.

4.1 Performance Standard. Students know the characteristics, location, distribution, and migration of human populations.

Grade-Level Student Proficiencies. To demonstrate proficiency in the performance standard, students at each grade level below will:

K-2

· Locate where people live and work in a community.

3-5

· Locate the distribution of population, local to national.

· Identify the characteristics of populations, local to national.

· Identify the causes and effects of human migration.

6-8

· Describe the demographic structure of a population.·

Explain the reasons for variation in population distribution.

· Explain the causes, types, and historical patterns of human migration.

· Analyze the effects of human migration on places.

9-12

· Evaluate trends in world population numbers and patterns.· Analyze the physical and cultural impact of human migration.

4.2 Performance Standard. Students know the nature and spatial distribution of cultural patterns.

Grade-Level Student Proficiencies. To demonstrate proficiency in the performance standard, students at each grade level below will:

K-2

· Identify the elements of culture as the ways in which people live.

· Use illustrations to show how patterns of culture vary (e.g. thematic maps of language, religion, housing).

3-5

· Identify the elements of culture as the ways in which people live.

· Use illustrations to show how patterns of culture vary (e.g. thematic maps of language, religion, housing).

6-8

· Explain the spatial distribution of culture from local to global.· Interpret elements of the cultural landscape.

· Describe the processes of cultural diffusion and analyzing how cultures and their landscapes change, including migration and technology.

9-12

· Analyze how cultures shape the character of a region.· Explain how culture influences conflict, cooperation, and group identity.

· Describe the effect of technology on the development and change of cultures.·

Analyze the impact of cultures on ways of life in different regions (e.g. how international trade patterns affect world cultural patterns).

4.3 Performance Standard. Students know the patterns and networks of economic interdependence.

Grade-Level Student Proficiencies. To demonstrate proficiency in the performance standard, students at each grade level below will:

K-2

· Identify the location and distribution of jobs in the community (i.e. where to go get what?).

· Describe transportation and communication networks used in daily life (roads, phones, TV, rivers, computers, etc.).

3-5

· Identify the location and distribution of economic activities.· Describe the transportation and communication networks used in daily life.

6-8

· Explain the factors that influence the location and distribution of economic activities and reasons for the spatial patterns of these activities.

· Examine why and how countries trade goods and services, and develop transportation and communication systems.

· Understand how changes in technology, transportation, communication, and use of resources affect the location of economic activities.

9-12

· Compare and contrast the characteristics and distribution of economic systems.· Recognize relationships of places of various size and how they function as centers of economic activity.

· Analyze local, regional, and world economies and their linkages (e.g. transportation routes, movement patterns, and market areas).

· Analyze how population growth, resource use, and environmental quality are related to economic development.

4.4 Performance Standard. Students know the processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement.

Grade-Level Student Proficiencies. To demonstrate proficiency in the performance standard, students at each grade level below will:

K-2

· Realize and recognizing types and patterns of settlements.

3-5

· Classify the types and patterns of settlements and listing the factors that affect where people settle (e.g. transportation and resources).

· Explain the spatial characteristics of cities as types of settlements (relate to functions of different parts of urban areas).

6-8

· Describe what events led to the development of the city.· Explain the causes and impacts of urbanization.

· Describe patterns of settlement change (e.g. why people relocate from rural to urban areas, and from urban to rural areas)

.· Use maps and other tools of analysis to locate and compare several different settlement patterns in different regions of the world.

9-12

· Analyze the size, arrangement, structure, and function of urban areas.

· Compare and contrasting the differing characteristics of settlement in developing and developed countries.

· Examine how and why large cities grow together.

· Describe how the range of goods and services is related to city size.

4.5 Performance Standard. Students know how cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth’s surface.

Grade-Level Student Proficiencies. To demonstrate proficiency in the performance standard, students at each grade level below will:

K-2

· Describe how people divide Earth’s surface.

· Explain how conflict and cooperation affect neighborhoods and communities.

3-5

· Describe how people divide Earth’s surface.

· Explain how conflict and cooperation affect neighborhoods and communities.

6-8

· Describe how conflict and cooperation among people contribute to political, economic and social divisions of Earth’s surface (e.g. ethnic conflict, creation of the state of Israel)

.· Examine the forces and processes of cooperation that unite Earth’s surface (e.g. European Union).

9-12

· Describe why and how conflict and cooperation are involved in shaping the distribution of social, political, and economic spaces on Earth at different scales.

· Analyze how differing points of view and self-interests play a role in conflict over territory and resources.

· Explain how profit motivates changes in borders, natural resources, manufactured products, and services.





Content Standard 5

Students understand the effects of interactions between human and natural systems and changes in meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources.


RATIONALE

Increasingly, people are called upon to solve complex problems resulting from the interaction of human and natural, or physical, systems. Physical systems offer opportunities and constraints for human activity. Humans control and use the output of physical systems—perceived by humans as natural resources—to survive and prosper; natural resources provide food and shelter. Agriculture, the foundation of civilizations, is perhaps the most massive alteration of natural systems. Humans also face the consequences of exceeding their environment’s capacity and resource base. Environmental problems created by the intervention of humans into natural systems play a significant role in shaping local and global economic, social, and political conditions.The concept of resources has changed drastically over time in much of the world. Initially, resources were assumed to exist in abundance and were available for almost limitless use. The concept of preservation did not evolve until some resources appeared to be in short supply. Unwise resource use can result in severe environmental degradation.Technology works at the interface between human and physical systems, and it has drastically changed the manner and amount of human resource use. It has enabled us to exploit some natural resources at ever-increasing, unsustainable rates. But new technologies also change our perception of resources. For example, nuclear reactors now generate a substantial portion of the world’s electricity; once-discarded materials may now be recycled; and cyberspace now gives us access to the information superhighway.

5.1 Performance Standard. Students know how human actions modify the natural environment.

Grade-Level Student Proficiencies. To demonstrate proficiency in the performance standard, students at each grade level below will:

K-2

· Describe how people depend on the natural environment.

· Seeing the relationship between the natural environment and human activities.

3-5

· Describing how people depend on the natural environment.

· Explain how people modify the natural environment.

· Demonstrate that the natural environment can both accommodate and be endangered by human activities.· Describe the effects which man on natural environments.

6-8

· Describe the effects of human modification of the natural environment (e.g. depletion of the Colorado River, greening of the Negev Desert in Israel).

· Relate how human modifications of natural systems in one place often lead to changes in other places.

· Define ways that humans depend on, adapt to, and impact the physical environment.

· Explain the role of technology in the human modification of the natural environment.

9-12

· Evaluate ways in which technology has expanded human capacity to modify the natural environment.

· Examine the significance of the global impacts of human modification of the natural environment.

· Analyze how to examine and solve environmental problems.

· Analyze and evaluate ways that changes occur within systems that slow or accelerate systemic processes (e.g. cleaning polluted rivers, alleviating air pollution).


5.2 Performance Standard. Students know how natural systems affect human systems.

Grade-Level Student Proficiencies. To demonstrate proficiency in the performance standard, students at each grade level below will:

K-2

· Describe the ways in which the natural environment provides opportunities for people.

· Describe the ways in which the natural environment constrains human activities.

3-5

· Describe the ways in which the natural environment provides opportunities for people.

· Describe the ways in which the natural environment constrains human activities.

6-8

· Analyze ways humans adapt to and modify a variety of natural systems.

· Explain how the characteristics of different natural environments provide opportunities for or place constraints on human activities.

· Describe how natural disasters affect human activities.

9-12

· Compare and contrast how changes in the natural environment can increase or diminish its capacity to support human activity.

· Develop strategies to respond to constraints placed on human systems by the natural environment (e.g. irrigation).

· Examine how humans perceive and react to natural disasters.


5.3 Performance Standard.

Students know the changes that occur in the meaning, use, location, distribution, and importance of resources.

Grade-Level Student Proficiencies. To demonstrate proficiency in the performance standard, students at each grade level below will:

K-2

· Discuss the role of resources in daily life.

· Describe the characteristics of renewable and nonrenewable resources, and recycling of resources.

3-5

· Discuss the role of resources in daily life.

· Describe the characteristics of renewable and nonrenewable resources, and recycling of resources.

· Illustrate the distribution of resources.

6-8

· Explain the worldwide distribution and use of resources.

· Identify how technology affects the definition of, access to, and use of resources

· Explain the fundamental role of resources in society.

· Describe ways that resources can be recycled.

9-12

· Analyze how distribution of resources affects the patterns of settlement.

· Research how resource development and resource use change.

· Examine the geographic results of policies and programs for resource use and management.

· Analyze the effects of economic activity in modifying and transforming the environment.





Content Standard 6

Students apply knowledge of people, places, and environments to understand the past and present and to plan for the future.


RATIONALE

Everything happens in time and space. Therefore, a thorough interpretation of the past must include the geographic context of the event. This requires addressing questions such as: Where did the event occur? In what kind of human and natural environment did it happen? How was the event related to events in other places? What resources and technologies did people have? How did they move from place to place? What environmental constraints did they face? Any interpretation of human events and conditions that ignores the geographic context is incomplete and unrealistic.In the next century, humans will face many complex and controversial issues concerning the development needs of a rapidly growing human population and the preservation of Earth’s ability to sustain that population. To cope with these fundamental issues effectively, tomorrow’s citizens must be geographically informed.


6.1 Performance Standard. Students know how to apply geography to understand the past.

Grade-Level Student Proficiencies. To demonstrate proficiency in the performance standard, students at each grade level below will:

K-2

· Describe how places change over time.

3-5

· Describe how places change over time.·

Explain that people’s perceptions of places change over time.

· Discuss that geography has influenced people and events over time. 6-8· Describe how the spatial organization of a society changes over time.

· Show how locations, places, and environments have influenced events and conditions in the past.

· Explain how differing perceptions of places, peoples, and resources have affected events and conditions in the past.

· Describe how competition for resources has led to human conflict.

9-12

· Examine how changing perceptions of places and environments affect the behavior of people.

· Analyze the fundamental role geography has played in affecting events in history (e.g. the importance of key transportation routes throughout history).

6.2 Performance Standard. Students know how to apply geography to understand the present and plan for the future.

Grade-Level Student Proficiencies. To demonstrate proficiency in the performance standard, students at each grade level below will:

K-2

· Examine the ways human societies differ.

3-5

· Examine the ways that human societies differ.

· Explain how technology affects physical and human systems.

· Describe the concepts of resources and growth.

6-8

· Show how the interaction of natural and human systems may shape present and future global conditions.

· Apply spatial and environmental perspectives to help solve social and environmental problems by making geographically informed decisions.

· Relate the effects of present environmental decisions to the future.

9-12

· Examine how different viewpoints influence the development of policies designed to use and manage Earth’s resources.

· Evaluate contemporary issues in the context of spatial and environmental perspectives.· Use geography knowledge, skills, and perspectives to analyze problems and make decisions.