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6th Grade Social Studies: World Geography and Global Issues

Unit 1: Foundations of World Geography

SS0601

Sixth Grade Social Studies: World Geography and Global Issues


Unit 1: Foundations of World Geography
Big Picture Graphic
Overarching Question:

How can a global perspective help me understand my world?


Previous Unit:

5th Grade Integrated Early


American History

This Unit:

Foundations of World Geography

Questions To Focus Assessment and Instruction:

1. How can the five themes of geography help us investigate


our world?
2. How can the approaches and perspectives of different social
scientists better help us understand our world?
3. What makes an issue or problem global?

Michigan Citizenship Collaborative Curriculum


Copyright 2010-2016 by Oakland Schools

Next Unit:

The World in Spatial Terms

Types of Thinking
Description
Generalizing
Identifying perspectives
Issue Analysis
Problem Solving

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6th Grade Social Studies: World Geography and Global Issues


Unit 1: Foundations of World Geography

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Graphic Organizer

Michigan Citizenship Collaborative Curriculum


Copyright 2010-2016 by Oakland Schools

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August 11, 2015

6th Grade Social Studies: World Geography and Global Issues


Unit 1: Foundations of World Geography

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High School Foundations (see High School World History and Geography)
F1: World Historical and Geographical Habits of Mind and Central Concepts: Explain and use key
conceptual devices world historians/geographers use to organize the past including periodization schemes (e.g.,
major turning points, different cultural and religious calendars), and different spatial frames (e.g., global, interregional,
and regional).

Unit Abstract
This introductory unit extends students understanding of geographic thinking as they approach the
study of world geography and global issues. After exploring several definitions of geography,
students review and apply geographic concepts to different spatial scales. They use the expanding
environments model of elementary school (self-school-community-state-country) to consider the
questions: What is where? and Why is it there?. Students are then introduced to a method for
geographic inquiry, using the drying up of the Aral Sea as a case study to model the process. They
then apply the geographic inquiry process to new geographic issues. Next, students explore the
tools and technologies of geographers such as globes, aerial photographs, and satellite images,
and learn how new technology such as Global Position System (GPS) and Global Information
Systems (GIS) provide geographers with new and detailed information about the Earth. They also
review the five themes of geography as an organizing framework for geographic inquiry. Students
deepen their knowledge of the five themes through a categorization exercise of global questions
related to each theme. Focusing on a global perspective, they then use the five themes to describe
Earth itself.
Although the focus of this unit is world geography, students also explore the perspectives of other
social scientists (historians, political scientists, economist, anthropologists, and sociologists). They
consider how people using each of these perspectives would investigate a global phenomenon
such as an earthquake. Students thus learn how information from a variety of social science fields
provides a rich and detailed view of our world. Next, students take up the problem: What makes a
problem or solution global? Through cross-text comparisons they consider criteria for determining
when something is of global significance. Students conduct a brief survey of what people identify
as the most pressing global problem, compile their findings, and identify some global problems
they would like to explore during the year. After an introduction and exploration activity of their
geography textbooks, students consider the strengths and weaknesses of using a textbook as a
resource for investigating global problems and solutions.
The unit culminates with an exploration of the human population through a composite of the Earths
people using the book If the World Were a Village. Students then work in small groups to create
and deliver a presentation on one of the ten topics from the book (e.g., population growth, pollution,
hunger, poverty, energy, etc.) which will be explored in more detail in subsequent units.
Content Literacy
The development of content literacy skills is a critical component in this course and is integrated
throughout the unit. Students engage in cloze note-taking activities in order to develop and
strengthen this critical skill. They read information texts and engage in cross-text comparisons in
developing criteria for determining what makes a problem or solution global in scope. Through
direct instruction and small group work, students explore the features and structure of their
Michigan Citizenship Collaborative Curriculum
Copyright 2010-2016 by Oakland Schools

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August 11, 2015

6th Grade Social Studies: World Geography and Global Issues


Unit 1: Foundations of World Geography

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geography textbook. They integrate visual information with text, determine the main ideas of a text
selection, and describe how a selection of the textbook presents information. Finally, students
begin a Global Investigators Notebook which is used as a tool for reflective writing throughout the
course.
Focus Questions
1. How can the five themes of geography help us investigate our world?
2. How can the approaches and perspectives of different social scientists help us understand
our world?
3. What makes an issue or problem global in scope?
Content Expectations
6 - G1.1.1:
Describe how geographers use mapping to represent places and natural and human
phenomenon in the world.
7 G1.1.1:
6 and 7
G1.1.2:

Explain and use a variety of maps, globes, and web based geography technology to
study the world, including global, interregional, regional, and local scales.
Draw a sketch map from memory of the world 1 showing the major regions (Canada,
United States, Mexico, Central American, South America, Caribbean, Africa, Asia,
Europe, Australia/Oceania, Antarctica).

6 G1.2.2:

Explain why maps of the same place may vary, including cultural perspectives of the
Earth and new knowledge based on science and modern technology.

6 - G1.2.4:
7 - G1.2.3:

Use observations from air photos, photographs (print and CD), films (VCR and DVD)
as the basis for answering geographic questions about the human and physical
characteristics of places and regions.

6 and 7
G1.2.5:

Use information from modern technology such as Geographic Positioning System


(GPS), Geographic Information System (GIS), and satellite remote sensing to locate
information and process maps and data to analyze spatial patterns of the Western/
Eastern Hemispheres to answer geographic questions.

6 and 7
G1.2.6:

Apply the skills of geographic inquiry (asking geographic questions, acquiring


geographic information, organizing geographic information, analyzing geographic
information, and answering geographic questions) to analyze a problem or issue of
importance to a region of the world. 2

6 and 7
G1.3.1:

Use the fundamental themes of geography (location, place, human environment


interaction, movement, region) to describe regions or places on earth.

The content expectation for sixth grade references only the western hemisphere, while the expectation for seventh
grade addresses only the eastern hemisphere. They have been combined here to reflect a global perspective.
2
The references to Western and Eastern Hemisphere in the content expectation have been replaced with the word
world.
Michigan Citizenship Collaborative Curriculum
Copyright 2010-2016 by Oakland Schools

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6th Grade Social Studies: World Geography and Global Issues


Unit 1: Foundations of World Geography

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6 and 7
G1.3.2:

Explain the locations and distributions of physical and human characteristics of Earth
by using knowledge of spatial patterns.

6 and 7
G1.3.3:

Explain the different ways in which places are connected and how those connections
demonstrate interdependence and accessibility.

6 and 7
G4.4.1:

Identify factors that contribute to conflict and cooperation between and among
cultural groups (control/use of natural resources, power, wealth, and cultural
diversity).

6 and 7
G5.2.1:

Describe the effects that a change in the physical environment 3 could have on human
activities and the choices people would have to make in adjusting to the change. 4

6 and 7
H1.4.3:

Use historical perspective to analyze global issues faced by humans long ago and
today.

6 and 7
C4.3.3:

Explain the challenges to governments and the cooperation needed to address


international issues.5

6 and 7
E3.3.1:

Explain and compare how economic systems (traditional, command, and market)
answer four basic questions: What should be produced? How will it be produced?
How will it be distributed? Who will receive the benefits of production?

7 H1.2.5:

Describe how historians use methods of inquiry to identify cause effect relationships
in history noting that many have multiple causes.

Common Core State Standards for Literacy in History and Social Studies
RH.6-8.1:
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.

Although the expectation describes these as changes to the physical environment, the list includes both human and
natural causes. It is important to distinguish natural disasters from man-made changes for students.
4

The emphasis in this expectation is on how humans respond to the changes in their immediate environment. Other
expectations address the changes to the earth as a whole or the impact on other locations.
Additionally, the Michigan Content Expectations document lists specific examples such as drought in northern Mexico
or Africa, disappearance of forest vegetation in the Amazon, natural hazards and disasters from volcanic eruptions in
Indonesia, Central America, and the Caribbean, earthquakes in Mexico City, Colombia or Turkey, and flooding in
Bangladesh. These examples have been removed from the expectation above because while all were current events
when the expectations document was written, most are now historic in nature. Droughts, floods, earthquakes, volcanic
eruptions continue to occur, and it is important for students to investigate these physical changes to the earths surface
and to consider how humans make choices in response to these changes. However, it is recommended that teachers
use current examples in their classrooms so that students can use a decision making model in evaluating potential
choices and teachers can take advantage of the multiple texts available for students through a variety of media outlets.
5

While the sixth grade expectation is limited to the Western Hemisphere, its seventh grade counterpart contains no
such limitation. The phrase in the Western Hemisphere has been removed to reflect a global perspective. The
examples listed in the expectation (e.g., migration and human rights) also have been removed to reflect the wealth of
issues that have global implications.
Michigan Citizenship Collaborative Curriculum
Copyright 2010-2016 by Oakland Schools

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6th Grade Social Studies: World Geography and Global Issues


Unit 1: Foundations of World Geography

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RH.6-8.2:

Determine the main ideas or information of a primary or a secondary source; provide


an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

RH.6-8.4:

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including
vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.

RH.6-8.7:

Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps)


with other information in print and digital texts.

RL.6.2:

Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through


particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or
judgments.

WHST.6-8.4: Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and
style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
WHST.6-8.6: Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present
the relationships between information and ideas clearly and efficiently.
WHST.6-8.7: Conduct short research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated
question), drawing on several sources and generating additional related, focused
questions that allow for multiple avenues of exploration.
WHST.6-8.9: Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Key Concepts
five themes of geography
geographic features
geographic inquiry
geographic thinking
geographic tools and technologies
global
human vs. physical geography
perspective
social science fields (anthropology, civics, economics, geography, history, sociology)
spatial scales
Duration
4 weeks
Lesson Sequence
Lesson 1: What Is Geography?
Lesson 2: Geographic Inquiry
Lesson 3: What Tools Do Geographers Use?
Michigan Citizenship Collaborative Curriculum
Copyright 2010-2016 by Oakland Schools

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6th Grade Social Studies: World Geography and Global Issues


Unit 1: Foundations of World Geography

Lesson 4:
Lesson 5:
Lesson 6:
Lesson 7:
Lesson 8:

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How Can We Use the Five Themes of Geography to Investigate our World?
What Other Social Scientists Help Us Understand Our World?
What Makes a Problem or Solution Global?
Analyzing a Geography Textbook
If the World Were a Village

Instructional Resources
Equipment/Manipulative
Chart paper
Computer for PowerPoint Presentation
Folders (one per student) or spiral notebook for the Global Investigators Notebooks
Globe
Highlighters
Lined paper for the notebooks
Markers
Overhead Projector or Document Camera/Projector
Scissors
Student Resource
A present-day map of the world.
A student geography textbook such as Wiggins, Grant, et al. My World Geography: Boston, MA:
Pearson, 2011.
The Geography Guide. Info Please. 11 August 2015
<http://www.infoplease.com/spot/99geography1.html>.
Geography Hall of Fame. Fact Monster. 11 August 2015
<http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0770092.html>.
Highest, Longest, Biggest, Largest, Deepest, Smallest of the World. Geography for School. 11
August 2015 <http://geographyforschool.blogspot.com/2011/12/highest-longest-biggestlargest-deepest.html>.
Mapmaker Interactive. National Geographic. 11 August 2015
<http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/mapping/interactive-map/?ar_a=1>.
Smith, David J. If the World Were a Village. Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press, 2011.
Top 10 Lists about Geography. 11 August 2015 <http://www.top-ten10.com/science/geography/geography.htm>.
World Geography Facts - Water. Kidz World. 11 August 2015
<http://www.kidzworld.com/article/1751-world-geography-facts-water>.
What is Geography? Royal Geographical Society Website. 11 August 2015
<http://www.rgs.org/geographytoday/what+is+geography.htm>.
Michigan Citizenship Collaborative Curriculum
Copyright 2010-2016 by Oakland Schools

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6th Grade Social Studies: World Geography and Global Issues


Unit 1: Foundations of World Geography

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What is GIS? YouTube. Esri Ireland. 11 August 2015 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFmAAHBfOU>.


What is Global Citizenship? Oxfam Education. 11 August 2015
<http://www.oxfam.org.uk/education/global-citizenship>.
Teacher Resource
Aral Sea Activities. National Geographic. 11 August 2015
<http://education.nationalgeographic.com/media/disappearing-lake/>.
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. Wikipedia. 11 August 2015
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collapse_%28book%29>.
The disappearance of the Aral Sea. 11 August 2015 <http://www.grida.no/graphicslib/detail/thedisappearance-of-the-aral-sea_1729>.
The Earth Institute. Columbia University. 11 August 2015
<http://www.earth.columbia.edu/articles/view/1788>.
Egbo, Carol, Supplemental Materials (Unit 1, Lessons 1-8). Teacher-made materials. Oakland
Schools, 2012.
- - -. PowerPoint Unit 1, Lesson 2. Oakland Schools. 23 June 2012. 11 August 2015.
- - -. PowerPoint Unit 1, Lesson 3. Oakland Schools. 16 July 2012. 11 August 2015.
- - -. PowerPoint Unit 1, Lesson 5. Oakland Schools. 23 June 2012. 11 August 2015.
For Geography Teachers. Geography World. 11 August 2015
<http://geographyworldonline.com/teach.html>.
Geography & Map Reading Room. Library of Congress. 11 August 2015
<http://www.loc.gov/rr/geogmap/refweb.html>.
Global Problem Lists. Nautilus Institute. 11 August 2015 <http://nautilus.org/gps/probs/>.
Google Earth Images. Google Earth. 11 August 2015
<http://www.google.com/earth/index.html>.
GIS Minor. Westfield State University. 11 August 2015
<http://www.westfield.ma.edu/prospective-students/academics/geography-andregional-planning/geographic-information-systems/gis-minor/>.
Globe Examples. 11 August 2015 <www.worldglobes.com>.

Michigan Citizenship Collaborative Curriculum


Copyright 2010-2016 by Oakland Schools

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6th Grade Social Studies: World Geography and Global Issues


Unit 1: Foundations of World Geography

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How Much is 7 Billion? Kids Post. The Washington Post. 11 August 2015
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/kidspost/how-much-is-7billion/2011/10/14/gIQAzOm0MM_story.html>.
If the World Were a Village Companion website. Mapping.com. 11 August 2015
<http://www.mapping.com/village.shtml>.
Just how big is 7 billion? CNN World. 11 August 2015 <http://articles.cnn.com/2011-1031/world/world_7-billion_1_global-population-scale-population-reference-bureau?
_s=PM:WORLD>.
McNamara Terminal Map. Terminal Maps. Wayne County Metropolitan Authority. 11 August 2015
<http://www.metroairport.com/TravelerInfo/GeneralInfo/TerminalMaps.aspx>.
Map of the Aral Sea. 11 August 2015
<http://aquadoc.typepad.com/.a/6a00d8341bf80a53ef00e554db33ae8833-pi>.
New Zealand Earthquake Causes Widespread Damage. WTVY.com. 8 Sept. 2010. 11 August
2015 <http://4warnwxteam.com/2010/09/08/new-zealand-earthquake-causes-widespreaddamage/>.
News Stories. BBC. 11 August 2015 <http://www.bbc.com/>.
Photographs of the Aral Sea. Association of American Geographers. 11 August 2015
<http://meridian.aag.org/changingplanet/index.cfm?
action=main.module&sectionID=1&moduleID=4&pageID=18>.
Rischard, Jean-Francois. High Noon: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them, NY: Basic
Books, 2002.
The Ten Challenges in the Copenhagen Consensus, 2008. 11 August 2015
<http://www.copenhagenconsensus.com/Default.aspx?ID=955>.
Teachers Home Page. Education. National Geographic. 11 August 2015
<http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/?ar_a=1>.
What is a Global Problem? Nautilus Institute. 11 August 2015 <http://nautilus.org/gps/intro/>.
What is GIS? Esri. 24 July 2013 <http://www.esri.com/what-is-gis/index.html>.
World of 7 Billion. Population Connection. 24 July 2013 <http://www.worldof7billion.org/>.
For Further Professional Knowledge
De Blij, Harm. Why Geography Matters. New York: Oxford Press, 2007.
- - - . The Power of Place. New York: Oxford Press, 2009.
Fisher, Chris and Tony Binns, eds. Issues in Geography Teaching. NY: Routledge, 2000.
Michigan Citizenship Collaborative Curriculum
Copyright 2010-2016 by Oakland Schools

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6th Grade Social Studies: World Geography and Global Issues


Unit 1: Foundations of World Geography

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Gersmehl, Phil. Teaching Geography. NY: Guilford Press, 2008.


Rischard, J.F. High Noon: 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them. NY: Basic Books, 2002.

Michigan Citizenship Collaborative Curriculum


Copyright 2010-2016 by Oakland Schools

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