Monday, September 29, 2014

Teaching Geography Through Climate Change



        This past summer I found myself exploring many different avenues as to how I would be teaching world geography for my World Studies class. I read a great article from Education Week Teacher titled Six Characteristics of a Great STEM Lesson. As a S.T.E.M. and project-based educator at my school, iTech Prep, I am always looking for ways to bring a new lens onto the topics I teach.  After reading the article and exploring the links I came across another article, Top 10 Places Already Affected by Climate Change and then the PBS video, Paradise Lost.  This fit in perfectly with the first characteristic from the article and with what I learned at my BIE training over the summer, which to focus on a real world issue/problem.  Out of these inspirations came Adaptation.  




         The project gives students a chance to learn how people have migrated and immigrated around the world, the geography of the world, what climate change is, and what places will be affected.  Then they explain how those places will be affected, and come up with a solution that they will promote by creating an advertising campaign for their solution.  It is tied directly to Common Core Standards, and allows the students to be historians, cartographers, scientists, and advertising specialists, while building 21st Century digital skills. 


         With the impact of climate change at the forefront of the news these days, I felt this topic was the perfect way to integrate social studies with S.T.E.M. and a little bit of art.  For an encompassing S.T.E.A.M. project.  Here are the materials for the project, and the requirements.  More info and lesson plans will be posted on my website.



Adaptation Resources

Migration History Interview

Family Tree Template

Google Maps Engine Lite

Sample Family Movement Map 

Google Tour Builder






         Being a project-based school like iTech is, it is essential to let go of what may come out of project.  An important thing to remember is that true project-based learning is not product-based learning.  There are times that you need students to practice certain skills and produce certain products, this project allows students do both.  They created some more specific products as we moved through the project and learned some new things, but at the end they were allowed to truly explore their own learning and create something meaningful to them.  Some students made posters, others pamphlets, Google Slides presentations, or even websites.  For those students that wanted to learn new technologies, and experience video making they used iPads, Green Screens, iMovie, Windows Movie Maker and Tellagami.  I have several tutorials on these that I show the students and allow them to explore them in class, but many times the students knew where to find videos that help them learn about how to use these tools.  Even though most students chose pamphlets, there was a tremendous amount to excitement around what the students created.  Here are some of the different products that were made.


Abi's Climate Change Solution 


Save the Sushi! by True




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