Houghton Mifflin Social Studies
America Will Be
Lesson at a Glance
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Chapter 2, Lesson 1: Understanding Geography (pp. 30-33)
The Big Idea
Framework Concept: Interconnectedness Studying geography helps us understand the interconnectedness of people and their environment.
- Create a chart to help students understand the differences between physical (natural) and human characteristics of places. Choose a place, such as your home town, your school campus, or a local park. Have students identify which things are physical characteristics, such as hills, streams, trees, and animal life, and which things are human, such as buildings, roads, and other things that are human-made. List students' responses in your chart.
- Discuss with students how humans interact with their physical environment.
Encourage students to give examples of humans changing their physical surroundings
(such as by building dams and cutting down trees), and examples of how physical
surroundings can impact humans (such as building a city near a water route for trade and travel purposes.)
Use the Lesson Outline to preview the content of the lesson. You may wish to print it for your students as a guide during reading.
Check for Understanding
- Have students examine a physical atlas of the United States to locate major physical features such as mountain ranges, deserts, plains, lowlands, rivers, lakes, and oceans. Encourage volunteers to tell how the physical features might impact people's lives in different areas of the country.
- Have students use materials such as clay, cotton, construction paper, and
markers to create a 3-D version of the United States physical map. Students can
trace an outline map of the United States on cardboard for a base, and then use
an atlas to recreate the country's major physical features.
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