Unit 1

Spatial and temporal orientation

  1. What different types of maps are found in the atlas?
    What other information on countries and locations is provided in the atlas?
    What tools does the atlas provide so that you can quickly find a location?

  2. As an introduction and for repetition reasons open this tutorial and try to answer the questions.

  3. How do world maps, globes, and atlases serve different purposes?
    Why might latitude and longitude have been developed?
    What types of people do you think use latitude and longitude in their daily lives, and why?
    What is the relationship of latitude and longitude to the study of geography?
    Why are understanding how to use atlases and how to use latitude and longitude measurements important skills?

  4. Then try to solve this crossword puzzle.

  5. If you are not able to finish the crossword puzzle in class, finish it at home.

    Source: Where in the world? and New York Times


These links might be helpful if you are stuck (not only with the crossword puzzle but also throughout the whole year):

allwords.com (English-English dictionary) or

(English-German, German-English dictionary)


3-4 GIS Lesson:
  1. As a warmup open this NASA Link and try out the game. Why is it tricky to play? Do you have any suggestions? Source: NASA

  2. Open this link and find the ship (you have to install this software beforehand). You will get an introduction to the software as well.



  1. Did you ever think about the fact that our world is a ball (more precise: ellipsoid or geoid) and that we use plain maps on a sheet of paper to show maps of this "ball"? What problems arise, when you think about these maps we are using?

  2. Open this link and follow the directions, we will do this excecise together.

  3. Obtain a variety of world maps from the school library and compare the properties of the projections. Various atlases may prefer different projections. Which seem to be the most popular projections for world maps? For detailed maps?

    Source: USGS

Maps with a Spin

In teams of three or four students, research and map the effects of a proposed airport three miles outside of town. Each team is to prepare a presentation based on a set of maps it makes. Teams will represent different points of view: town government, homeowner's associations, business interests, developers, and State or county government. Teams will emphasize different information. All teams must use the same data, but each team can decide how to generalize the data and map the patterns they want to present


  1. As a class, collect basic geographic from various sources: government, local libraries, student observations, businesses, and other organizations. For example, zoning and development regulations, weather records, locations of landfills and other waste sites, data on land use (residential, farming, commercial, governmental, recreational), boundaries of school districts, locations of fire departments and fire hydrants, water supplies, pipelines and powerlines, natural hazards (flood plains, landslides, earthquake risk zones), special scenic or historic sites, transportation features, wildlife refuges, and so on.

  2. Sort the data by type: economic, climatic, demographic, and so on. Select data sets that are especially important for consideration in planning an airport.

  3. Research local newspapers to identify interest groups active in local issues; briefly discuss issues in class to clarify the point of view of each group. Evaluate maps in newspapers. Do they have "spin''? Break the class into the working groups.

  4. Evaluate data and sketch a few test maps. Select only the data that support your point of view or need for information. Remember the importance of good choice of color, attractive lettering, and other aspects of map design in presenting information.

  5. Prepare the final copies of materials for a town meeting. Make final copies of maps; be sure each map has a legend and cites sources of information. Be able to defend your choice of map type, symbols, colors, and generalization or groupings of data. Write notes or a paragraph to briefly explain what each map shows; these will be your speaking notes for the town meeting.

    Source: USGS


Continuation from last class:

  1. Have a class "town meeting" where the maps are presented and the issues are discussed. Allow each group 4 minutes to present its views, after which each group has 1 minute for rebuttal. The teacher or a student may act as moderator, keeping the meeting on time and on track.

    Next task: Collect map data from a novel (English or German) and draw a map from the information provided in the story


  2. On scrap paper, list the kinds of features you will be mapping, such as towns, buildings, houses, rivers, lakes, roads, and airports.

  3. On paper or clear plastic, draw maps of each separate layer. Include place names, scale, latitude, and longitude. Combine the layers (redrawing if necessary) to create a generalized view that could be used as a frontispiece for the book.

  4. Write a short essay discussing how geography affected the events in the book. Note how the new frontispiece might affect a reader's impression of the book.

  5. On a chalkboard map the plots and sub plots of the book using concept mapping (see example in illustration G); start from any central story line (from any point in the book) and try to fill the spaceavailable.

    Source: USGS

Source: USGS