The Study of Geography Understanding the World We Live In
Objectives• Students will explain how geographers use tools to understand the world.• Students will identify and discuss the importance of the ﬁve themes of geography.
Vocabulary I• geography - the study of the earth’s surface and the processes that shape it, the connections between places and the complex relationships between people and their environments• absolute location - the position on the earth in which a place can be found• relative location - the position of a place in relation to another place
Vocabulary II• hemisphere - a half of the earth; the Equator divides the Northern and Southern hemispheres; the Prime Meridian divides the Eastern and Western hemispheres• perception - a viewpoint that is inﬂuenced by one’s own culture and experiences• character of a place - the physical and human characteristics that help to distinguish a place from other places
Geographic Tools• Living in an ever-changing world, humans develop tools to better understand those changes • Geography is the study that helps us track those changes • most important is the ability to examine those changes from many perspectives• Use of modern technology helps us track many changes • SONAR (ocean ﬂoor), Landsat (remote sensing), GPS, GIS (geographic information systems)
Geographic Concepts• Think in terms of how the earth is ever changing (both in terms of it’s own change and how humans change it)• Maps, charts and so on help describe those changes • So do geographic concepts• Process of thinking geographically leads to understanding of our world and our place in it
The Five Themes• Geographers think of our world in 5 basic themes • Location • Place • Regions • Movement • Human-Environment Interaction • MR. HELP
Location: Absolute• Usually the ﬁrst step to identifying a place - ﬁnding it’s location • Absolute location is it’s position on the globe• Latitude and longitude • Latitude: imaginary lines that run parallel to the Equator (line that divides the Earth into two hemispheres - north and south) • Longitude: imaginary lines that run between poles starting at Prime Meridian
Relative Location• Relative location - describes where something is in relation to other places • St. Louis is several hundred miles east of Kansas City • 1850 - trip would take a week or so; 2012 - 4-5 hour by car (less than an hour by plane)
Place• How is a particular place unique? • Things that deﬁne this are both physical characteristics and human characteristics - the character of a place • Physical: terrain, ecosystems, climate, so on • Human: Culture, numbers of people living, working, economy
Regions• Those characteristics of a group of places with at least one common factor • Boundaries or deﬁnitions of a particular region usually depend on the perceptions based on culture and experience• Broken down into three types of regions: formal, functional, perceptual
Formal Regions• Certain characteristics are found throughout the area • Political regions - states, countries, cities --- boundaries that have common laws • Other common characteristics - Wheat Belt • Chinatown
Functional Regions • Central place and the surrounding places affected by it • Amazon drainage basin in South America • Dallas-Fort Worth • Northeast Mega-Region
Perceptual Regions• Deﬁned by people’s feelings and attitudes about areas • Kansas: MidWest or Great Plains? • Mexico: North America or Central and South America?
Movement• Movement of people, culture, goods will change the overall deﬁnition of an area • New Orleans: Founded in 1700s - port city at the base of the Mississippi River • 1800s - Railroad changed the needs of transportation • 1900s - Limited importance in local economy, adapted by late 1900s (tourism, oil & gas production)
Human-Environment Interaction• How do people use their environment? How does that impact the landscape and how people respond to that change? • Thousands of years: Proximity to water determined where civilization grew - Egypt, Mesopotamia, etc. • Why do millions of people live in Phoenix, Arizona?