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Developing Spatial Literacy
Learning the spatial skills of Geography
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Where Does the South Begin?

Where Does the South Begin? | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
Roads? Religion? Accent? Food? Which factor dictates where the North ends?

 

This is a great intellectual expercise to help student think about regions and how we define them.  The article can help also inform some of their thinking since one of the main problems for students in drawing regional boundaries is a lack of place-based knowledge.   

 

Tags: regions, USA.


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Matthew DiLuglio's curator insight, October 12, 2013 6:49 PM

Borders... the first thing I think of was a giant bookstore near my hometown... it now ceases to exist, having been replaced by Barnes and Nobel...  As for the political organization of space, I could apply this situation and laugh.  Borders will cease to be, and they will be called after people's last names!  I think this has already happened, when people unite together in countries such as the USA- although borders are specific, the general federal laws and many policies still apply in all states... generally. And people's names are often the namesakes of places.  I don't like the idea of borders, though, it seems like a bunch of warmongers trying to get ahead in a world where they can't truly cheat death, so they cheat other people of land that may have been decreed in ancient documents as property of their ancestors, or even in accordance with the righteousness of the universe and what should be alloted to whom.  Ownership is a concept of denial, because no one can truly own anything, not even our bodies, which contain trillions of infinite universes the size of the large one around us that we commonly refer to.  Borders are relative, and will likely become recognized as obsolete.  I know this was abstract, but it's my thoughts on the topic.

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Interactive Map: Economic Stress Index

Interactive Map: Economic Stress Index | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it

This is a great interactive feature focusing on the differential impacts of the economic downturn on particular places.  You can zoom in, see county-level data, and slide the time bar at the bottom to get spatiotemporal data.    


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U.S. Teen Birthrates

U.S. Teen Birthrates | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
Teen births follow the same fault lines of religion, politics, and class that divide Americans. ...

 

What cultural, economic and political patterns can we see in this map?  What else might help us understand these spatial patterns?  The rates of highest teen births appear to be correlated with the 'Bible Belt.'  Why might this be? 


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America's romance with sprawl may be over

America's romance with sprawl may be over | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
Three years after the recession officially ended, Census county population estimates show Americans are staying put or moving to cities.

 

The recession and foreclosure crisis really hurt many suburban families and the values of suburban homes.   This interactive map is helps students to notice the patterns that shape the changing demographic patterns connected to urbanization. 


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Soda vs. Pop with Twitter

Soda vs. Pop with Twitter | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
One of the great things about Twitter is that it’s a global conversation anyone can join anytime. Eavesdropping on the world, what what!

 

While many educators have been using http://popvssoda.com/ to show the linguistic regions in the United States, this is a similar map, with the added social media component.  To map out these regions, the cartographer used the word choice on geo-tagged tweets as the data source.  For another twitter, map, the following link shows which regions are most actively engaged on Twitter: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/06/top-countries-on-twitter_n_1653915.html

What do these regions show us?  What types of regions are these?


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Chris W's comment, August 27, 2012 11:02 AM
This is a really cool use of twitter! I use the term soda, which most of the northeast uses as well.
Courtney Burns's curator insight, September 14, 2013 10:35 PM
Twitter is something that is becoming widely used, and is something I usually check everyday. I never really thought of twitter beyond advertising and communicating. It is amazing the kind of data that can be extracted from peoples tweets. In the soda vs. pop argument I would say soda which makes sense since the data shows that people in the Northeast refer to it as soda. Twitter is so current that you can actually get some current and accurate data just from reading the hash tags in peoples tweets. It's amazing that such information can be extracted from all around the world.
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A Guide to Mass Shootings in America

A Guide to Mass Shootings in America | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
There have been at least 57 in the last 30 years—and most of the killers got their guns legally.

 

Still not sure if I'm prepared to explain what this all means, but it would be worth discussing in class. 


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The Political Geography of Gasoline Prices

The Political Geography of Gasoline Prices | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
Rising gas prices make people unhappy, but the pain is felt most acutely in states where it is unlikely to make an electoral difference.

 

There are numerous geographic themes that make this article a worthwhile read.  The evidence suggests that states the vote more solidly Republican are being hit hardest at the pump.  Gasoline expenditures as a share of personal income are higher in pro-Republican states than pro-Democrat states.  Understanding the demographic base of each party as well as population density explains much of this issue: states that are very rural drive greater distances with less public transit option, spending more per capita on gasoline.  Also, since the most affluent urban centers are Democrat-leaning, they spend a less sizeable portion of their income on gasoline.  This article would be a nice resource for a classroom/small group discussion.  


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Siobhan Chantigian's curator insight, April 23, 2014 11:39 PM

This is an interesting article about how rising gas prices and how people are going to vote.  

Annie Christofferson's comment, April 27, 2014 6:06 PM
I thought this it was interesting how it said that the states that it really makes a difference in are the ones that don't have as big an impact on the electoral college. It doesn't seem quite fair.
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Santorum Sees Divide Between Rural and Urban America

Santorum Sees Divide Between Rural and Urban America | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it

The 2012 election are showing again some of the cultural, political and economic divides that exist in the United States.  This above map portrays the 2008 presidential election, with counties that voted for McCain in red and Obama in blue.  Rick Santorum has said, in reference the political map of the United States today, "Think about it, look at the map of the United States...it's almost all red except around the big cities."  Rick Santorum, by taking on “blue” big cities, is also criticizing the Republicans, his own party. This political portray is an attempt to accentuate the difference between rural and urban America to hit his key demographic, but it also begs for further analysis into the electoral geography of the United States.  As some social media skeptics have retorted, "It's all blue except where nobody lives."  Which is it?  What do these patterns say about United States politics?  Why do these patterns exist?  For more maps that shed light on the spatial voting patterns from the 2008 election, see:  http://www.scoop.it/t/geography-education/p/462087007/2008-election-maps


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Ryan Amado's curator insight, December 10, 2013 10:50 PM

Senator Santorum has made a good point here. For years his party (and even the other) have been redistricting their states in order to gain advantages in state elections.  It has been common knowledge which areas are leaning red and which are blue.  Yet nobody seems to be trying to strenghten their base in weaker areas. One thing that would've helped immensely is if the Republicans had strengthened their support among immigrants and African Americans. They heavily populate these urban areas that Republicans need support in in order to strengthen their base.

Amanda Morgan's curator insight, September 18, 2014 1:17 PM

While looking at this map in class, and then various other maps it is interesting to look at the correlations between the geography of the area and the way they voted. For example, the cotton belt votes democratic, which would make sense given the history behind the location.

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The Invisible Borders That Define American Culture

The Invisible Borders That Define American Culture | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
We can be connected (or disconnected) based on where we move, how we speak, and even what sports teams we root for.

 

This article is a great source for discussion material on regions (include the ever-famous "Soda/Pop/Coke" regions).  How do we divide up our world?  What are the criteria we use for doing so?


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Bella The Non-Vampire's curator insight, August 21, 2014 10:22 AM

i believe that these fifty states are divided into three different regions that define them by what those regions are made of. Those regions im talking about are the formal, functional, and vernacular regions. Some types of examples of those regions are common language, transportaion, and mental maps. I.C.

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Historical Tornado Data Visualized

Historical Tornado Data Visualized | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it

This strangely beautiful map shows every tornado to hit the U.S. between 1950 and 2011.  What physical geographic factors lead to this distribution?  What are the impacts of this data on human geography?  


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Roland Trudeau Jr.'s comment, July 10, 2012 12:28 PM
Def in agreement with John I'm wondering myself as to what the cause of the hole is. Id speculate it is due to some sort of terrain issues. maybe even man made structures.
melissa stjean's comment, September 4, 2012 12:00 PM
the physical geographic factors that lead to the the distribution of tornadoes in the US is because the jet stream coming from the west and hot air from the Gulf of Mexio air both crashing together. This mostly happens in the Midwestern part of the country. Though there are times when supercell thunderstorms pop up in different parts of the country and can form tornadoes, such as the southern part of the US. The impacts of this data on human geography are can range from little damage to catastrophic causing billions of dollars in damage.
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National Atlas: Interactive Mapmaker

National Atlas: Interactive Mapmaker | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it

The National Atlas that is available online has an extensive database for simple online mapping.  This is "GIS-light," an easy way to explore the spatial patterns within U.S. census data and other data sets.  The lists all contain a wide variety of variables, making this a good way to get students to explore potential research topics.  Thanks to the Connecticut Geographic Alliance coordinator for suggesting this link.   


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Lisa Fonseca's comment, August 27, 2012 11:10 AM
I think this website is great! I can see myself using this in a classroom. It provides a clear visual for students and anyone in general to view statistics on a variety of content.
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The Geography of Underwater Homes

The Geography of Underwater Homes | Developing Spatial Literacy | Scoop.it
New data from Zillow shows fewer homeowners underwater, but the pattern varies widely by geography.

 

The Sunbelt (especially California and Florida) have the highest percentage of homeowners that are 'underwater' and owe more than the home is worth.  Also hit hard are declining metro areas area of the rust belt. 

Question to ponder: Why would these places be hit the hardest?  


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