Fulgurites are the rocks that form when lightning strikes sand (there are other types as well) and it creates a hollow tube. Think of it as petrified lightning--super cool!
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
Finding Materials: This site is designed for geography students and teachers to find interesting, current supplemental materials. To search for place-specific posts, browse this interactive map. To search for thematic posts organized by the APHG curriculum, see http://geographyeducation.org/thematic/. Also you can search for a keyword by clicking on the filter tab (looks like a funnel) above in the upper-righthand corner.
Staying Connected: You can receive post updates in the way that best fits how you use social media.
Email: Click 'follow' button at top right of this page.
I hope that you enjoy the content and materials that you find on this website. This represents the best news, materials and resources that I have found that can be used in geography (and other) classrooms. Use the 'funnel' as a way to filter and search for resources of specific topics or places.
"Most state borders were drawn centuries ago, long before the country was fully settled, and often the lines were drawn somewhat arbitrarily, to coincide with topography or latitude and longitude lines that today have little to do with population numbers. Most state borders were drawn centuries ago, long before the country was fully settled, and often the lines were drawn somewhat arbitrarily, to coincide with topography or latitude and longitude lines that today have little to do with population numbers."
"The Mexican tradition celebrates the dead and welcomes their return to the land of the living once a year. Enticing them to make the trip is where the food, drink and musical offerings come in."
Like many things in Mexico, the celebrations around the Day of the Dead are a combination of indigenous and Spanish traditions that collide to make something that is uniquely Mexican. This podcast goes through the symbolism in the cultural artifacts that are such a vibrant part of the festivities.
"If ever there was a demonstration of the power of science, it is the course of the fight billed 'Mankind v AIDS'. Until 1981 the disease (though already established in parts of Africa) was unknown to science. Within a decade it passed from being seen as primarily a threat to gay men, and then to promiscuous heterosexuals, to being a plague that might do to some parts of Africa what the Black Death did to medieval Europe. But now, though 1.6m people a year still die of it, that number is on a downward trajectory, and AIDS rarely makes the headlines any more. How was this achieved? The answer has two parts: sound science and international co-operation."
The Ebola epidemic has dominated headlines recently. In their haste, it has been lost on that media the scary medical story of the 20th century (AIDS) that was going to doom Africa is now a success story. Some of the stories about Ebola have treated Africa as one monolithic place--Africa is not a single story.
"The Sahel’s ability to produce food is not keeping pace with its growing population, and global warming will only exacerbate the imbalance, according to a new study. Among the 22 countries making up the arid region in northern Africa, the population grew to 471 million in 2010 from 367 million in 2000, a jump of nearly 30%. As the population grew rapidly, the production of crops remained essentially unchanged. Using satellite images to calculate annual crop production in the conflict-ridden Sahel belt, south of the Sahara desert, the researchers then compared output with population growth and food and fuel consumption."
"The historical geography of Erie Canal reshaped a nation."
Back in the early 1800s, New York was one of the three biggest cities in the United States, but what led to it's surge past Philadelphia and Boston? Geography and new technological innovations that favored New York City's relative location. NYC was the only city on the East coast that could access the Great Lakes via canal, and after the construction of the Erie Canal, NYC has always been the preeminent city in the USA.
"Canada: land-wise, it's one of the world's biggest countries, but population-wise, it's anything but.The map comes from the Government of Canada's 'Plant Hardiness Site,' which contains images showing 'Extreme Minimum Temperature Zones' throughout the Great White North."
"By 2025, the developing world, as we understand it now, will be home to 29 megacities. We explore the latest UN estimates and forecasts on the growth of these 'cities on steroids', and take a look at the challenges and opportunities megacities present for the tens of millions living in Lagos, Mexico City and Dhaka."
Through this BBC interactive mapping feature with rich call-out boxes, the reader can explore the latest UN estimates and forecasts on the growth of megacities (urban areas with over 10 million residents). These 'cities on steroids' have been growing tremendously since the 1950s and present a unique set of geographic challenges and opportunities for their residents. Also, this Smithsonian Magazine interactive (also on the rise of Megacities), argues that dealing with megacities is one of the traits of the Anthropocene.
"Two weeks ago, we published a literary map of Brooklyn, highlighting the books we felt best represented the neighborhoods in which they were set. Compiling the list of books for that map had us thinking about what it means for a story to not just be from a place, but also of it, and why it is that some places have an abundance of literary riches (we’re looking at you, American South), while others, well, don’t. There are those stories that so beautifully evoke a time and a place and a way of life that it becomes close to impossible to separate the literary perception of a place from its reality—one winds up informing the other. All [books on this states list] are literary in voice and spirit; every last one will let you understand a time and place in a more profound way than you maybe thought possible.
National Geographic Emerging Explorer Tristram Stuart wants the world to stop throwing away so much good food.
No one should be surprised that more developed societies are more wasteful societies. It is not just personal wasting of food at the house and restaurants that are the problem. Perfectly edible food is thrown out due to size (smaller than standards but perfectly normal), cosmetics (Bananas that are shaped 'funny') and costumer preference (discarded bread crust). This is an intriguing perceptive on our consumptive culture, but it also is helpful in framing issues such as sustainability and human and environmental interactions in a technologically advanced societies that are often removed form the land where the food they eat originates. You can hear more about Tristram's work in this TED talk.
|Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Textbooks|
"Jan Crawford explores a unique folk art tradition going back 100 years - once seen on nearly every row house in the working class neighborhoods of Baltimore, as artists today once again embrace the tradition of painted window screens, an authentic connection to the city's past."
This is tremendous example of an urban cultural landscape that is distinctive to a certain place (Baltimore) and a particular time period. The practice of painting landscape scene on window screens began over 100 years ago, as a way to beat the heat, but still afford some form of privacy. This aesthetic emerged out of particular set of cultural, technological, and economic factors. What was once common is now perceived as a folk art that is a worth preserving because it is a marker of the local heritage. This is an excellent example to demonstrate a sense of place that can develop within a community. This video has been added to my ESRI StoryMap that spatially organizes place-based videos for the geography classroom (68 and counting).
"During the month of October, I take advantage of the pumpkin harvest to bring hands-on geography to my students. After spending a month becoming familiar with the location of the seven continents and the major bodies of water, each student is given a pumpkin to turn into a globe. Students paint the entire surface of the pumpkin blue to represent water. Next, they use pushpins to position and trace the outline of each continent onto their pumpkins. They use actual globes as models and are careful to place the continents in the correct hemisphere. Then, they paint and label each continent a different color. They label the major bodies of water and use white paint to represent the North and South Poles."
Happy October everyone! The pictures above (from a friend's website) show how teachers and parents alike can get children involved in a fun craft that will strengthen kids' mental maps--all with a seasonal twist. If you really love idea of pumpkin globes, you should also see this one.
"Spatial analysis has always been a hallmark of GIS, the 'numerical recipes' which set GIS apart from other forms of computerized visualization and information management. With GIS we pose questions and derive results using a wide array of analytical tools to help us understand and compare places, determine how places are related, find the best locations and paths, detect and quantify patterns, and even to make spatial predictions."
GIS is a key tool in spatial analysis, but it can also be a driving force in using math, science, technology and (yes) geography as interdisciplinary ways of teaching the curriculum. StoryMaps can be rich with images and videos, but also filled with data at a variety of scales. What stories can you tell in this rich, visual format? What visual template shown might lend itself best for that sort of project?
The world’s biggest container ships, longer than the Eiffel Tower is high, are a symbol of an increasingly global marketplace. But they also face strong economic headwinds.
This article and video from the NY Times is a great way to show the magnitude of the largest vessels that drive the global economy. These containers are symbols of global commerce that enable economies of scale to be profitable and the outsourcing of so many manufacturing jobs to developing countries. The invention of these containers have changed the geography of global shipping and today the vast majority of the world's largest ports are now in East Asia. Today though, the biggest container ships are too big to go through the Panama Canal, encouraging China to build a larger canal through Nicaragua.
"This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) is for people who know something about data analysis and want to learn about the special capabilities of spatial data analysis. Spatial analysis focuses on location to gain a deeper understanding of data. Spatial analysis skills are in high demand by organizations around the world. You'll get free access to the full analytical capabilities of ArcGIS Online, Esri's cloud-based GIS platform. Previous experience with GIS software is helpful, but not necessary for tech-savvy problem solvers. Could you and your career go places with spatial analysis?"
This course starts tomorrow...if you've wanted to learn about GIS with a no-risk on-ramp, this looks to be a safe bet from the worldwide leader in geospatial software. While a grad student at Penn State, I was a TA for a course designed by David DiBiase (the instructor of the MOOC), and I still refer back to that class as one of the best courses to teach geographic skills for the non-geography major.
"Ukraine is the quintessential borderland state. The country borders three former Soviet states and four countries in the European Union. Ukraine sits on the Northern European Plain, the area that has historically served as an invasion superhighway going east and west."
Corn is not what you think. For starters: Most of the time, it's not human food.
Land use practices that determine what is grown in a particular place are partly determined by the health needs of a local population, but they are more directly shaped by economic markets. Over 75% of the corn produced in the United States is destined for animal feed or fuel; since global population projections are now supposed to be 11 billion by 2100, these are some important issues for us to consider before we are forced to reassess our societal choices.
"An interactive map to explore history's greatest journeys, from Magellan to Kerouc."
This use-to-use interactive map let's users digitally walk in the footsteps of some of the greatest explorers ever. Some of the pivotal moments in history was when geographers sought out lands that were unknown to them.
Many advocates of local foods favor a small-scale approach to farming and are opposed to large-scale agribusiness. It might be easy for those disconnected from the food production system (like me) to romanticize and mythologize the farmers of yesteryear and yearn to return to this past. This talk highlights how essential large-scale farming is absolutely critical to feeding the global population; this other TED talk discusses many of the hunger problems especially the uneven access to food. Here are some other pro-agribusiness resources.