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Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement
a Distinctively Christian Perspective of Home Education
Cindy Short and Sue Welch,
Co-Editors / http://www.TeachingHome.com
Table of Contents
5-Part Series: The Geography Connection
Part 1. The Geography/People Connection
Part 2-A. The Geography/Science Connection
Physical Geography: The World in Spatial Terms
• Goal 1: Learn About Geographic
• Goal 2: Learn About Specific
Locations and Places
Systematic Study of Geographic Categories
Regional Study of Geographic Features
• Goal 3: Learn About Physical
Changes in Geography?
Part 2-B. The Geography/Science Connection
Part 3. The Geography/History Connection
Part 4. The Geography/Arts Connection
Part 5. The Geography/Present Connection
Grapevine Studies Bible Curriculum
AVKO Educational Research Foundation
Audio Memory: Geography Songs
Jean Welles' Worship Guitar Class
Enlightened Democracy by Tara Ross
Sunnyside Up: Humorous Anecdote
The word "geography" comes from the Greek roots
(earth) and "graphy" (writing, study, or description).
The two main branches of geography are physical
and human (or cultural) geography.
In our last issue we dealt with cultural geography
uniquely Christian perspective of learning about people and
loving people -- seeing people through God's eyes.
In this issue and our next issue, we will
explore the study
of physical geography.
Physical geography is based on the physical
sciences and is
also called earth science. It is a study of the world's surface:
the distribution, delineation, and nature of its land and water
The measurements and movements of the earth,
relationship to the sun (seasons), moon (tides), and planets, as
well as mapmaking and navigation, are studied using the
• Geology is the scientific study of the origin, history,
structure of the earth and the structure of
of the earth's crust.
• Biogeography is the study of earth's plants and animals
(flora and fauna) using the biological sciences.
• Oceanography is the study of the earth's oceans.
In all the branches of physical geography,
between geography, math, and science are obvious and easily
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The World in Spatial Terms
What To Cover in Teaching Physical Geography
Basic geography literacy includes the ability
1. Identify and use geographic tools.
2. Identify, describe, and locate places and regions of the
3. Identify physical systems and describe how they are
These are some of the goals listed in the
for teaching geography.
Goal 1: Learn About Geographic Tools
The first learning goal of physical geography
is to learn
how to use geographic representations, tools, and technology.
Your children should be taught to:
• Understand the characteristics, functions, advantages,
disadvantages, and applications of various
representations (globes, maps, etc.).
• Acquire, process, and report information from a spatial
Understanding Maps and Measurements:
Terms To Learn
• Latitude, longitude, degrees, minutes, seconds
• Prime Meridian, International Date Line, time zones
• Equator, polar axis, Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn,
• Altitude, elevation, topography
• Legend, scale, boundaries
• Directions, N, S, E, W, NE, SW, etc.
Position on the Earth's Surface
Every place has a "global address" that tells
in the world it is located. It is made up of two numbers -- its
latitude and its longitude. When given in degrees, minutes, and
seconds, this address pinpoints the location to within 100 feet
in each direction.
Find the latitude and longitude for your city
largest one near you) at
Choosing Geographic Tools
Globes are the most accurate scale models
of Earth in terms
of relative size, shape, distance, and compass directions.
Maps can furnish more detailed information
for a specific
location than a globe can.
Wall maps (along with timelines) make up a
"wallpaper." You can display several wall maps at once or change
them according to your studies. A good selection might include
• The world
• Your country, state, city
• Bible lands
• Any specific region you are
Laminated wall maps are a good educational
provide a constant and ready opportunity for interest and study.
Maps come in various sizes and types, including
following. (Some maps may combine several areas of information.)
• Political Maps show the country's boundaries,
(or provinces, etc.), and large cities.
• Road Maps show roads (usually with a key to indicate
and type), tourist attractions, freeway exits,
railroad crossings, etc.
• Physical Maps show landforms and natural features,
mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans.
• Thematic Maps use colors and/or shading to show
kinds of information such as weather, population,
agriculture, minerals, languages, or religion.
3. Other Tools
Valuable information is available in various
• Printed reference works
• Graphs and diagrams
• Aerial and other photographs
• Satellite and other images
Online, Interactive Maps and Satellite Images
See a map or get directions. Type in
an address or location
and see it on a map and/or satellite image. Zoom in to see a
close-up of your house! http://local.google.com
a Multi-Sensory Approach to
through Phonics and Word Families.
• Individualized Keyboarding teaches reading and spelling
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• Let's Write Right teaches reading/spelling as the alphabet
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To try it before you buy it or for information
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As you explore physical geography with your
will discover little-known facts that can enhance understanding
and add interest to both your studies and your conversations.
Below is an example.
Three Ways To Measure a Mountain
1. Distance above Sea Level*
Mt. Everest on the Nepal-Tibet border in the
stands 29,035 feet above sea level. Due to a new GPS
calculation, the height of Mt. Everest was revised in 1999;
before that time it was thought to be 29,028 feet.
*Sea level is the average surface elevation of the world's
2. Distance from Base to Summit
Measured from base to summit, the volcanic
peak of Mauna
Kea in Hawaii, is 33,480 feet, of which 13,796 feet are above
sea level and the remaining 19,684 feet are under water.
When measured from base to summit, Denali
(Mt. McKinley) in
Alaska is the tallest mountain on earth that is entirely above
sea level (18,000 feet).
3. Distance from the Center of the Earth
The point on the planet's surface farthest
from the center
of the earth is the summit of Chimborazo volcano in the Andes of
Ecuador. Its elevation is only 20,703 feet (8,332 feet less than
Mt. Everest), but because of its location near the equator it
gets a boost from the equatorial bulge (which makes the earth's
radius about 68,900 feet greater at the equator than at the
poles). In fact, the ocean beaches of Ecuador are farther from
the center of the earth than is the summit of Mt. Everest!
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Goal 2: Learn About Specific Locations and
There are certain basic facts your children
need to learn to
be geographically literate. They need to know the location,
geographic features, and physical characteristics of various
places and regions of the world that will be referred to in their
reading, in the news, in their work, in conversations, and in
You may start with a short list of the most
to learn in each category and, as these are mastered, add more
items or more details.
Your child will better understand new geographic
if it is related to something he already knows and understands.
Find places on a globe or world map that has
your own home
marked on it to show the position and distance of the locations
from your home.
Compare characteristics of various cities,
land forms, and
water features to those your child knows.
Compare the size of a country, for instance,
with a state
in the United States (see examples below). See the "area
comparative" listing for each country at
United Kingdom - slightly smaller than
Germany - slightly smaller than Montana
Iraq - slightly more than twice the
size of Idaho
Israel - slightly smaller than New Jersey
China - slightly smaller than the US
Canada - somewhat larger than the US
Two Ways To Study Geography
1. Systematically: Individual categories worldwide (e.g.,
rivers of the world).
2. Regionally: Relationships of categories in a particular
(e.g., South America).
The following checklists will help you evaluate
geographic knowledge your children have and what they still need
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Systematic Study of Geographic Categories
Many terms are used to identify and describe
characteristics of places and regions. As you learn the
vocabulary of geography and study the characteristics of the
following landforms and bodies of water, you can locate major or
important examples on a map of the world or your country.
Online Geography Glossaries
(Listed from simple to more extensive.)
Large and Principle Land and Water Features of the World
(Includes lakes, rivers, islands, mountain
waterfalls, deserts, and caves.)
Information on rivers, weather, mountains,
rainforests, water and the water cycle.
Following is a checklist of places,
features, and countries
that your children should be learning.
Please note that there are different ways
to identify and
count the continents, oceans, and independent countries.
• The Seven Continents: North America, South America, Africa,
Australia, Antarctica, Europe and Asia (Eurasia).
• Land Forms: Archipelago, basin, canyon, cape, continent,
island, isthmus, mountain, mountain range,
• The Seven Oceans: Northern Atlantic, Southern Atlantic,
Northern Pacific, Southern Pacific, Indian,
• Water Features: Bay, canal, delta, falls, glacier, gulf,
lagoon, lakes, reef, river, strait, waterways,
Bodies of water. http://www.xist.org/world/nature/waters.php
• The 193 Countries of the World. (Taiwan is recognized
independent country in this count.)
• Ranked in order by Area:
• Ranked in order by Population
• Study of countries would also include states or provinces,
capitals and major cities, highways and other
• The countries of the world can also be studied from a
missionary worldview by using the "Operation
World" books or
CD or online at http://www.gmi.org/ow/index.html.
Regional Study of Geographic Features
You may wish to study all geographic categories
relationships in one region of the world at a time.
• Political boundaries and capitals of countries.
(look up by continent at http://www.mapquest.com/atlas)
• Geographic features such as those listed below.
1. North America
• Land: Coast Mountains & Ranges, Cascade Range,
Mountains, Rocky Mountains, Appalachian Mountains,
Plains, Gulf-Atlantic Coastal Plain, Aleutian
• Water: Mississippi River, Missouri River, Ohio
Colorado River, Snake River, Rio Grande, the
Hudson Bay, Gulf of Mexico
2. Middle and South America
• Land: Andes Mountains, Atacama Desert, Pampas
• Water: Amazon River
3. Eurasia (Europe and Asia)
• Land: Alps, Arabian Peninsula, Himalayas, Tibetan
• Water: Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Caspian Sea,
Lake Baykal, Ganges River, Yangzi River (Chang
Yellow River (Huang He)
• Land: Atlas Mountains, Sahara Desert, the Sahel,
Namib Desert, Kalahari Desert
• Water: Nile River, Congo River, Lake Victoria,
Tanganyika, Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi), Red
5. Australia and New Zealand
• Land: Great Sandy Desert, Great Victoria Desert,
Dividing Range, Southern Alps
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Goal 3: Learn About Physical Systems
Various physical processes, as well as the
relationships to the sun and moon, affect physical geography.
• Know how physical processes shape the physical environment.
The atmosphere (weather and climate)
The lithosphere (earthquakes, erosion)
The hydrosphere (oceans, water cycle)
The biosphere (ecosystems, vegetation)
Information on earch energy, earth structure,
biosphere, climates, bio-geo-chemical cycles.
Geological formations, such as those created
by the eruption
of Mount St. Helens, show that the earth may be only thousands of
years old and that geological strata is formed by catastrophe.
U.S. Geological Survey geographers monitor
changes on the land. http://geography.usgs.gov
• Understand Earth-Sun relationships.
The sun and moon have effects on the earth's
climates, weather, disasters, and time.
The Astronomical Applications Department of
the U.S. Naval
Observatory maintains a website of data services that provides
extensive information in the following categories:
• Sun Rise/Set/Transit/Twilight Data
• Phases of the Moon
• Solar and Lunar Eclipses and Transits
• Positions of Selected Celestial Objects
• Synthetic Views of the Earth and Solar System Bodies
• Dates of Earth's Seasons
• Celestial Navigation
• Astronomical Almanac Online
You can enter the names of your city and state
and see your
longitude and latitude, as well as time of sunrise, sunset,
moonrise, etc. for a specific day.
Changes in Geography?
Watch the news for changes in designations
in geography such as:
1. The Discovery of a Possible "New Planet"
2. Recalculation of the height of Mt. Everest (see above)
3. "Southern Ocean" name sanctioned by some geographers
some governments (not the U.S.)
4. Milky Way Now Thought To Be Bigger than Andromeda
A team of scientists at the Institute of Astronomy,
Cambridge, says, "It now looks as though the Milky Way is the
biggest galaxy in the local Universe, bigger even than Andromeda.
It was thought until just a few months ago that it was the other
The Cambridge University team expects to submit
the first of
its results to a leading astrophysics journal in the next few
It is well to remember that scientific information
as good as the truth of its assumptions, the design of its tools
and experiments, the accuracy of its observations, and the
interpretation of its gathered data. For absolute truth, our
only source is God's unerring and eternal Word.
Please Thank and Support
Our Sponsoring Advertisers!
These free newsletters are made possible financially
fine suppliers who advertise in them and in the accompanying
e-mail. Please consider those that advertised in our last issue
(below) as well as the ones in this issue.
Runkle Publishers: "Welcome to the Wonderful World of Geography"
Boston Test Prep for the SAT
Rhea's Education Days
Beyond Phonics Spelling
Deeper Roots Publications: Bible Curriculum
Sunnyside Up: A Degree in Geography
One day I was inwardly congratulating myself
on having done
a good job of teaching geography to our 2nd-grade son and his
1st-grade sister until I overheard this conversation:
"Christopher, look! It's freezing at
"No, it's not, Margaret."
"Yes, it is! Look at the map.
It's 0 degrees at the
Submitted by Elizabeth B., Texas
God loves us.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave
His only begotten
Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have
eternal life" (John 3:16).
We have been separated from God by sin.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the
glory of God”
(Romans 3:23). “For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
The death of Jesus Christ in our place is God's
only provision for our sin.
"He (Jesus Christ) was delivered over to death
for our sins
and was raised to life for our justification" (Romans 4:25).
We must personally receive Jesus Christ
as our own Savior and Lord.
"For by grace you have been saved through
faith; and that
not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of
works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
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