The following are the National Geographic Society, as well as OPUSD, Standards established for this course...
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHY STANDARDS
The geographically informed person knows and understands…
-How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective.
-How to use mental maps to organize information about people, places, and environments in a spatial context.
-How to analyze the spatial organization of people, places, and environments on Earth’s surface.
-The physical and human characteristics of places.
-That people create regions to interpret Earth’s complexity.
-How culture and experience influence people’s perceptions of places and regions.
-The physical processes that shape the patterns of Earth’s surface.
-The characteristics and spatial distribution of ecosystems on Earth’s surface.
-The characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth’s surface.
-The characteristics, distribution, and complexity of Earth’s cultural mosaics.
-The patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth’s surface.
-The processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement.
-How the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth's surface.
-How human actions modify the physical environment.
-How physical systems affect human systems.
-The changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources.
-How to apply geography to interpret the past.
-How to apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future.
THE IMPORTANCE OF GEOGRAPHIC SKILLS
The National Geography Standards suggest that students be able to master the following five types of skills…
1. Asking geographic questions- Successful geographic inquiry involves the ability and willingness to ask, speculate on, and answer questions about why things are where they are and how they got there. Students need to be able to pose questions about their surroundings: Where is something located? Why is it there? With what is it associated?
2. Acquiring geographic information- Geographic information is information about locations, the physical and human characteristics of those locations, and the geographic activities and conditions of the people who live in those places. To answer geographic questions, students should start by gathering information from a variety of sources in a variety of ways.
3. Organizing geographic information- Once collected, the geographic information should be organized and displayed in ways that help analysis and interpretation. Maps play a central role in geographic inquiry, but there are other ways to translate data into visual form, such as using different types of graphs, tables, spreadsheets, and time lines.
4. Analyzing geographic information- Analyzing geographic information involves seeking patterns, relationships, and connections. Students can then synthesize their observations into a coherent explanation. Students should scrutinize maps to discover and compare spatial patterns and relationships; study tables and graphs to determine trends and relationships between and among items; and probe data through statistical methods to identify trends, sequences, correlations, and relationships.
5. Answering geographic questions- Successful geographic inquiry culminates in the development of generalizations and conclusions based on the data collected, organized, and analyzed. Skills associated with answering geographic questions include the ability to make inferences based on information organized in graphic form (maps, tables, graphs) and in oral and written narratives.
--Adapted from Geography for Life, pp. 42-44
Boehm, Richard G., World Geography, Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, New York, 2000