Virginia Geography - Wrapup
.The same type of fencing can be found in West Virginia which of course part of Virginia during this era. The uneven terrain there shows the ability of the people to adapt and problem solve. Adjustments could be done without need for extreme engineering.
The next week, I would take them through the town of Haymarket, Va and onward to Chapman's Mill so that they
can realize they live in the Piedmont region of Virginia with little hills and various types of vegetation. Next, I would offer a weekend trip for families to do a hike along the Blue Ridge (for extra credit, of course). Finally, I would offer another weekend trip for families to go to the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton. Knowing that many students would be unable to attend a distant area, I would go myself and make videos of my own in addition to the Virginia Trekkers' videos. Students will discuss what they would need in order to live in any particular area. They will answer the question: How can I work with the geography of this region in Virginia in order to live and help my family thrive.
I break the students into pairs and give them a picture of a scene with one of these tribes. I have them look at the pictures and draw conclusions about the tribes. Once they have discussed and observed these pictures we will display it on the board and they can present to the class what they observed.
Since I teach about two wars (the Revolutionary war and the Civil war), I will consider starting my unit with maps of Virginia, the colonies and the Unites States early in these units in order to show and remind students what the natural features of the land are (rivers, ocean, mountains, etc), where certain cities came to develop, how people traveled and why, and how products and trade worked between the states and colonies. An understanding of how people interacted with the land around them and how their physical environment impacted their daily lives is crucial for understanding the details of history and why specific events occurred where they did. I found Ed Ayers' discussion of geography and the Civil War to be fascinating, and I plan to begin that unit with maps of the south and Virginia, as well as some topography to show land elevation, as a way of "setting the stage" for them in advance of studying battles and military strategy.
Secondly, while I knew and already teach my students that we live in the Central Piedmont region of Virginia, I learned in this module that I live and work in the "Outer Piedmont Subprovince." It's just an interesting fact. I already teach, since our school's name is Dan River Middle School, how important the Dan River was and remains in the history of Danville and Pittsylvania County. We already and will continue to discuss the Dan River's importance to the native inhabitants of this area and to the European settlers when they came to the "New World" -- for food, water, transportation, etc. We already make connections to the fact that the now-defunct Dan River Textile Plant relied upon the river for the running of the mill, for transportation purposes, etc. We also make the economic connections to globalization and try to understand why the mill shut down and how those jobs went to China. I like that the module both affirms what I'm currently doing while giving me some other ideas about what I might be able to incorporate in my classroom.
Making Sense of Maps
This site from History Matters explores how to use maps as a historical source including what questions students should ask and how maps can clarify and distort the way we see the world.
Lewis and Clark: Same Place, Different Perspectives
History teacher Shanne Bowie reviews a history and geography lesson from National Geographic that investigates the relationship between history and geography.
In this video, teacher Simon Botten demonstrates how to use a whiteboard to engage elementary-age students in history and geography.