Virginia Geography
Virginia Geography - Wrapup
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Geography
High
I really like the idea of having students reviewing various pictures, primary source description and maps, and analyzing what they see. I would not tell students the exact location they were attempting to pinpoint, so they could make deductions based on what they saw.
Geography
High
I really like the idea of having students reviewing various pictures, primary source description and maps, and analyzing what they see. I would not tell students the exact location they were attempting to pinpoint, so they could make deductions based on what they saw.
4th grade teacher
Elementary
I teach 4th grade, and in 4th grade our focus in on Virginia Studies. Virginia Geography is a major focus in Virginia Studies. Ideally, I would like my students to have the opportunity to visit and experience Virginia's vast geography. I will have substitute the actual physical opportunities to virtual opportunities.
Virginia's Geography
Elementary
After learning about Virginia's geography, I found it to be very interest the ease in which geography affects as a scaffold for learning about other historical events, like the Civil War. If I were to teach 4th grade, I would definitely start out the civil war by learning about Virginia's geography first. After becoming very familiar with the geography, that would then lead into the others aspects on the war, including capitals.
Virginia Geography
Elementary
I hope to use more maps and include geography better when studying historical people and events. Unfortunately, sometimes those topics are taught and assessed separately. How the physical landscape ties into the cultural landscape and the effects it has on history is very important to helping students see a broader picture. By including historical maps, students will have the opportunity to investigate deeper to determine the underlying causes of why events occurred. Integrating geography will help students understand more about the interactions of different cultures.
fences
Elementary
In 2nd grade we discuss the Powhatan Indians. The kids love learning about their life and how it differs from ours. It's important for them to know what Virginia was like before settlers arrived. Then they can follow the progress of the state and appreciate its good times and hard times.
Why this Ground?
Middle
Teaching in close proximity to notable geographic locations in Northern Virginia such as the Manassas Battlefield, Washington DC, and Mount Vernon, I can apply geography into many lessons. In regards to the Civil War, the question can be asked, why did two battles happen on the Manassas Battlefield? Students can be provided maps from various time periods (Colonial, Civil War, and Modern) as well as written accounts relating to strategies. The students can use this information to form supported hypotheses as to why battles were fought in close proximity to each other. To broaden perspectives up, other civil war battles can be looked at and discussed with a regards to their geographic locations.
Mod 2 Croteau
Middle
Geography is one of the very first things we review at the beginning of each semester. I believe I can spend a little more time making sure they understand the significance of those geographical features in context to history as opposed to just memorizing the names and locations. I also think showing a photograph of an area would be a good way to have students brainstorm what they are getting ready to learn about.
Mortgages and Maps
High
What does land ownership look like?

In my class we would analyze one of the first European created maps of Virginia (like one from John Smith) and then look at a map from today. We will look at what is listed on each one to see the patterns of big cities and roads in relation to mountains and rivers.

A simple map activity can help the students to understand Virginian history.
Virginia Geography
Elementary
I will make sure that students understand the geography before teaching the event. I believe this will help them understand and think more critically about the how and why of any historical event. For instance the Battle of Great Bridge-- is much more fun to act out and understand knowing how the bridge severely impacted the outcome of the historical event. This is just one example for all of Virginia's history. Knowing Virginia's geography is vital to understand her history and cultural landscapes that still have impacts on Virginia today.
Geography of change
High
I would use the changing maps of the different regions of Virginia to demonstrate the roll of geography in the development of Virginia. I would like to invite the students to think about the phase "Some things change, some things remain the same" in the context of the role of geography in Virginia's past versus her present. The rivers are still the same but how is the way they are used different today? Are they less important? More important now? How did rivers influence the locations of cities, homes, etc.. in the past? How were the location of modern highways determined? How does the location of modern highways determine the location of things today? How are the two the same ? How are they different? Just a few of the questions I would hope to bring out as we think through this topic together.
Settlements in Virginia
High
I would have students study colonial maps of Virginia, specifically John Smith's map of Virginia. Studying the map would allow students to understand where colonists settled in Virginia and determine, based on location, why they settled where they did and finally determine what the settlers did to make a living.
Virginia Geography in the classroom
Pre-K
Kindergarteners learn about the Pilgrims journey to settle in America. Using a world map of the day, the students can work in groups to look at the journey the Pilgrims made. They can make a hypothesis as to why the Pilgrims would make such a journey from England to America. They can discuss what geography they were looking for and why.
Introduction - Understanding place
High
Typically in my class the beginning of any new unit has a geography component. But more often than not, it's simply a matter of studying/coloring a map, finding/labeling important locations, etc. There are many ideas contained in this module that could supplement lessons on basic geography. Rather than simply identifying places and locations on the map, I could introduce students to the various "characters", either individuals or groups of people, who were associated with a given location. Students could then brainstorm how those characters might view that location; its economic advantages or disadvantages, its political/military strategic importance, its cultural significance, etc. Not only would this give them a more thorough understanding of the interplay between geography and history, it can also help them to think historically by trying to place them in the mind of an individual in a previous era, to think not only about what happened, but what it meant for those characters we are studying.
Maps!
Elementary
Students need hands-on interaction with maps- maps from across time and space. They need to analyze and interpret them, compare and contrast them, and create their own. They need to ask questions about maps and their makers as well as the people who used them, and think about how geography influenced culture and how Virginians' way of life influenced the land and its future. They need to understand the connections between how people used land, which people used land, who benefitted from the land least and most, and how people interacted with each other regarding land. By "land" I also mean water, and luckily students aren't far from a waterway anywhere in the state to enjoy- and- map! By drawing their own maps, students can get a better understanding of motivations and what people find important to include/leave out and why, because they'll see their classmates have a different approach to similar places they may choose to map.
Teacher's Reflections on VA Geo
Middle
This section has totally change my view on how to approach teaching the Civil War. I had already started marking location on Google Earth to share with my students as we "travel" through U.S. History I. Now as we "travel" we can talk about how geography shaped the event or person we are studying. I plan to teach use the geography and more primary sources to introduce Units and topics to students to get them thinking more about why and how history was shaped.
Classroom Connections for Virginia Geography
Elementary
Teaching US I in 5th grade, I am responsible for teaching the 8 geographic regions of the United States. However, I think there is a common message in this module that can be incorporated into any history course. It is important for students to understand how geography impacted history and cultural of regions and areas. Teaching history and geography together, rather than keeping them separate is how I think it would be beneficial for students to learn about geography and history. Making connections between the two and using maps-both current and in the past would help with this, as well.
Teaching maps
Elementary
As a librarian, my classroom is different. To teach geography I would use a variety of atlases and websites to share with students maps that show Virginia in different stages of its history. Going from the earliest days of John Smith's map to the days of Washington and the Revolution to the Civil War and then to the digital maps of today, the story of Virginia can be told.
Geographic Connections to History
High
Since I teach World Geography, this unit has been particularly interesting, because often times the curriculum is so focused only on the modern era, that it can be challenging to include historical periods into the classroom. Reading the Mount Vernon essay and seeing how terms such as human-environment interaction, place, etc. were used within the essay all while providing historical context is something that interests me for my own students going forward. I believe it could give them a chance to look at a historical event or location from a new perspective, all while re-enforcing curriculum vocabulary and skills.

Additionally, when teaching World History, I was try and explain how events did not just "happen" randomly, that often locations of things are for a reason, like the establishment of Constantinople (now Istanbul). I think history teachers are often so focused on delivering the content to the kids, that we often miss the opportunities (even if they are small) to explain how geography is integral to how things happened and historical significance.
Application of Virginia Geography
High
I think one of the best ways is for students to pick a geographical feature and research the history of that location and identify the things and people that impacted that area in turning it into what it is today.
Geographic Connections
Elementary
We focus heavily on the geography of Virginia at the beginning of the school year. We discuss the regions and the rivers as well as the landforms and landmarks. I think the best way to keep my students engaged with geography to is keep connecting it to every unit we teach. Asking questions about the relationship between the Earth and the Indians and how the relationship between the Earth and he europeans was different. By asking these questions the students can understand the cultural differences between these two groups and better understand how the Indians might have felt. Connections can also be made to Civil War and Westward migration. Why do you think these battle locations were important was advantages did the geography bring to the soldiers? When we discuss westward expansion I want them to be able to make the connection as to why the Cumberland Gap was so important because of the difficulties the mountains provided. I want to really see if students can make the connections on their own or through guided conversation instead of just being told. Coming to these conclusions theirselves will help them to be better historical thinkers as well as make more connections between topics.
KeriD -Teacher
Elementary
The use of geographical identifiers can lead student inquiry in critical thinking and analysis of exploration, settlements and expansion of colonization of a new nation.
VA Geography in the Classroom
Elementary
I like the idea given in the video of explaining events and essential places by beginning with the importance of its geography. I found it difficult to piece together the events and people that my history teachers taught me, as I did not quite understand how they all were related, or the "whys" behind many of them. I think starting out with geography will provide a foundation for which my students can build their historical knowledge.
Starting with Geography 4th Grade Virginia Studies
Elementary
I think that an easy way to approach the teaching of Virginia history is to start with its geography. Also, in outlining geography's importance you can easily set a stage for teaching about a specific historical event. It may be best to start with a small scale lesson that shows students why geography is so important. Then, approach the larger aspects of Virginia's geographical features and why they are important. The students may not know it now but by laying a strong foundation in the understanding of geography the students will be better able to grasp difficult concepts in future lessons.
Melissa B
Middle
In my classroom, geography is not necessarily something students have to be familiar with. In a Civics and Economics classroom, I would use the geography to explain voting trends or how the number of state electors is chosen. I have discussed the geography in terms of the economy and what resources the state provides for trading and tourism, but I have not thought about teaching geography past that. I will do some thinking to see how I can include more resources for Virginia geography in my curriculum so long that it makes sense to the curriculum.
Mapping Virginia
Elementary
As a 5th grade Virginia Studies teacher, I really liked the classroom lesson shared in this module. I would actually like to do this with my students. Students would work with a partner and examine John's Smith's map of Virginia from 1812. They would discuss what they see and determine what was important to the author (John Smith) of this map. Students would come together in a whole group and discuss their team's ideas. Teacher would chart responses. Later, partners would look at a recent map of Virginia. They would notice what the map showed and determine what was important to the author of this map. Again, students would come together whole group and share their ideas. Teacher would chart responses. Finally, students would look at both maps and teacher recorded responses to compare/contrast these maps and ideas discussed. This could further evolve into a writing assignment.
Geography
High
The geography shows the pattern of population and expansion, cities and states have become what they are because of how people use the land and how the land allows people to use it. Geography and humans is a reciprocal determinism, geography allows and limits human expansion and development yet also produces cultural and civil development.
Geography and Cultural Heritage
High
One sample question to practice for the AP French exam asks students to compare the importance of cultural heritage in one's community to its importance in a French-speaking community. To develop an effective response, I would suggest that students call to mind what they have learned about Virginia's geography and how it shaped history and culture. As described in the Connections Essay, "Geography at Mount Vernon," it is difficult to separate the physical geography and the cultural landscape. The better students that understand the development of the culture of their own community and how it grew from the geography of the region, the better they will be able to identify points of similarity and differences with another culture.
Mammoth Map
Elementary
So if time, space, and money were not an issue, I would love for my kids to work together to make a huge topographical/geographical map of Virginia. Our base would be a large piece of cardboard about 12 feet long and 10 feet wide. We would first outline the shape of VA, and then draw in the locations of her mountains, hills, rivers, major lakes, Fall Line, etc. We would make a thick mixture (of something that would dry in mounds) to form her mountains and create basins for the rivers and lakes. The mixture would also be colored to show distinctions in the areas: tan for sand, dark green for mountains, differing blues for bodies of water, etc. After the completion of the topographical portion, we would paint in major cities, Colonial trails, and major current roads to compare how travel in former times evolved into our current system of roads. (Somewhere in my memory, I remember making a small map similar to this. I believe we used soap flakes and paint to achieve the effects of land changes.) It was a fun project worth repeating.
Looking at the geography of Virginia in a different Way
Elementary
I have always taught Virginia's geography separately from Virginia's history except in relation to the bodies of water being a transportation link to other places and providing safe harbor and food. This module opened my eyes to how the geography of Virginia really impacted the people of Virginia's history. I never looked at a fence as a statement of ownership, but more as just a boundary. I never really thought about why battles were fought in certain places. I have always thought there were so many Civil War battles that took place in Virginia because the Union was trying to get to the Capital of the Confederacy and the south was trying to protect it. I never really looked at the geography of these places to determine that, yes, most of these battles took place at crucial railroad junctions. When teaching about the regions, I won't skim on the History and just relate what the land looks like. I now see the Virginia's geography really relates to the regions and settlement. Now when teaching the regions, I will definitely be more conscious about relating the geography to historical thinking.
Geography? Why does it matter?
Elementary
I plan to use the information gained from all of the passages and videos to teach History in a way that brings the importance of geography into everything that has happened in the development of our great nation. I have a whole new perspective of what geography means.


Topographical Maps
Elementary
Once we have covered the different regions of Virginia, students will demonstrate their knowledge by constructing a salt dough map of Virginia. Students will replicate the shape of Virginia and include the 5 geographic regions. In each region, students will manipulate the dough to demonstrate the geographical features characteristic to that region. They will also include the fall line, 4 major rivers in the coastal plain, Chesapeake Bay and Eastern Shore. Once the map has been completed, students are asked to choose a region to research its geographical features and cultural features.
Geography in the alternative classroom
  • Middle
  • High
I have always made deliberate attempts to include geography in my teachings of history. Everything from maps to photographs of the areas to build a better understanding of the consequences surrounding historical geography. It's very important for my students specifically who are mostly lower socio-economic students. Many have never been out of the area to experience other geographies other than internet, TV, and movies. Helping them to experience other geography is vital to their understanding differences between people and development of their places and histories.
The Historical Methodological Technique of Students to Better Understand Natural Consequences of Geography on Human Events
High
As a World History Teacher and former Marine Officer, I am reminded of the importance of understanding climate, light, topography, weather and other natural phenomenon in the planning and execution of military engagements and campaigns. I would continue to emphasize in lecture and in map work how nature can be put to your advantage or disadvantage. In this way, students would be able to more effectively look at nature, much as I have done, to understand how people in history have won or lost, based on their mastery of natural features.
Virginia Geography - Classroom connections
Pre-K
I would show the students where they live in the state of Virginia with a colorful pull down may and or a digital one on a whiteboard or overhead. We would map out the classroom and where their table/chair is in relation to everything else in the room. Going on a nature walk outside and collecting natural items on the ground to share in the classroom can be revealing of the geography of the are. A pre- printed nature walk book that they can mark in to show what they viewed outside: trees, bugs, dirt ect. This will introduce them to their immediate geography providing a good foundation. They will learn to make a map of their playground and outside area to understand beside, back, front, in and over, and the nature that surrounds the school. The train track in the forest behind the school is a learning moment to explain how the train moves supplies from one part of the state to another. During circle time they can share where they have traveled in Virginia and or where their grandma and or cousin may live and show it on the map in relation to where they live.
Geography connects to history
Middle
Using the geography of VA to teach students the interactions of humans and the historical events. Why things happened when, where and how they did. Using the geography to draw conclusions and have students draw connections.
Virginia's Geography in the Classroom 4th SPED
Elementary
Geography is important to teach with history. When we teach a new topic whether it be the Civil war or Revolutionary war, etc. I will have us look at where the wars took place. We will explore the geography of the area. We will map out the following: the type of land that is there, rivers, railways, natural resources. This will help us understand why they might have fought the war in the first place. Then I would go into details about the war with the students. Also in fourth grade we talk about the 5 regions a lot. We talk about what type of land is in each region, what industries are known in that region, and what products come from that region. All of this helps us understand the geography and way of life in that specific region. I would have my students then create a map of Virginia separating the different regions. I would have them use materials found in their own environment to create the map so it represents the type of landscape there is in each region. I would have them draw out the different industries and products as well. We would keep these in our room that way we can refer back to them when we look into where each battle was located. This would help give us some background information of what or why the battle took place there. To also expand on the importance of geography I would have my students create their own housing listing. I would have my students create a house in one of the 5 regions (Tidewater, Piedmont, Blue Ridge Mountains, Valley and Ridge, and Appalachian Plateau) that is for sale. I would have them make sure to persuade the buyer to buy the house using many details including the geography of the region that it is located in (rolling hills, flat land, old rounded mountains, valley and ridges, elevated land that is flat on top). I would have them list how the geography and landscape around the house would impact the buyers lives. I would have them make sure to have at least 5 sentences to persuade the buyer to buy their house. Another idea that I have is to have my students make a brochure based off of a region that they chose to convince people to visit that specific region. I would have them list the different landscapes, activities, tourism, and recreation there is in that region. We would then share these with the class and see what region people would like to visit the most.


VA Geography in the Classroom
Elementary
Instead of briefly reviewing geography to make connections in later units of VA Studies, I will begin each unit by asking students how they think geography influenced human environment interaction. We create salt dough maps for our V.S.2 Geography unit, however we can use those same maps throughtout each unit to make connections to geography, much like the professor fom UVA mentioned in the video for the Civil War in VA. Providing students with topographic maps in small groups, guiding them with a historic KWL, and allowing students to discover human environment interactions on their own. We could use topographic maps to determine migration patterns of early Virginians and guide students towards westward expansion and discovering the Cumberland Gap in small groups. Topographical maps could also be used to determine where railraods and cities began to expand during and post Reconstruction era.
Teacher of English
High
By studying the geography of the US, my students can better understand the desires of the framers in our discussion of primary source documents like the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights.
Virginia Geography in the Classroom
Elementary
When studying the Civil War I could divide the class into groups. Each group would be given a Topographical map of Virginia that shows where battles took place. The teacher could use the SCIM-C method. Students will be asked what they notice about these sites and why do they think battles occurred there. Students share their responses which would prompt discussions and new questions. Students would then write in their response journals what they learned.
Virginia Geography in the Classroom
Elementary
It is important for students to understand each region of Virginia, and what they did at each location and why. It would be cool to set up a region day for students to "visit" different regions of Virginia with artifacts and what they did in that area to help them understand better the geography of Virginia.
Virginia Geography in the Classroom
Elementary
As we teach and learn about the settlement of Virginia, it definitely pays to look closely at WHY the different groups of settlers chose to settle where they settled. Did the landscape and environment match where they came from so there was some familiarity in the new land? How did this all affect the crops they chose to grow and sell? How did they get these crops to market? These questions need to be answered in order to help understand the thinking of those first immigrants.

As we look back at the lifestyles of the First Peoples, how did the natural surroundings and climate determine their ways of life? How did their lives function before and after the arrival of the Europeans? and how did the European affect on the geography (i.e., the use of fences, the use of more advanced tools, etc.) change the First People's way of life?

As time has marched on, how has the geography of Virginia morphed into what we see today? How have we, as humans, changed the natural geography to fit what we wanted and needed?

I think these questions can form the basis for any unit of learning of Virginia history. Students need to think about these questions as they learn the basic facts of our history and see how they can answer them.

I also think a good 3-D map of Virginia would be valuable. Many students have not traveled throughout the state and do not know that there are different landscapes, soils, and climates in different areas. They don't have an understanding of how different the Coastal Plain is from the Valley and Ridge Region. Between an 3-D map and photos/vidoes, they can gain a better understanding of the benefits and challenges of each region.
Virginia Regions
Elementary
After studying the 5 regions of Virginia including the products and industries of each, I would have my students in pairs or small groups design a 5 section (one for each region) brochure advertising each region. Included in the brochure would be a description of the geography of each region including any major bodies of water or landforms and any major cities we had studied. Students would also have to include the products and industries of each region and drawings to represent each one. They would also have to decorate each section based on the geography of that section. For example, the Blue Ridge Mountain region would have to have drawings of old rounded mountains. This project would allow the students to review the 5 regions and the descriptions of each, the major bodies of water and where each is located, the major cities and their locations, and the products and industries of each region. After everyone had completed their brochure, I would have the groups present their brochure and then display them around the room.
Geography in Ancient Civilizations
Elementary
Virginia third graders study the ancient civilizations of China, Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Mali. For all of these civilizations, geography played an important part in their development and in their lasting impact on the rest of the world, and is an integral part in the study of these civilizations. Each civilization had unique geographical features that greatly impacted their societies: Egyptians and Malians had to learn to survive in harsh desert conditions, which influenced their choice of building materials and available foods. Egyptians learned to predict the flooding of the Nile so that they would know when to plant their crops. China built the Great Wall to protect their borders from invaders. Greece developed unique city/states because of their geography: lots of mountains and hills, islands and coastline. The Romans were able to use the seven hills on which their city was founded as a way to defend and protect their city, and over time were able to expand their empire to include three continents and thousands of miles of roads. Analyzing the physical characteristics of each of these areas helps students understand life in each area, as well as the economic impacts their geography had on the human characteristics (jobs), and the economic interdependence each had with other areas.
Applying Lessons Learned
High
I need to emphasize human-environment interactions outside my World Geography class. That's for sure. This module opened up new insight into how I can present material to my history students and different ways I can aid their learning with primary and secondary sources.
Connections Between Land and People: What Shapes Our Regions
Elementary
As an introduction to this topic, fourth grade students will review the regions of Virginia. Then, they will be asked to view landscape photographs that represent each region. Students will be challenged to guess which photo was taken in which region.

Students will be divided into groups and given raised relief maps of Virginia. Students can examine the physical features of Virginia and notice how certain regions are defined by them.
Geography in the Classroom
Elementary
I love the idea of beginning a particular unit of study with a map for students to explore and create meaning using the predictions that students make. When you start with the landscape of an area (what you would see when you are looking out the window - what a great explaination that our kids can understand), you can move on from there. I remember trying to teach my students which cities were on which rivers, but NEVER did I teach why those cities were located there! Next year, I plan to show drawings of areas and maps before ever even touching on the "facts."

I also really think I underestimated the importance of the goegraphy when teaching about important battles of war that took place in Virginia. I think BEGINNING with this type of investigation is important. When students create their own hypothesis of WHY this area is an important battleground, they will take ownership over the possible answer. Instead of just teaching that certain areas are important because of railroad crossing, higher ground, or water transportation, students can come to that conclusion themselves. When history means something the kids buy in and remember.

I am amazed that something so simple did not occur to me. I think that I am always in such a hurry to cover the information, that I do not focus on the real understanding and meaning that comes from students make their own conclusions.
Colonial Adventures
High
In this lesson, I would focus on the students examining the various landscapes of Virginia and have them along with their prior knowledge, make educated guesses on what industry and why would develop in Virginia and how this impacted them having a dependence on slave labor. Then I would end by using the students' comments on how human interaction with the land could shape the varying types of industry that developed in Virginia and its ultimate fate to be the epicenter of the Civil War.
Have and Have Nots
High
I would have my students look at pictures of fences in 18/19 century Virginia and thinking of geography(spacial movement, human geography, physical geography, etc) discuss how they are barriers for the slave, poor whites to the luxuries that Virginia has to offer.
Wendy Boyd
Elementary
I would definitely try to find replicas of the original maps that John Smith created and allow the students to study them. I would have them identify what Smith thought was important as evidence by the details that he included in his map. Then, I would pass out maps of Virginia that we use today. I would have the students compare them. I would also like to find a virtual tour of the land of specific events throughout history, so the students could get an idea of why events took place in those locations. It would provide some truly rich discussions.
Virginia Geography
Middle
In my classroom, I would distribute maps similar to the 2011 Virginia map and the Virginia map describing regions and have students brainstorm what might be some of the major industries in the state. I would make sure a focus is placed on the abundance of farmland, location of highways, and waterways. Students would discuss how transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, and fishing are influenced by the landscape. We would examine the reasons why land, water, weather(climate) impact the human-environment interaction. This all ties in to students learning about the role of Virginia in the global economy and the tremendous role Virginia has had in developing the country.
Using Previous Thinking
Middle
When students get to the 7th grade, they have had Virginia history and geography. I would review this and the history of the most important landmarks in Virginia from the 1600's to the early 1900's. We would discuss why rivers were important and why the populations of those cities was larger than the more rural areas. During and following the Civil War, the U.S. Government offered land to people to settle west of the Mississippi River into the Great Plains region of the U.S. The landscape was very different from the eastern coast and settlers would need to figure out where the best places would be to live successfully. Looking at a map of the Great Plains and Midwest region states, I would ask students to mark where they believe would be the easiest places to live. After discussing the technological advances and how they could help settlers, I would ask them to draw a diagram of their own homestead and describe on the larger map where it would be located. They would have to label the parts of their homestead and the inventions that would help them survive in those geographical areas. I would have them also identify what natural resources would be important to them for settlement and have them explain why. Using the knowledge of why cities were located near the waterways in earlier history, should lead them to discover that major cities would most likely spring up around the main water sources in the Midwest region. We could discuss how the railroad could also help with transportation and trade from the interior of the U.S. Creating a visual for their interaction would hopefully help them identify the reasons that geography is important.
Great Plains Geography
Middle
I teach westward expansion and settlement of the Great Plains. I am going to have the students compare/contrast how the settlers on the Plains interacted with the Plains geography with how the Plains Tribes did so.
Virginia Geography and the Battle of Yorktown
Elementary
Fourth grade teachers and their students are fortunate that Geography is the focus of the first unit in the Virginia Studies curriculum. When students learn about the Battle of Yorktown, generally taught around the midpoint of the school year, they have another great opportunity to see the impact of Virginia’s geography on Virginia history (not to mention U.S. history and world history).
A teacher should emphasize that British General Cornwallis made a fatal error by not having a complete grasp of Virginia geography. By choosing to position his troops close to the tip of the peninsula surrounded by the York River, the James River, and the Chesapeake Bay, he inadvertently placed his army in trap. Washington and Rochambeau’s troops attacked his position from land while a possible escape via water would have met strong resistance from the French fleet. Cornwallis’s only plausible option was surrender.
When students are learning about Yorktown and the end of the Revolutionary War, they should definitely have access to maps of the Tidewater region so they can clearly see the locations of Yorktown on the peninsula, the York and James Rivers, and the Chesapeake. After doing a little bit of homework, the teacher could draw a map on class whiteboard, labeling the important the geographic sites and using blue and red markers to indicate positions of the American army, the British army, the French army, and the French navy. I’ve drawn many rough sketches of troop positions at Yorktown on my board over the years and it’s always rewarding to observe students copying my map without being instructed to do so.
Third Grade Teacher
Elementary
At the third grade level, I would put students in groups and have them create a poster on large paper of a different geographical contribution, such as mountains, lakes, rivers, trees, etc. They would draw and color. They will research the natural resource and give examples of how the geography was used by the colonists. For example, trees provided wood. The wood was used to build fences and homes. It was also used to make spears and weapons. Each group would share their posters when they were finished. The posters would be displayed in the classroom.
3rd grade teacher Smyth County
Elementary
Maps could be used for the jumping off point in the in-depth study of our state. Focus on the author 's view and audience would give a window into that specific time frame. This module has given me incentive to begin with the geography of an evident before delving into the event itself.
The Geography of Virginia
High
In this lesson I will take each of the five themes of geography; place, location, human environment interaction, movement and region and place these concepts in relation to Virginia. I would have students create maps of Virginia based on their understanding of these concepts. I would have students create a power point and title five slides, one for each theme and then place examples of the theme on the slide.
How History is Affected by Geography (Tiffany Smith)
Elementary
"Places are the stages on which events unfold, and those events are always shaped in some way by physical and human geography." I love this quote from the essay. I always try to include some virtual field trips into my classroom (since the time and money isn't there for the real thing) - but I understand the importance of that so much more now. Allowing the kids to SEE these places (even if it is virtually) is critically important to their understanding of Virginia. I think our curriculum does a good job of having us start with and focus on the regions and waterways and NOW I understand why we began there. I don't think I ever really thought of it that way when we went back later and mentioned in passing the rivers and railroads when talking about the wars, or slavery, or settlements.
VA Geography
High
I will have students compare maps as Virginia evolves over time. Allow students to examine John Smith map and research different native tribes. Compare that map to Virginia map a few decades after, what happened to the natives? Pose the question why did so many Civil War Battles take place in Virginia? Brainstorm answers and have students locate battles and try to determine the goal or purpose of each battle. Display the growth and changes from 17th century to present day.
How did geography impact the growth of Virginia?
High
As my World Geography students study the geography of Virginia, we will focus on how the waterways impacted the growth of cities, trade, transportation, and industrialization.
VA Geography Skills
Elementary
I would start out with a K-W-L chart and have students fill that in as we study the geographic unit in VA Studies. As we discuss the geographic features and landscape of each region, students will be asked to use their higher level historical thinking skills. I would also like to introduce the unit with maybe some Lincoln Logs or popsicle sticks, so that the students could work in coop-learning groups, and build their 'fences' in the classroom. In doing this, the students would be guided with reasons for their 'fences' and be able relate to the native people, early settlers, colonists, plantation owners, and enslaved African Americans that may have used their 'fences'. Students may collaborate on why they chose the location in the room, their built environment, cultural landscapes (if they'd like to add barns, home, places of worship). I would also use the primary sources of John Smith's map for each student to examine and compare and contrast maps of VA as it changed over the 400 year period. Students will be given a blank VA map, play-dough, and yarn to create their own VA regions (including their physical characteristics for land and water features. I did this last year, and my students loved it. They used the play-dough to create the physical features for each regions and large bodies of water. The yarn represented our rivers. As we enter the Civil War unit, I would like for each student to examine the railroad junctions, their location, and their importance with the placement of the battles in VA and maybe add that to our maps.
Virginia Geography
Elementary
Pose the question...Does the Geography of Virginia Unite or Divide Us? Study the geography of VA by answering the following supporting questions: 1. How do physical features differ across VA? 2. How do water features influence VA? 3. How does location impact life where people live, work, and travel in Virginia? To answer these questions the students will look at primary resources such as maps (current and from the past) and videos of Virginia's regions, maps/images/and information sources about VA's waterways. The students will explore these primary resources in small groups or pairs and formulate answers to the provided questions, then come together for class discussions and group discussions about the resources.
Virginia Geography
Elementary
I will simply not look at maps of the past in the same way as before. In look at John Smith's map, I would never have considered thinking about what was important to him from his map. It brings a whole new light to looking at maps. We take out 4th graders to Jamestown each year (although we missed it this year) and after this lesson on Virginia's geography, my after questions and assignments for them would focus a lot more on thinking about the geography of Jamestown and how that was important-we study some of the reasons, but in visiting Jamestown in person, we can observe so much more. I would have my students look at maps of Jamestown before and after our trip and see how our thoughts change.
Holly Natalie
High
There are many applications that I would use in my classroom. I teach U.S. and VA History so there are a number of elements of Virginia geography that I plan on using. First, I would definitely use a couple different maps to represent Jamestown. I would use a map that showed the European perspective of the settlement and then another map to show the Powhatan point of view. Within this lesson, I would also include the geography of Jamestown and have the students analyze the challenges that the English had in adapting to their environment. Next, I would use Virginia geography to examine some of the critical battles within the Revolutionary War. Particularly, one of the focuses would be on the significance of the Chesapeake Bay. Lastly, I would examine the slave rebellion of Nat Turner and what role Virginia geography had on his failure.
Geographical Determination
High
I could start with a physical map that showed only the natural environment and resources. Then ask students to determine where people would live, and why. Their explanations would help them to understand their local and regional history, based on geography.
How I would use historical thinking in my Civics classroom.
Middle
I would love to use geography in my Civics classroom to tell more about the founding fathers we discuss in our unit on founding documents and principles. Jefferson has his Palladio inspired home on the top of the "little mountain" of Monticello overlooking his property and the landscape of the wild Blue Ridge Mountains. It speaks to Jefferson's image as America as a nation of farmers in the frontier. The location of his home, on the mountain rather than near the Rivanna River, also shows Jefferson's focus on image and ideal at the expense of practicality. Madison's Montpelier, while impressive in itself, is located on flatter land reflecting the more modest and pragmatic person who lives there. The modesty is reflected further in the cemetery with no stones or markers (until added later). Washington's home on the Potomac at Mount Vernon with its direct line of transit speaks to a leader who focused on efficiency. His extensive work on creating a more efficient farm with crop rotations, diversification and newer technologies of the era for milling and harvesting also show these tendencies.

There is also the legacy of slavery at these sites that is now, finally being brought to attention. For centuries the slave quarters were left to ruin or torn down while the main houses were preserved or restored. Through much of the 20th Century the main houses served as tourist attractions with the focus on those founding fathers and an asterisk on the tour about slavery. Starting in the late 1980's historians began opening up discussion and confronting the legacy of slavery on these sites by reconstructing the cabins and performing archaeological digs to find out where and how enslaved persons lived on these plantations.

What later generations choose to preserve of a landscape or historic site also tells you a lot about what they value or, in the case of slave quarters at the homes of the founding fathers, what they are not comfortable talking about.

Follow the Road
Elementary
I think for an introduction to Virginia geography we need to start with our place in the Commonwealth. We can look at the county map to observe where the roads are located and discuss why the roads are located where they are. In our local terrain it will be obvious why the roads traveled the way they did. Specifically, we can look at the ways you can get to our elementary school and think about why one way was the historical path and what makes it possible to be on the path we have now.
How does geography affect the economy and settlement of a region?
Elementary
I would begin by asking students what kind of jobs existed during the colonial period of Virginia. I would write these answers on the board. We would clarify what each job entailed and record key words next to each. We would then discuss what resources and type of geography were required for the jobs. Next, we would use a map of Virginia and determine what region was most beneficial to settle in for success in such job. (Students would have prior knowledge about the geography of each region.)
English 11
High
As an English teacher, I will try to be more conscious of the landscape behind the text. During the introduction of the text, I will incorporate a map to indicate where the story is located. We live on the beautiful New River in the rural mountains and near the Appalachian Trail. I often discuss and mention these facts as we work through the literature. We talk about the preservation of our dialect due to the years of our geographical isolation.
VA Geography In 6th Grade USII
Middle
While looking through the different resources, I learned a great deal about Virginia History. I liked how the UVA Historian Edward Ayers used geography to discuss the battles of the Civil War.

I could use geography in my classroom to help students learn why specific events occured in certain locations. When teaching about Westward Migration, I could use the geography of Virginia to help students better understand why Virginia decided to leave their home state; overcrowding and over farming.

I might also use it to discuss the Industrialization in Virginia. Why did Richmond grow so large? What made other cities like Fredericksburg become so populated? How did the geography effect the settlement of each city? I would also discuss with my students the importance of the coal mines in Virginia and how the they impacted the Industrialization of Virginia.
Role of Geography in Virginia Studies
Elementary
In fourth grade our Social Studies consists of Virginia Studies- the people, geography, and historical contributions of Virginia. Our first unit is the “Five Geographical Regions of Virginia”. Each year I teach the specific landforms/ water features of the regions, along with products/ industries found in those regions. We use “foldables” and other hands-on activities to study each region. After this unit I usually only focus on geography when reviewing the regions. Now, when I am teaching other units, I will focus more on the role of geography in that particular time period. Using maps as resources when we study Jamestown and life in the colonies will give a more in depth look at the colonists’ dependence on the environment. I will also allow for more time to analyze the role of Virginia’s geography in history (the American Revolution, the Civil War) and its contributions to Virginia’s economy. Using maps and other resources in all units will help students get more of an understanding of the integral role geography has played throughout history.
The Importance of Geography
Elementary
Being in the Valley and Ridge region, many of our students have very little experience with traveling to the other four regions of Virginia. Since I was raised primarily in the Tidewater region, I tell them stories and show them photographs of important locations there. Prior to COVID-19, we took our students on an extensive field trip where we traveled to Monticello, Williamsburg, Virginia Beach, Yorktown, and Jamestown to allow them to see the places that they have studied. For many of them, it was the first experience that they have had with the ocean. I will continue to allow students to complete the virtual tours offered online of historical landmarks, but I think I may compile additional resources such as speakers from the other regions and higher education institutions to present information to them. I would also like to have them construct an interactive map that they can add information to as they gain new knowledge throughout the year, perhaps an electronic portfolio of the regions or a project that they can choose what finished product to complete and help create their own rubric. I think I may have them create a map within the first week of instruction with what prior knowledge that they have and compare it with their final product to determine what they have learned about Virginia geography throughout the course.
Virginia Geography through Map Making
Elementary
I will teach Virginia Geography in my art classes by instruction in topography or map making. Students will create a map of Virginia from written and oral accounts of Virginia's physical features, regions, and history.

Upon completion of their maps we will compare and contrast our maps with an actual accurate map of Virginia.
Instructional Designer
Elementary
Geography plays a primary role in how people from the past and people from today live. The landscapes and culture of the people provide the foundation for what can be done to erect a community of homes and citizens. Cultural landscapes as well as physical landscapes source how human interaction takes place and how those areas interact outside of their region.
John Smith Map
Elementary
I think it would be interesting to use John Smith's map that highlights where different Native tribes lived. Students could observe the map on a SMARTBoard while having their own personal copies for closer inspection. Students would locate the names of each Indian tribe and write 3-5 facts about each tribe by using a Chrome book to conduct further research on each tribe. That information does connect to a Virginia Studies basic standard on tribes, but the map and independent study not only teaches research skills, but also expounds on a basic standard and allows for students to learn more and go above the standard.
Visiting Jamestown through a geographical view
Elementary
Jamestown is one of the first places that students learn about when they learn about the new world.
I would take the students on a field trip to Jamestown. Before I do that, I would prepare them for what they will see. First, I would show a picture of a place in Jamestown, perhaps the first church. I would have the students work in small groups to design a landscape that would accompany the location. The students would label and explain their reasoning for the layout. Then I would show an actual landscape drawing and they could compare theirs to the real one and then make changes to theirs after learning more about it.
I would help the students with the understanding of the built environment and the cultural landscape.
I would share an aerial view of Jamestown from the colonial perspective; technology would help with skipping back through time. The students would write about what they notice. I would use a Think-Pair-Share activity for this.
I would allow the students to use their knowledge of what they have learned about the people and places of Jamestown to create a map of early Jamestown. We would discuss the map and why we think the early settlers did what they did and what they saw.
Finally, we would visit Jamestown. Armed with a lot of background knowledge of Jamestown, the students would walk around, look at, sketch landscapes, think how the early settlers thought, and discuss what they have learned and whether the land is still the same and how it has changed due to human interactions.
The students would journal their findings and they would be compiled into a classroom book for reference.
Virginia Geography
Elementary
Teaching a clear understanding of Virginia's landscapes (specific regions) and waterways is one of the earlier lessons in our school year. Students brainstorm about who they know personally that live in different areas of Virginia (grandma lives in Roanoke, etc.) We discuss what observations students have made about these different areas as well as the area we live in. I use a graphic organizer to list the attributes in the specific regions of Virginia. It is a great opener to my lesson and helps us as a class fill in all the additional specifics to each region. As we further explore the regions and waterways of Virginia, students participate in a river comparison exercise. The students are divided into groups and research one specific Virginia river (York, Jamestown, Potomac, etc.) The Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean are also assigned to a group. Once students have researched location, surrounding cities, value of the waterway we present our findings and compare and contrast each waterway and its significance. I have found that this helps students understand the geographical location and the contributions of these waterways to Virginia history quite well. It further gets them thinking about the decisions early Virginians make based on access to water and its resources.
Finding your way through geography
Elementary
One line that stuck with me from the essay was "Places are stages on which events unfold..." I think one of the crucial elements for teaching young students about geography is making it relatable to their lives. I'd like to ask my students to take a journey with me. I'll ask them to start at home, their geographic center. I'd ask them to describe the features of their home and what it is that makes it 'home'. 'Home' is as much a cultural landscape that determines how students will view the remainders of their lives as it is a geographic place. I want to start their to challenge students to think beyond the 'place' to all of the small interconnected intricacies that make a house a home. Likewise, I want them to use this skill of moving from the close present place to help them learn to better appreciate how the place influences the way in which people interpret geography beyond their 'geographic center'. I want students to be able to better comprehend how a river running through their town has influenced the development of their town from past to present. I want students to the miners in their families have played a much more important role in the cultural landscape of their town and region than they may have previously realized because they are part of a historical tradition that shaped the geography, culture, and transportation in meaningful ways. Ultimately I want my students to understand that geography is much more than a stagnant concept, not just merely the places we see, but more importantly, an intersection point of human living, natural landforms, living and non-living organisms within a region, built environments, and cultural landscapes that have worked together to create regions in Virginia that have given each region a unique feel just as each 'home' my students come from is uniquely theirs.
Apply Virginia Geography
Middle
I can use Virginia Geography to show immigration movements in Virginia, especially my own part.
Va. Geography can be applied to the economy, coal in my region to ports in Hampton Roads that the coal from my area goes to.
The physical geography impacts the economy and population distribution greatly.
The human geography of Virginia is interesting in that it is often much different in Northern and on the East Coast areas than the Western regions. Even the accents vary.
How Geography shapes History and our views
High
I think it is important to start out with a geography lesson much like the one we just went through, in order to show students how important geography is and how it shapes our history and understanding. I would start with a KWL to gather what students know about geography and what they want to learn. This gives them the opportunity to discuss with their peers before breaking into groups. A group activity giving each group a different types of geography with examples of how they influence our views on history will be included with each station. Students will fill in their learn on their KWL and create poster to present to the class. Going forward geography will be a guiding portion of our lessons. One of the overarching themes for each unit will be how geography influenced that portion of history and it will be a written test question.
Reader’s Theater
Elementary
In an effort to combine both history lesson and fluency activity, I would choose to do a readers theater focusing on a particular event in VA history (I.e. the civil war) where the students read their parts of a play, which helps improve fluency as well as help them to learn how the geography plays an important role during the event.
4th Grade Teacher
Elementary
Teaching geography is not just about shading and labeling maps that students will glue into their notebooks. I will use primary source material and current Google images to provoke discussions about the geography of Virginia. I will ask questions to get students to think. Geography is not a unit of study that we get through. Now, I feel that it should be incorporated into every unit as a springboard into the content. When talking about Native Americans we need to discuss geography. Growth of towns and cities, the emergence of industries, and battle locations all begin with the geography of the land. This will help paint a more complete picture for students instead of being a bunch of names, dates, and details.
Economics of Virginia based on Geography
High
Using topographic and geographic maps of Virginia in a particular place and time period to discuss how and why a particular area has developed would enable students to understand why certain types of industries and culture have developed there and the impact of this development on the region and the state as a whole.
Virginia Geography
High
I will incorporate more maps in the study of Virginia. This includes maps during the early colonial period and the Civil War. We will analyze the maps and look for connections between geography and human interaction. I will also incorporate more maps in other history topics.
Why did Europeans come to North America?
Elementary
Since I teach US History to 1865, one of the first topics we study is the seven continents and since geography helps us understand history much better I could have students explore and analyze the physical and cultural geography of the European continent. I would pose the question as to why were Europeans exploring, why were they not satisfied with just staying in Europe? Obviously in studying the physical geography they would find that Europe was over crowded and had depleted much of their natural resources. It would be great to have them analyze maps of the continent and also provide other primary sources that would show the cultural differences of people living there. (newspaper drawings of housing or written accounts of those who were poor etc.)
Map perspective
High
I enjoyed the analysis of the English map drawn by John Smith. While I have seen that image many times I never took the time to analyze why it was constructed the way that it was. I think that is a great opportunity to discuss perspective with my students. While Britain looked at us from their perspective ours would be very different. Understanding the differences in those opinions is important to historical thinking.
Teaching Applications
Middle
I like the idea of using maps to explain historic events and development. It could be interesting to have students compare a current map of states in the Southwest with a historical map. Hopefully students could see why cities and towns developed where they did based on looking at railways. Students could then use this as a jumping off point for discussing the importance of transportation in the past and in the present.
Another idea is to compare and contrast the locations of major battles in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Students could see how these places may relate to each other and why.
Another interesting research assignment could be to compare the ways the Chesapeake Bay was economically important in the Colonial days and now in the present.
Virginia Regions
High
I think for my visual learners, I would create a “simulated” Virginia. At the far eastern edge of the room I would put some fancy pillows on the seats, maybe some gold coins(chocolate), on each desk. Towards the center of the room I would have regular classroom desks, and on the far western edge of the classroom I would have no desks, just taped off seating positions. As the room starts to fill, students will start to complain about not getting the fancy seats. The latecomers will be on the floor. After discussing how unfair this would be, we can create a map of Virginia and discuss its topography and its effect, culturally and economically.
Music Education
High
In the music world, we can look at the differentiation of music that is played in different settlements across the state. Different European cultures who settled in different geographical parts of the state, brought with them different types of music. We can then compare the styles of music, and see how they vary depending on their geographical region.
What can we do with a river?
High
In my colonial unit, I will be adding an activity were the students act as explorers, choosing any river on the East coast and creating a map, a reason to create a settlement in a specific location, adding the things that would make their town a unique place, incorporating the river and other geographic features. This will allow them to understand the mind of the colonial explorer better, use their understanding of the geography in the creation of their towns, and demonstrate their understanding of how societies developed. Their product would be a map of their location, highlighting different features such as factories, farms, streets, hills. Once they have completed their made up maps, they will be able to better analyse maps from other time periods to help them understand history through Geography.
Geography
High
Much of this is stuff I was already aware of, but it was interesting nonetheless. William Cronon's "Changes in the Land" came to mind as I read through some of the materials. Native Americans had a more usufruct-based view of land use and resource extraction, while European-Americans focused more on absolute extraction--as noted in your sources on coal and the logging of all the old-growth timber in Dismal Swamp. I'd likely look at pairing some of the sources contrasting these 2 approaches with some pieces on the environmental movement's genesis from late 19th century to now.
Virginia Geography
High
I would give students a map of all 5 Geographic regions in Virginia. I would have them talk about what type of Economies do they believe each region would have based on the map. I also would have the students discuss how Geography and population demographics have change the political landscape of Virginia
Field Trip!
Middle
I always start our learning units with geography, completion of maps starting with the USA, then all states, after that Virginia, its regions, economy, and features. I would love to take them to Mount Vernon this year since we are so close and hold a scavenger hunt to locate the features we'd discussed in class.
Mental Map Exercise
Middle
Our own geographic understanding within our communities often involves "mental maps". After becoming comfortable and knowledgeable of the layout of the community, one does not need a GPS to navigate around one's hometown, county, and quite possibly the route in which one takes to their favorite vacation destination. Mental maps are ever expanding based on our interaction with the environment around us.

The goal of this exercise is to pre-assess students' mental maps where they label names of streets, buildings, and landmarks of the community in which they live. After exposure for a couple days and study of various maps of the community, you can again assess the students' mental maps and see the growth.
Changing Maps in Virginia's Geography
High
In my World Geography, I do devote some time to Virginia Geography and the regions of our state. I found it very interesting, however, to consider the differences between the types of things listed on early colonial maps compared to modern maps of the state. I would like for my students to apply what we learned in the first module about historical thinking, and compare these colonial and modern maps. For example, colonial maps often focused on features of the landscape, rivers, flora and fauna, presence of Native Americans, etc. Colonial maps list more small towns. Modern maps focus on highways and interstates, and list mainly larger cities. I would like for my students to think historically to brainstorm ideas for the reasons for these differences.
Virginia's Geography Lesson
Elementary
Geography is such a hard concept for students in my Virginia Studies class to retain. Students often struggle with remember the characteristics of Virginia's regions and the important aspects of the four major rivers. Giving students more opportunities to explore the geography of Virginia would impact the student's understanding and retention of characteristics of Virginia's geography, both early and present. Ideas to implement in the classroom -1. Look at early maps of Virginia (John Smith or pre 1700s) compare/contrast the maps of early Virginia and maps of present day Virginia. Have students identify what is significant in each map. 2. Discover pictures of landscapes from different regions of Virginia. Identify what each region's characteristics say about the way of life in each region. 3. Rivers and fall line connection. Examine the 4 major rivers of Virginia. Identify major cities found on those rivers. Explain how the Fall line contributed to the creation of Virginia's major cities and influenced their locations. 4. Explore primary sources from early settlers and American Indians that describe how the land once was and how the land changed after the arrival of European settlers. What did the arrival of European settlers mean for the geography of early Virginia?
Virginia Geography around the Classroom
Elementary
One way that I can apply Virginia geography to my classroom is to use a somewhat role play activity where the students and I can take small steps to decorate our classroom in ways that resemble Virginia geographical regions. Steps that we could take would include labeling sides of our classroom with important Virginia areas such as Suffolk, Alexandria and Fredericksburg. In addition, we could use construction paper to label specific rivers or wildlife areas that we learned when discussing these locations and landscapes. This activity can help students to be creative in decorating the classroom but to also recall important geographical locations to signify importance.
Virginia Geography
High
Providing a connection to geography would provide more context to decisions and events, particularly when it comes to location and geographic movement, especially when examining military conflicts and settlement locations. This could even expand beyond just Virginia to provide a more developed of understanding interstate differences (i.e. Mount Vernon Conference/Gibbons v. Ogden). In addition, a regional examination of Virginia can dig into the different examples of the 'tragedy of commons' due to particular resources, and this could help contextualize policies that came as a result.
Virginia Geography in the Classroom
High
I will not only teach about the landforms and groups on the map, I will have students to incorporate thinking skills to analyze what the author's point of view may have been and what they may have felt was important to provide context. I can use the physiographic map of Virginia if I have middle school students in my class as it is a requirement for them to know. With it, we will analyze the 5 regions and what might've attracted early people/ settlers to those regions as well as why people live/move to them now.
Geography in the Classroom
Middle
Virginia Geography itself isn't as applicable to my current teaching assignment(I teach U.S. II.) However, what is applicable is the general importance of using geography to help understand history. One brief example of this application is field trip to Gettysburg that I once organized when I taught U.S. I. Taking my students the "High Water Mark", looking over that expanse of farmland between Cemetary Ridge and Seminary Ridge illuminated the importance of the high ground in a way that no in-class lesson ever could.
Space and place
Elementary
This module has reminded me how important the land and its geographical resources are to an area. I plan to integrate more geography into my lessons as we study different subjects. It's important for students to understand that not only does the land shape the way people live but people shape and this is an important aspect of history.
Use Maps to help show more details of an event
High
I will use maps of battles and of migration patterns of civilizations and have the students analyze them to figure out why they went the way they did. I will also use imagery and maps to help give more background details and help further the students understanding of a certain event, geographical location or of a civilization.
CAROLYNH
Elementary
I will apply Virginia Geography to my classroom by creating visible learning. Students should have an understanding of the landscape of what they would see when looking out a window. But, they should have an understanding of physical components, rivers, and transportation of the places they are learning about. The essay gave me a clear picture of Mount Vernon in that time period but also a visual of the land, rivers, human interaction and transportation in that time period. It connected the past to the present by emphasizing the importance of the naming of Washington D.C. I can see this as a benefit to the students by giving them a deeper understanding of their learning.
Teacher
High
Geography is important no matter what history you teach. When teaching VA history I would emphasize the importance of geography on everything from economics and government to settlement patterns. It is important that student understand the geography of VA since it had, and still has, such a big impact on the history of the commonwealth.
Geographical Impacts during the Civil War
Elementary
There are geographical impacts that happened during the Civil War that both sides tried to use to win battles. The first way was to control the railway to prevent the transportation of supplies and soldiers. The second way was to gain the higher ground during battles. The higher ground provided an importan strategic advantage. They could control the land and have better protection from the other side. The final way was the control on rivers. Rivers were another way to transport supplies and soldiers. They also controled the port of the city where they are located.
Geography
Middle
Virginia has diverse geography and depending upon where you might wish to settle would of course make a difference in your building. Luckily there are many rivers in Virginia some small some larger. All of which would ad farming, transportation and crops grown. I am partial in thinking we have one of the top beautiful diverse area in the US. I am sure our ancestors were intelligent enough to find the most significant area for their needs. The zig-zag fencing could have been used many areas. Using the expanse of woodland that would provide the materials
.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.
Captain John Smith's 1612 Map versus Present-Day Map of Virginia
Elementary
I am excited to teach tomorrow a replica of what I saw in the video of the teacher letting students do map work to draw their own conclusions about items they found on the maps. My students have never experienced anything like this in my classroom and I look forward to the opportunity to share my experience with them and have them reflect on their learnings.
Geography shaping history
High
This is such an amazing idea beyond the normal map activity. To have high school students in VA take the VA history they know and the geography of a state they know and describe how history was influenced sounds like a great way to introduce this type of instruction in a history classroom.
Virginia Geogrpahy
Elementary
We will do much more with maps than we do now. I think including maps of all different subjects will help 4th graders just as it has helped me in this module. We can include maps of the tribes when we teach Indians rather than just giving them the tribes and the regions with a map of that, we can go much deeper. We can give them maps of railroads to help them understand the battles better during the civil war. We can find maps of plantations during slavery that will allow the students to understand better their paths while escaping on the Underground Railroad. We can do more field work and compare maps and pictures of Richmond then to Richmond now.
Virginia Geography
Elementary
This module caused me to rethink the way I have been teaching history. The video pointed out what I had known, but had somehow missed the significance - that geography is the foundation of most historical events. My history units will now be rewritten so that I teach the geography of the event/place BEFORE I begin teaching the history and/or significance of the event/place.
The Great Wagon Road
Elementary
During the American Indian Unit introduce the students to the Great Wagon Road through maps and resources. Explain the importance of the road to the American Indians. Continue to incorporate the Great Wagon Road throughout the various units in Virginia Studies. When the Germans and Scots-Irish migrate to the Shenandoah Valley bring the Great Wagon up again. Is it still there? How was it used? Use raised relief maps to show students Appalachian Mountains. How would settlers migrate west through the mountains. Hopefully they discover the Cumberland Gap. How was the road important during the Civil War? Examine and discuss how the road has changed and its transportation importance in the 21st century. Provide students with road maps of Virginia to explore
Human-Environment Interactions/Native Americans
Elementary
After learning about the basic geography of Virginia, students can discuss how the Native Americans interacted with and adapted to the environment. We can use primary source (drawings) to analyze how and why the Native Americans used the resources in the region of Virginia in which they lived.
Geography Connections
Elementary
I really like the idea of starting with the geography of the land in relation to history itself. In elementary, we separately teach the regions from the history. I'd like to find some way to better tie in the regions with the history and why the geography itself is so important the the history of Virginia. Incorporating the 'why' we started where we did in relation to using maps and diagrams may help them better understand the history of their state. I like the idea of using the older maps as resources to teach them about Lake Drummond and the Dismal Swamp and tie it into the history itself.
Virginia Geography
Adult Education
Often times, when we think historically . . . we neglect to think geographically. This lesson reminded me to incorporate a "sense of place" into my lessons. We can't talk about history without including geography. We must remind our students of "location" - this lesson has reminded me to include both physical, and human geography into my lessons. The cultural landscape of Virginia is so unique and the human/environmental connection is strong, valid, and will teach us more about history than we ever thought possible.
Special Education Teacher
Elementary
I will provide students with maps from yesterday and today. The maps will be juxtaposed so that students can make comparisons and differences. The runaway advertisements for a person escaping slavery is a good primary source that includes specifics about people's knowledge of the land and how that knowledge can help or hinder him or her journey to freedom. The naming of the nation's capital is indicative of the decision makers reverence for George Washington. Naming of places and water features can help students analyze the values that decision makers had on various people.
Cultural Landscape Field Trip to Colonial Williamsburg
Elementary
In the month of December, we are planning to take a grade level wide field trip to Colonial Williamsburg to reinforce our unit on colonial times. This will be a perfect opportunity for students to experience first hand the impact of Virginia's geography on colonial people and their lives.
Roman Empire
High
I can apply what I've learned about Virginia Geography when teaching about the Roman Empire. I can have students complete a map of the Italian/Mediterranean region and identify cities, mountain ranges, rivers, oceans, etc. We can discuss the region in terms of the Five Themes of Geography and consider whether Rome's location was an advantage or disadvantage and why. Then students would read an excerpt (and answer questions) from Cicero who discussed the advantages of Rome's location. Students can work together gathering info on how Rome's location gave the people access to food, water, rich farmland, transportation and trade (sea and over-land). Eventually students will see that the Roman Empire's location/geography enabled it to thrive and expand, and students can continue to talk about how that expansion brought with it problems and changes such as the use of slaves, civil wars, fall of the republic, and so on.
Virginia's Geography
Elementary
Have the students working in groups of two or three and pass out maps of Virginia. One map that shows the physical features of Virginia and one that shows the 5 regions. Have the students examine the maps. Ask guiding questions like what do you know about VA's features. Making sure to point out each important feature. Then do the same with the five regions and their geography. Eventually student will be able to KWL chart about Va's geographic features and regions and then we can share and discuss as a class.
This Is My State: Virginia
Elementary
Just like The Virginia Trekkers do, the best way to understand the geography of a place is to go there. I'd start my unit off with a field trip to Jamestown in the Tidewater region to give them a sense of where the geography and people intersected as folks came over to the new world. Assignment: you just got off the ship with your family, set up house. Tell me: what do you need? How will you get what you need? How will you keep what you need? (The students will answer these same questions as we go through each region of Virginia)
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.
Native Americans and Virginia Geography
Elementary
In second grade we learn all about the Native Americans. We talk about the Eastern Woodlands (Powhatans), Pueblo, and Lakota Indians. Every week we learn about one tribe during the month of November. We learn about the locations of each tribe and the geography of these areas. As we move along, we also talk about habitats and the animals that live in these different areas. We talk about climate and weather. As we begin to understand the concepts of the location of each tribe, we begin to understand the culture of the different tribes. We look at pictures of homes where the tribes lived, the clothes they wore, and the occupations they had.
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.
Virginia Geography Lesson
Middle
I would apply this activity in my classroom with an exciting activity looking at a variety of state maps like the one of Virginia used in this module. Five different state maps that include show the various landscapes, climate and topography. With students in small groups of 3 or 4, I would have them examine each of the maps and try and determine what types of resources in each state and where people are distributed throughout the states. This would be a great activity to get students thinking about the connections between the geography an region and its history and people.
Geography in the 7th grade classroom
Middle
I always begin the year with a unit on basic geography with my 7th graders. After this lesson, I will try to go a little bit deeper. We will discuss how and why settlements, counties, states were first settled. We will analyze the role Virginia played in the Civil War based on its location and history. During our industrial unit, we will determine why major industrial centers were built up in the locations they were built up in.
Where We Are is Who We Are!
Elementary
Geography has played a role in where societies begin since Ancient Egypt and China. The geography of Virginia is as much a part of our history as the Mother of Presidents itself. The original colony of Jamestown may not have been the "ideal" place to start a new society, but the natural waterways and resources of Virginia provided a wealth of opportunity for its first settlers as well as its present day populations. Utilizing the transportation provided in the early 1600s has lead us straight in the new wave of the 21st Century. Our original waterways allowed for the movement of many people and products for hundred of years and the modern day shipyards provide transportation for thousands today. Virginia was blessed in some ways, but the hard working folks who developed it have found ways to use it beyond their wildest dreams!
How are ancient and colonial Virginia civilizations similar?
Elementary
We would compare and contrast the needs of the ancient river civilizations (Nile, Euphrates-Tigris, Huang He and Yangtze, Ganges and Brahmaputra) with the needs of the colonists and the native people groups that depended upon them (Rappahannock, Potomac, James, York and Shenandoah using maps, pictures and as many primary sources that we can glean. Students will understand how life is and was tied to rivers.
Geography
Elementary
Geography can be so easily tied to present and past origins of history. Students in Virginia must know valuable resources (such as coal and wood) and how geography plays a huge role in acquiring those resources. My students take for granted how rich in history, Virginia is. I would like for them to be able to understand why the regions are considered regions and what geographical similarities make them regions. Understanding the importance of travel and trade near water is also an important lesson for my students.
Geography
High
The geography of Virginia, daily impacts life here in SWVA. When teaching about our forefathers founding the Congressional College, we use Geography to show the Congressional District 9, about the population disparity. When we work on the Industrial Revolution, and the Gilded Age, we show the Coal Mines, and how this area relates to Child Labor, and FDR's 100 Day Programs around the area such as the TVA. etc. Geography is a great tool for students, because it's a physical aspect that they can relate to one of their perceivable senses. I enjoy the physical geography of Virginia. This also helps students in rural areas, who are more pro hunting, and fishing so they can relate to the geography.
Geography
High
The geography of Virginia, daily impacts life here in SWVA. When teaching about our forefathers founding the Congressional College, we use Geography to show the Congressional District 9, about the population disparity. When we work on the Industrial Revolution, and the Gilded Age, we show the Coal Mines, and how this area relates to Child Labor, and FDR's 100 Day Programs around the area such as the TVA. etc. Geography is a great tool for students, because it's a physical aspect that they can relate to one of their perceivable senses. I enjoy the physical geography of Virginia. This also helps students in rural areas, who are more pro hunting, and fishing so they can relate to the geography.
How can I Get What Others Have?
Elementary
Using maps of the state’s geographical outlines and its resources, allow students to create trading paths between the ocean and the western side of the state to share in the vast resources of VA.
4th Grade Teacher
Elementary
Showing a relevant picture before teaching a lesson allows students to think about a topic before more information about it/something that relates to it is taught. It was interesting for me to consider what I already knew about fences before reading the other resources. The preview allowed me to start with what I knew and after reading, it's importance evolved into something much greater. My perspective about fences broadened as I saw them as a small part of a much larger picture. I could see this being very useful for my students, as they will feel empowered by sharing their knowledge, but intrigued as their understandings evolve.
Virginia’s Regions
Elementary
Students can make a KWL chart about one of the regions. The students can then share with a partner. After they share with a partner then they could make a Venn Diagram with differences and similarities.
Virginia’s Regions
Elementary
Students can make a KWL chart about one of the regions. The students can then share with a partner. After they share with a partner then they could make a Venn Diagram with differences and similarities.
Pre-Revolutionary War and Revolutionary War Eras
Elementary
I will have my students create a diary in which they are George Washington (living in the Piedmont region), writing to his family in another region of Virginia. He can explain to them the geography of the land, the cultural differences of those who live there, and reasons this area was chosen as a site for the mansion, including the importance of the Potomac River.
Teacher
High
If I taught American history, we could map the various regions of Virginia virtually and "tour" these places. By taking virtual field trips, students could identify the pros and cons of living in the Piedmont versus the Coastal Plain. Students could then do a gallery walk or a socratic seminar to determine which areas would have been the best regions to settle from the most advantageous to least.
Land-Human Interactions
Middle
What I found most helpful about this module is the idea of beginning history units with maps and a discussion of geograhy before delving into the content. As expressed by Ed Ayers, understanding where certain geographic features are located (for example, Richmond falls, rivers, high ground) helps students understand they "whys" of human behavior (for example, why Civil War battles were fought where they were). Looking at John Smith's 1612 map of Virginia and where the various Native tribes were located helps us understand why was important to colonists back then (knowing which tribes were friendly and which were not), as opposed to now when our modern maps show interstate highways (since our maps are now used primarily for travel). Because geography so informs the behavior of human beings and how they live/interact with their environment, it is essential to contextualize any historical event geographically.

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.
Land-Human Interactions
Middle
What I found most helpful about this module is the idea of beginning history units with maps and a discussion of geograhy before delving into the content. As expressed by Ed Ayers, understanding where certain geographic features are located (for example, Richmond falls, rivers, high ground) helps students understand they "whys" of human behavior (for example, why Civil War battles were fought where they were). Looking at John Smith's 1612 map of Virginia and where the various Native tribes were located helps us understand why was important to colonists back then (knowing which tribes were friendly and which were not), as opposed to now when our modern maps show interstate highways (since our maps are now used primarily for travel). Because geography so informs the behavior of human beings and how they live/interact with their environment, it is essential to contextualize any historical event geographically.
Human-Environmental Interaction
Middle
Anonymous (not verified)
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.
Geography
Elementary
I think the biggest take away for me from this module is to teach history from a geographical perspective. It help enforces the human-environment interaction that dominates our past and the future. This too will guide students towards deeper, critical thinking.
Understanding Geography
Elementary
I will help my students understand that geography influences the entire history of Virginia. I will help them see the reasons some things happened where they did. They will learn how geography influenced everything from the culture to transportation to eating habits to the styles of homes Virginians built.
Rivers, Roads and Rails
Elementary
Present a Virginia map of the past to a current map and have the students compare and contrast what they see. Encourage them to come up with hypotheses on why roads were placed where they were in the 20th century and how the primitive landscape shaped the current one.
Test
Pre-K
Test
Geographic Areas and Political Parties
Middle
In my Civics class, it would be interesting to do a map activity that combines geographic areas of Virginia and historical and/or modern voter loyalties. Once political parties are overlaid on a map, students can be presented with questions about Virginia and U.S. politics and history. For example, seeing that rural areas in Virginia tend to support Republicans today could lead to questions about why these areas were farmed in the first place, and why farmers would be inclined to support certain parties. Conversely, looking at the fact that urban areas tend to support Democrats today can lead to discussion of why places like Richmond became industrial centers, and why certain groups were attracted to those industrial areas.
Teacher, World Connections
Middle
First of all, I will try to find the John Smith map at the Library of Congress website, as I love how that shows both Europeans and the indigenous people depend on the environment. Also, I likely will use it at the beginning of the next school year to do a comparison-contrast between it and a modern map of Virginia.
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.
Using Geography in the Classroom
Elementary
I just finished our Civil War unit, but after this module I plan on adding an additional lesson to teach my students the reasoning behind the battleground choices. I will begin by reviewing what we have already learned about geography, particularly the rivers and cities along them and early trade. Then, I will provide my students with a map of the railroads in Virginia during the 1800s and have them compare them to what they already know about the Civil War battles fought in Virginia. I will then lead a discussion about what they observe and infer about the reasoning behind the battleground locations. When we review the test they already took, I will tie each question back to Virginia's geography and how that influenced the different decisions made during the Civil War era.
Geography
Middle
Wow! This module has convicted me, I need to spend more time on geography with EVERY Social Studies unit. This will help make geography more interesting to my students, and also make the rest of history make more sense!
Virginia geography
Middle
I would make sure that students understand the relationship between the geography and the people that settled in a certain place. In teaching the Civil War I would definitely want students to understand that there were strategic reasons why the Union troops attacked where they did.
Geography time and place
Middle
In our sixth grade classroom, we must help students learn about the connections between the human culture, geography, and the impact of people's choices throughout history. While teaching it will be important to include Virginia geography in all the units we study. The geography of the land dictated where people settled and what many did for a living. As I teach the Civil War, I will bring out the information as presented in the Video portion of this lesson to help students understand the WHY battles emerged where they did. To visualize the information, map study is imperative to understand the landscape and what the significance of a battle was in the area. Learning the dates and battle names from the war will have more meaning if we incorporate the geography of Virginia into the WHY part of the lesson.
Applying Virginia Geography
Elementary
This module has reminded me how important the land and its geographical resources are to an area. I plan to integrate more geography into my lessons as we study different subjects.
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Comments

I just finished my Civil War unit and wish I had done this module earlier! I agree with you on your ideas. I will definitely lead with this next year.

The Geographical impact of Virginia is unreal. We discuss this throughout our study of VA US History. Geography is covered in EOC US SOL's almost in every facet of history all 15 testable materials. I enjoyed the presentation of this, and wish that others could see the impact Geography has on daily life. A local county was the "Trumpiest" County in the United States. Buchanan County's livelihood is made by coal mining, after a perceived "War on Coal" by Democrats, and President Obama's policy, Trump carried Buchanan County something like 95% in a County that has been historically Democratic. The Geography won't allow for new industry, or school consolidation. The Geography, has lead to a displacement of population, and an economic impact, on the West side of Roanoke.

I'm not a history teacher but the intersection of history and geography is even more important than I realized. I saw them as completely different units of study before.

I love the idea to have the students create a diary where they are being George Washington and talking to members of their family from other regions. Great idea!

I love everyones ideas, especially the one with the various field trips to additional places in Virginia's regions.

I like the post by the Middle School teacher who focuses on Land and Human Interactions because he plans to introduce lessons with maps.

I like the idea of the diary and writing about the land as seen through the eyes of another person. I think I might incorporate that but have it done through the eyes of the settlers. I'd like the students to compare maps and do research first and then write from a first person point of view of what they see and how they interact with the new geography.

I love the idea of the students writing about Virginia's geography through a first person point of view. I love to combine Language Arts with other content areas as much as possible.

Geography seems to impact so much on all History. I would take each unit that I introduce and make sure that I include all aspects of geography in the lesson. For example, when I teach the different Native American tribes I would have maps to interpret how the land dominated and shaped their lifestyles.

Interpret primary sources to have students match the tribe with the resource. Have them write a summary to tie the matching game with the resources in the geography of that region.

I also liked the idea of comparing a map of Jamestown in 1607 vs a map of Jamestown today.
Compare and contrast the two maps. What created the changes?

The different sources made me more aware of just how important Geography to History.

I loved the ideas about teaching the Civil War and the specific battles and how railroads had so much impact.

I also really loved the idea of teaching the Civil War and the battles and how railroads impacted the battles.

Although I've already taught these lessons without using this learning experience, I am excited that I will be able to review the same material using a different strategy that will engage my students even more.

I would begin teaching with showing types of maps of our regions explaining that they themselves have not changed. I would also see field trips to the mountain area and then to coastal areas would help visually see the difference. I would hope to also do a salt map/plaster model of Virginia. Analyzing each area for its benefits advantages. I think you would need to apply some thoughts on how population.

I agree with Donna, I would have students analyze each region for benefits and I would add the disadvantages. I would also compare why these regions were attractive 400 years ago vs why they are today.

This module has reminded me of how important geography is to history. During battles and wars that occurred in Virginia, strategy was a staple of gaining an advantage over the enemy. Using forests and river and road routes were used to avoid enemy attacks and to plan for a counterattack later. I believe that this is where role play in a classroom can be very useful in helping students understand how geography helps shape history and how we learn and remember it.

I agree, this has given me a new look at using Geography in my classroom. When I used to teach USI, I used to always ask my students "why" did they do this or do that relating to the geography, because we discussed the many different geographical features of the United States. Now that I teach USII, I don't focus on the "why" as much and I need to get myself back to that.

This module helped to establish how important geography is and why students need a tangible representation to see how Virginia's geography has changed from when American Indians lived here, to the arrival of European Settlers, to the current state in which we live.

What I took away from Module 1 was the importance of students having hands on experience with primary resources, helping them to think critically.

I like the Idea of the diary writing based on living in Northern Virginia compared to living in a PLACE like Roanoke or Norfolk.

There were several good lesson ideas posted here. One I especially liked was applying the study of maps to the Roman Empire. I could definitely implement this in my World History curriculum, as my students often struggle with the geographic aspects of Roman history. Thanks for sharing!

I've neglected to think of how geography can help us think historically. I especially like the idea of using old maps as a primary source asking students to think about what the map can tell us about it's intended audience and author.

I enjoyed jhudson's comment on using geography in the Civil War Unit and it could also be used in the American Revolution unit; especially since George Washington had been a surveyor before he became the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. Also I strongly agree with amcmillen comments.

Whoa! Lots of great ideas for the High School level of teaching Virginia history and government. I will definitely be thumbing back through these to help create lessons for my classes!

One teacher mentioned starting each unit with a picture or image to initiate discussion. I would like to try that as well. Another idea I liked was decorated an area of the room to match a region of Virginia.

I really thought that this idea was amazing as well. My youngest son has a processing disorder, and pictures/visuals really assist him in retaining information. He had a hearing impairment that was corrected when he was three, so he depends greatly on his capability as a visual learner. I think presenting the picture, kind of like the fence in this module, would help learners like him. The fence would make him remember the conflict over territory.

The comments just reinforce, to me, the importance of Virginia in the history of the U.S. We have such a variety of people with a great difference in physical geography from east to west. The geography in Virginia has greatly influenced the state economically and socially.

After reading other people's way of thinking, I would add some more graphic organizers into my way of teaching about Virginia's geography. Students should have a fluid understanding of maps, geography, and landscapes. This all can be made possible through the techniques, strategies, and skills in how we teach students.
Creating an teaching environment for students to love to learn in creates a lifelong love for what you are teaching. If we show our passion for what we are teaching by being accurate and through using many resources and sources sharing that we have researched and we know what we are teaching about the students will want to learn more and more, thus human interactions have occurred.

Not only did I feel like each of these primary sources were amazing resources to use, I also appreciate all of your ideas and input!

@JohnPaulJ, I think your project will be really neat. I know a certain Third Grade teacher that would most definitely be interested in helping out with that project. I think the cross-curricular connections made between Art and the content areas truly help students to understand concepts.

Everyone had great suggestions about how to incorporate geography in with their history lessons. Because there are so many cities (especially on the east coast) that grew up around rivers, I think the lesson, "What can we do with a river?" allows students to explore what characteristics all these cities had in common and how geography was the key factor. I also thought discussing about why the Roman Empire was located where it was was a great way to include geography in with World History.

I love this overlay of geographic areas and voting demographics. You could have a lot of discussion about political platforms and having students describe why one population from an area might choose either party based on what is in the platform that benefits them. Then you could even go farther by asking them about "safe districts" where one party always gets a majority of the vote and challenge them to try to redraw districts without gerrymandering or to gerrymander so they see how that works.

I love your idea of showing a map in the European's point of view and the Powhatan's point of view and discuss the differences and things that may have been important to each group.

In addition to World Geography, I also teach World History. It is always interesting to watch students realize that the Europeans initial desire for gold and riches was quickly redirected to harvesting a different type of riches.

I thought that the ideas presented were similar to mine in that they deal with teaching students how our geography influences our connections with the rest of the globe. Good ideas.

I have enjoyed reading the ideas of all of my colleagues. One way to incorporate the geographic theme of movement would be to tie in the push/pull factors involved in Western Expansion and Immigration.

I like this idea. It gives insight into what's important to them. Also how they think or feel about certain areas within the city/community/region.

In many of the lessons described above, I noticed a common thread. Across the state, all teachers must teach the regions within state guidelines. Demonstrating a connection between the physical landscape and the settlements which developed on them is a key component of this information.
Beyond this requirement, however, many teachers are also tying in local physical features and unique local history to make this concept especially relevant to their students. I think this type of extension beyond the state standards is so important. Students should also understand local history, and how their unique area fits into the larger context of Virginia.

I completely agree with TiffanyS. It's very important for students to SEE the places they are studying. I have a feeling that virtual field trips will be huge in the 2020-2021 school year, for better or for worse. Our fourth graders had an excellent field trip planned for Jamestown and Yorktown at the end of March, but, unfortunately, we had to cancel. However, we went on a very memorable Mount Vernon field trip in early December. Students particularly liked seeing the Potomac River up close and were very interested to learn that the entire river has belonged to Maryland since the 1600s. They also enjoyed exploring the grounds of an authentic 18th century farm. Hopefully, my incoming class will be able to return next year!

I like the idea of having your students experience the places virtually. I think that is a perfect way for them to experience the geography at the different places.

I love the idea of having your students experiences how Geography and resources affect their abilities to build things. I love how not only that would be a History project but also a STEM project. In my opinion students benefit from multi-modes of teaching. This would help the students relate more to people back in the day and bring history to life for them.

I really liked the housing listing idea; It really makes the student study the pros and cons of the geographic area of where they have chosen to live. How it affected the past, their present and future can be studied. Narrowing it down to one geographic location so they are not overwhelmed is great.

When I used to teach geography I would start the students mapping the classroom. This allowed the students to learn some basics of mapping, but to also 'step back' and view the room as a whole. For many, the idea of viewing the classroom and the items in it was enlightening. Simple bookcases look differently from above and consume space away from the wall. After they finished I would ask them to create another map of how THEY would rearrange the room if given the chance and answer some questions about it. That forced them to synthesize and evaluate their reasons for certain arrangements and how it could change common practices in the classroom.

I appreciate the observations made by KristopherG in "Finding your way through geography." I absolutely agree that it's important for students to develop an understanding of the interconnectedness of geography, history, and culture. And I especially like the definition of "home" as a cultural landscape.

Like many of you I have realized that geography is not just a unit we teach so students have awareness of their location and state. It is because the geography of Virginia is embedded in almost every decision that was made. It is obvious now thinking about our other units how important the landscape was and how it helped shape our history over time.

I did not even think to mention the fact that we could have kids do map comparisons of places over time and to see how the modes of transportation, etc. have changed to meet the needs of people. Such a good idea!

Pages

Instructions

Congratulations on completing the module! Read and comment on classmates’ ideas here. Return to My Course to move to the next module.

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.

Primary ICT
In this video, teacher Simon Botten demonstrates how to use a whiteboard to engage elementary-age students in history and geography.