Directions

Activity 1: Influence of Shape and Size

Photo: A cliff on the Atlantic Coast.

Students examine the shape of a selected country in Europe, and analyze the influence that shape may have on the human activities within the country.

Activity 2: The Physical and Cultural Landscape of Europe

Photo: Fjord in Greenland.

Students brainstorm what they already know about the land and peoples of Europe and what they want to learn. Then they draw as much as they can of Europe on a blank map, including its borders, physical and human geography, and anything else that they recall.

Activity 3: Observing Physical and Cultural Landscapes

Photo: A night around the Colosseum.

Students view photographs of Europe to determine if the photos match their own ideas about Europe. They search for geographic clues within the photos to learn more about the subjects shown.

Objectives

Subjects & Disciplines

Objectives

Students will:

  • examine the shape of a selected country in Europe
  • analyze the influence that shape may have on the human activities within the country
  • map their own prior knowledge and ideas about Europe
  • develop a list of questions about Europe
  • view photos of Europe to determine if the photos match their own ideas about Europe
  • search for geographic clues within photos to learn more about the subjects shown

Teaching Approach

  • Learning-for-use

Teaching Methods

  • Brainstorming
  • Cooperative learning
  • Discussions
  • Hands-on learning
  • Multimedia instruction
  • Research
  • Visual instruction

National Standards, Principles, and Practices

National Council for Social Studies Curriculum Standards

  • Theme 3: People, Places, and Environments

National Geography Standards

  • Standard 1: How to use maps and other geographic representations, geospatial technologies, and spatial thinking to understand and communicate information
  • Standard 15: How physical systems affect human systems
  • Standard 2: How to use mental maps to organize information about people, places, and environments in a spatial context
  • Standard 4: The physical and human characteristics of places

ISTE Standards for Students (ISTE Standards*S)

Preparation

What You’ll Need

Materials You Provide

  • Blank paper
  • Index cards
  • Markers
  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Prepared index cards (see "Other Notes")
  • Transparent tape

Background & Vocabulary

Background Information

The physical, or natural, landscape is composed of geographic features not created by humans that are characteristic of an area. Europe as a continent is usually separated from Asia along the Ural Mountains and from Africa by the Mediterranean Sea. It is in the northern hemisphere and the eastern and western hemispheres. The latitudinal extent is such that Europe extends from the subarctic to Mediterranean realms; from approximately 75º North to 35º North. Europe is farther north in its latitudinal extent than the United States. Europe’s latitudinal position subjects it to the cyclical movements of global pressure belts and wind systems, and thus changeable climate. Europe has a moderate climate, no deserts, ice-free ports, and an extensive radial river system.

 

The physical landscape of Europe strongly influences its cultural landscape. The cultural landscape is the human imprint on the physical environment. Europe is both densely populated and extremely diverse in its cultural makeup, including religion, language, and ethnic or national identity. Europe is located in the heart of the world’s land masses, placing it in a location for maximum efficiency of world contact and fostering world-wide exchange. Although small in area, Europe has been a world interaction zone of people and cultures. Through the migration of peoples from Europe, and due to the convergence of sea routes on Europe, ideas and cultural traits developed there have been spread around the globe.

 

Learners combine prior knowledge with experience and make sense of their experiences and learning using their own framework. Activating students’ prior knowledge about the physical and cultural landscapes of Europe will provide students with a foundation upon which they can place new facts, ideas, and concepts. This will help students make connections from their experience or knowledge of Europe to the new information they will learn about Europe over the course of the unit.

 


Prior Knowledge

    Recommended Prior Lessons

    • None


    Vocabulary

    Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry

    border

    natural or artificial line separating two pieces of land.

    Encyclopedic Entry: {'slug': u'border', 'id': 272, 'title': u'border'}

    capital

    city where a region's government is located.

    Encyclopedic Entry: {'slug': u'capital', 'id': 14, 'title': u'capital'}

    city

    large settlement with a high population density.

    climate

    all weather conditions for a given location over a period of time.

    Encyclopedic Entry: {'slug': u'climate', 'id': 173, 'title': u'climate'}

    coast

    edge of land along the sea or other large body of water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: {'slug': u'coast', 'id': 19, 'title': u'coast'}

    compass rose

    symbol indicating the cardinal directions (N, S, E, W).

    continent

    one of the seven main land masses on Earth.

    Encyclopedic Entry: {'slug': u'continent', 'id': 307, 'title': u'continent'}

    country

    geographic territory with a distinct name, flag, population, boundaries, and government.

    cultural landscape

    human imprint on the physical environment.

    culture

    learned behavior of people, including their languages, belief systems, social structures, institutions, and material goods.

    island

    body of land surrounded by water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: {'slug': u'island', 'id': 122, 'title': u'island'}

    landscape

    the geographic features of a region.

    Encyclopedic Entry: {'slug': u'landscape', 'id': 117, 'title': u'landscape'}

    language

    set of sounds, gestures, or symbols that allows people to communicate.

    location

    position of a particular point on the surface of the Earth.

    Encyclopedic Entry: {'slug': u'location', 'id': 80, 'title': u'location'}

    longitude

    distance east or west of the prime meridian, measured in degrees.

    Encyclopedic Entry: {'slug': u'longitude', 'id': 186, 'title': u'longitude'}

    mountain

    landmass that forms as tectonic plates interact with each other.

    natural resource

    a material that humans take from the natural environment to survive, to satisfy their needs, or to trade with others.

    observation

    something that is learned from watching and measuring an object or pattern.

    ocean

    large body of salt water that covers most of the Earth.

    Encyclopedic Entry: {'slug': u'ocean', 'id': 97, 'title': u'ocean'}

    physical features

    naturally occurring geographic characteristics.

    political boundary

    imaginary line separating one political unit, such as a country or state, from another.

    prime meridian

    imaginary line around the Earth running north-south, 0 degrees longitude.

    Encyclopedic Entry: {'slug': u'prime-meridian', 'id': 192, 'title': u'prime meridian'}

    region

    any area on the Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.

    Encyclopedic Entry: {'slug': u'region', 'id': 267, 'title': u'region'}

    religion

    a system of spiritual or supernatural belief.

    river

    large stream of flowing fresh water.

    Encyclopedic Entry: {'slug': u'river', 'id': 206, 'title': u'river'}

    transportation

    movement of people or goods from one place to another.

    Credits

    Media Credits

    The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

    Activity 1 Credits

    Writer

    Shelley Sperry, Sperry Editorial

    Editor

    Kim Hulse, National Geographic Society
    Kathleen Schwille, National Geographic Society
    Emmy Scammahorn, National Geographic Society
    Christina Riska, National Geographic Society
    Emily Wade, B.A. Philosophy, B.A. English

    Educator Reviewer

    Brian Blouet, The College of William & Mary
    Olwyn Blouet, Virginia State University
    Michal LeVasseur, Ph.D., National Geographic Alliance Network Liaison
    Ian Muehlenhaus, University of Minnesota
    Alexander Murphy, Professor of Geography and Rippey Chair in Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of Geography, University of Oregon
    Peter Rees, University of Delaware
    Joseph Stoltman, Western Michigan University
    Audrey Mohan, 2007-2008 Grosvenor Scholar, National Geographic Society

    Expert Reviewer

    Margaret A. Legates, Coordinator, Delaware Geographic Alliance

    National Geographic Program

    2008 Summer Geography Institute: Beyond Borders

    Other

    Special thanks to the educators who participated in National Geographic's 2008-2009 National Teacher Leadership Academy (NTLA), for testing activities in their classrooms and informing the content for all of the Beyond Borders: Using Maps to Understand European Physical and Cultural Landscapes resources.

    Activity 2 Credits

    Writer

    Shelley Sperry, Sperry Editorial

    Editor

    Kim Hulse, National Geographic Society
    Kathleen Schwille, National Geographic Society
    Emmy Scammahorn, National Geographic Society
    Christina Riska, National Geographic Society
    Emily Wade, B.A. Philosophy, B.A. English

    Educator Reviewer

    Brian Blouet, The College of William & Mary
    Olwyn Blouet, Virginia State University
    Michal LeVasseur, Ph.D., National Geographic Alliance Network Liaison
    Ian Muehlenhaus, University of Minnesota
    Alexander Murphy, Professor of Geography and Rippey Chair in Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of Geography, University of Oregon
    Peter Rees, University of Delaware
    Joseph Stoltman, Western Michigan University
    Audrey Mohan, 2007-2008 Grosvenor Scholar, National Geographic Society

    Expert Reviewer

    Margaret A. Legates, Coordinator, Delaware Geographic Alliance

    National Geographic Program

    2008 Summer Geography Institute: Beyond Borders

    Other

    Special thanks to the educators who participated in National Geographic's 2008-2009 National Teacher Leadership Academy (NTLA), for testing activities in their classrooms and informing the content for all of the Beyond Borders: Using Maps to Understand European Physical and Cultural Landscapes resources.

    Activity 3 Credits

    Writer

    Shelley Sperry, Sperry Editorial

    Editor

    Kim Hulse, National Geographic Society
    Kathleen Schwille, National Geographic Society
    Emmy Scammahorn, National Geographic Society
    Christina Riska, National Geographic Society
    Emily Wade, B.A. Philosophy, B.A. English

    Educator Reviewer

    Brian Blouet, The College of William & Mary
    Olwyn Blouet, Virginia State University
    Michal LeVasseur, Ph.D., National Geographic Alliance Network Liaison
    Ian Muehlenhaus, University of Minnesota
    Alexander Murphy, Professor of Geography and Rippey Chair in Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of Geography, University of Oregon
    Peter Rees, University of Delaware
    Joseph Stoltman, Western Michigan University
    Audrey Mohan, 2007-2008 Grosvenor Scholar, National Geographic Society

    Expert Reviewer

    Margaret A. Legates, Coordinator, Delaware Geographic Alliance

    National Geographic Program

    2008 Summer Geography Institute: Beyond Borders

    Other

    Special thanks to the educators who participated in National Geographic's 2008-2009 National Teacher Leadership Academy (NTLA), for testing activities in their classrooms and informing the content for all of the Beyond Borders: Using Maps to Understand European Physical and Cultural Landscapes resources.

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