How Geography Can Shape History
Grade Level: 4th
Overview: Using class discussion and a power point presentation, students will explore how geography influences history through a case study of Harrods Creek, a community on the Ohio River north of Lexington. They will use analytical skills in analyzing maps and primary resources including artwork and a document.
Optional extension 1 allow students to apply the essential questions to their own community and includes the opportunity to explore maps and map reading in more detail, conduct short research projects, write informational pieces, and/or report on a topic to present information.
Optional extension 2 reinforces the concept that advances in technology can modify the way that humans interact with their physical environment and connects to STEM curricular concepts. Optional extension 3 introduces careers in Transportation Planning (Practical Living/Career Awareness).
This lesson plan can be used alone or as part of a unit including Kentucky Government in Action. You could also include the power point from the fifth grade lesson, An Education for Our Children. As a unit, the lessons provide a case study of a rural, African American community in Kentucky and provide a springboard for exploring your local community through the lens of the Big Ideas in Social Studies. As an individual lesson, this can be used to provide an example of how geography impacted the early settlement and history of Kentucky and continues to influence development today.
The lesson can be enhanced by inviting a presenter from the Kentucky Cabinet for Transportation’s Kentucky Engineering Exposure Network (K.E.E.N.) to make a presentation to your class. Please see attached description (KEEN Bridge Building Description). See below for a list of district offices.
Standards Addressed (detailed bullets in lesson plan):
- Kentucky Core Academic Standards – Big Ideas in Geography
- Common Core in English Language Arts
- C3 Framework for Social Studies State Standards, National Council for the Social Studies
What information do different types of maps provide?
How does the physical environment restrict or promote human activities?
How do humans modify the environment to meet their needs?
How can primary sources help us understand the past?
- How Geography Can Shape History Lesson Plan
- How Geography Can Shape History Power Point
- How Geography Can Shape History in pdf Format
- written_doc_analysis-NARA (National Archives and Records Administration)
- For Optional Activity 3:
For each student
- Geography and History Word Bank (teacher version with definitions included)
- Looking at Maps (grayscale version for printing included)
- Analyze Art to Understand History
- Geography and History Word Match (answer key on page 2)
- Geography and History Writing Prompt
Handouts for Optional Activity 1
- Geography and History in Our Community
- Other maps that might be useful are Kentucky Terrain (shows the regions of Kentucky) and River Basin Maps (large-scale maps of the 7 major Kentucky river basins).
For a comprehensive analysis of the Harrods Creek community, see the African American Heritage Interpretive Plan for Jefferson Jacob School, Jacob School Road, James Taylor Subdivision & Harrods Creek Village at http://kyinbridges.com/wp-content/uploads/AfricanAmerican-Heritage-Interpretive-Plan.pdf
Helpful websites for Optional Activity 1 are:
Helpful websites for Optional Activity 2 are:
Use the interactive Bridge Basics from the PBS program Building Big to introduce different bridge types and explore the forces that act upon each bridge type. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/buildingbig/bridge/basics.html
Be sure to include the cable-stayed bridge.
Also check with your local historical society and local tourism offices for materials.
If you plan to use Optional Activities, contact your district KEEN coordinator from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. S/he can tell you if there are any current or planned highway projects in your community or any identified needs. You might also want to arrange a classroom visit. KEEN coordinators can discuss transportation planning and careers in transportation and provide a grade level appropriate, hands-on engineering activity.
Kentucky Highway Districts
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet divides the state into 12 highway districts to optimize building, accountability, & maintenance of the transportation systems within.
This lesson plan was developed as part of the African American Heritage Interpretive Plan for Jefferson Jacob School, Jacob School Road, James Taylor Subdivision & Harrods Creek Village Jefferson County, Kentucky