National Geography Standards 7-13: Physical and Human Systems

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

In this lesson, we will define and discuss standards 7-13 of the National Geography Standards. These standards deal with various physical systems and human systems.

Physical and Human Systems in Geography

How do different physical processes shape the environment around us? What is an ecosystem? How does migration affect a place? How does geography impact world trade?

These are just some of the questions your students should be able to answer after completing standards 7-13 of the National Geography Standards. These standards deal with physical and human systems and their relationship to geography.

We will define these seven standards and discuss some examples of how they can be applied as well as important questions that need to be asked.

Physical Systems

Standards 7 and 8 deal with the elements of physical systems. Let's get right to it.

Standard 7: The Physical Processes that Shape the Patterns of Earth's Surface

In this standard, students need to be able to use a map or a satellite image of the Earth's surface in order to identify things like the oceans, lakes, rivers, mountains, valleys, and so on. They need to be able to explain various physical processes like the water and erosion cycle. Other examples of this standard include the ability to identify and discuss the various climate changes over Earth's history and how climate change today affects things like sea coral.

Standard 8: The Characteristics & Spatial Distribution of Ecosystems& Biomes on Earth's Surface

Using this standard, students should be able to identify the major components of an ecosystem and examples of each ecosystem component. For instance, one major component is soil, and soil can be sandy, clay, acidic, and so on. They should be able to take pictures of various living things like plants, insects, fungi, and animals and arrange them in such a way as to demonstrate food chains. Students will need to understand how climate change will kill off some ecosystems and create new ones. For example, how will Northern Russia's ecosystem change as the ice melts?

Human System

Standards 9-13 deal with the key element of human systems.

Standard 9: The Characteristics, Distribution, & Migration of Human Populations on Earth's Surface

Students must understand how the way a person makes a living influences how many people live in an area. Why do farmers live farther apart? Why do many white-collar professionals live in city high-rise apartments? Ask students to explain how the distribution and density of various populations have changed over time. The Great Migration of African Americans may be a good example to use here as a demonstration. A further example of this standard is having the students describe what obstacles and consequences a country may face if they try to limit population growth. China and the one child policy are a good topic to discuss here.

Standard 10: The Characteristics, Distribution, & Complexity of Earth's Cultural Mosaics

Students need to understand and explain how increased educational access has changed culture. Describe how new technology, such as TV and Internet, has changed culture around the world through cultural globalization and 'Americanization.' In more complex terms, students should be able to compare the cultural landscapes and built environments of cities like Portland, OR vs. Chicago, IL and what things they have in common and how they differ in a cultural sense. Could the environment also play a role in this (such as the amount of green space) or does city culture determine what kind of environment prevails in a city?

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