Second Year Fourth Month Activities

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1 National Council for Geographic Education Curriculum & Instruction Committee Geography Club Submitted by: Steve Pierce Second Year Fourth Month Activities Geography for Life: National Geography Standards The World in Spatial Terms Standard 1: How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information Standard 3: How to analyze the spatial organization of people, places, and environments on Earth s surface Places and Regions Standard 4: The physical and human characteristics of places Physical Systems Standard 8: The characteristics and spatial distribution of ecosystems on earth s surface Human Systems Standard 12: The process, patterns, and functions of human settlement Environment and Society Standard 15: How physical systems affect human systems I. Warm-up Activity: Map Scraps Examine each Map Scrap and try to determine the locations. Use an atlas and other reference materials to answer the questions. Map Scrap Map: National Geographic Society Questions: 1. From which continent is this map scrap taken? 2. What strait separates this region from the mainland? 3. What two countries are shown on this map scrap? 4. This region lies at the end of a long mountain range. Name this mountain range. 5. Name the two bodies of water that lie to the east and west of this continent. National Council for Geographic Education Page 1 of 6

2 Map Scrap Questions 1. What U.S. state is shown on this map scrap? 2. What body of water is shown to the east? 3. Which Canadian province is shown to the north? 4. Name the national park found on this map scrap. 5. What mountain range extends from the southwest into the state shown on the map scrap? 6. What national scenic trail, 2,175 miles long, has its northern terminus in this state? Map: National Geographic Society II. Activity: World Deserts Note to teachers/sponsors: The activities that follow are suggestions. You are encouraged to adapt them as you need to, so they are useful to the ages and abilities of your group. Feel free to pick and choose from these activities. Also, use them as springboards to other activities that fit the interests of your students. You may also want to incorporate a field study experience, if applicable. Introduction Deserts are regions of the Earth s surface that receive less than 10 inches (25 centimeters) of precipitation a year. Evaporation rates are higher than precipitation in deserts, leading to the arid conditions. Not all deserts are hot. Temperature is generally not a factor in defining a desert. Some deserts are hot, with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees F. Other deserts are have cold winters or are cool all year. Deserts cover about 20 percent of the Earth s surface. Deserts are divided into five types: subtropical coastal rain shadow interior polar National Council for Geographic Education Page 2 of 6

3 Subtropical deserts lie along the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn between 15 and 30 degrees north and south of the Equator. Hot moist air rises near the Equator. As it rises, it cools and drops heavy rains in tropical areas. Now cooler and drier, this air sinks and warms in the area of the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. This creates the subtropical deserts of North Africa and Australia. The Sahara Desert is a subtropical desert. Coastal deserts are caused by cold ocean currents that lie just offshore the west coasts of some continents, particularly in the Southern Hemisphere. These deserts are often accompanied by fog, but receive very little rainfall. The Namib Desert in Africa is a coastal desert. Rain shadow deserts are found on the leeward sides of mountain ranges. Leeward slopes are those that face away from the prevailing winds. Precipitation falls along the windward side of the mountains. The air that descends the leeward side has little moisture left, creating arid conditions. Patagonia, in Argentina is an example. Interior deserts are located deep in the interiors of large continents, far from oceans or seas. Air reaching these areas has long since dropped its moisture, creating dry conditions. The Gobi Desert in Asia is an interior desert. Polar deserts are located in polar regions. Antarctica and parts of the polar tundra of North America and Asia are polar deserts. Although covered with compacted ice and snow, these areas receive less than 10 inches of precipitation annually, and by definition, are deserts. Map of the world s deserts This is a generalized map of the major desert regions of the world. Desert Biome Internet Resources University of California Museum of Paleontology webpage on the desert biome World Biomes.com webpage on desert biomes Activity: Locating Deserts Students can use the accompanying activity sheet to locate major deserts of the world using clues and latitude and longitude given. They can work in teams or individually. The Student Activity Sheet can be found with the fourth month activity on the NCGE Geography Club website. Activity: Mapping Desert Regions Have students use an outline map of the world to locate major deserts. Have them label the map with the names of the deserts. If desired, the deserts can be classified by their type. National Council for Geographic Education Page 3 of 6

4 Link to world outline map: Investigate: Water sources in deserts Although deserts receive little rainfall, there is water present. Rivers, oases, and groundwater are water sources in some deserts. Rivers that flow from areas with adequate precipitation to desert regions are called exotic rivers. Exotic rivers provide water for plants and wildlife in deserts. They support human populations dating back to early civilizations. Have students identify major rivers that flow through deserts. Some suggested rivers are: Colorado River and its tributaries, Nile River, Tigris River, Euphrates River, Jordan River, and the Indus River. Which of these rivers were cradles of civilizations? What role do these rivers play in the development of desert regions? Investigate: Desert Cities Deserts tend to be sparsely populated regions. There are, however, areas of large concentrated populations in desert regions. Students can identify, locate, and learn about some major desert cities. Some cities to investigate are: Phoenix, Arizona, Las Vegas, Nevada, and cities of the U.S. Southwest Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and other cities of the Middle East Cairo, Egypt Timbuktu, Mali and other cities of the Sahara 1. What are the sources of water for these cities? 2. How do the large cities of the U.S. Southwest have adequate water supplies to meet the demands of the large and growing populations? 3. What are some environmental issues related to water use in the U.S. Southwest? Investigate: Desert Words Can you identify these terms? What words related to deserts can you add to the list? arid erg rain shadow arroyo exotic river reg badlands hoodoos sand dunes canyon Joshua tree saguaro desertification oasis wadi eolian erosion playas xerophitic National Council for Geographic Education Page 4 of 6

5 III. Geo-Questions The Middle East is largely a desert domain. Test your geographic knowledge of the Middle East by answering these questions. 1. Which country, famous for its cedar trees, has one on its flag? 2. Mesopotamia, one of the world's cradles of civilization, lies between which two rivers? 3. At 1,312 feet below sea level, the surface of the Dead Sea is the lowest point on the Earth's surface. What countries border the Dead Sea? 4. Three religions claim Jerusalem as a holy city. Name them. 5. If, on a visit to an Arab country, you see a dhow, what are you looking at? 6. This animal is used for the sport of racing in the Middle East.It often caled the ship of the desert. Name this animal. 7. One of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the world is the capital of Syria. What is the name of this city? 8. The Red Sea is about 1,400 miles long. Name the two gulfs at its northern end and the strait that lies at the southern end of the Red Sea. 9. Since ancient times Yemen has been famous for its trade in two resins known for their fragrance. Name these two resins. 10. Iran was once the center of a vast ancient empire. By what name was this empire known? National Council for Geographic Education Page 5 of 6

6 ANSWERS I. Map Scraps Map South America 2. Strait of Magellan 3. Argentina and Chile 4. Andes Mountains 5. Atlantic Ocean (east) and Pacific Ocean (west) Map Maine 2. Atlantic Ocean (accept Gulf of Maine) 3. New Brunswick 4. Acadia National Park 5. Appalachian Mountains 6. Appalachian Trail III. Geo-Questions 1. Lebanon 2. Tigris River and Euphrates River 3. Jordan and Israel 4. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam 5. a sailing ship 6. camel 7. Damascus 8. north - Gulf of Suez and Gulf of Aqaba; south - Bab al Mandab 9. frankincense and myrrh 10. Persia II. Name That Desert 1. Gobi Desert Marco Polo 2. Sonoran Desert Phoenix 3. Atacama Desert copper 4. Kalahari Desert Okavango River 5. Great Victoria Desert Great Australian Bight 6. Rub al Khali (Empty Quarter) petroleum (oil) 7. Patagonia Tierra del Fuego 8. Sahara Desert Nile River 9. Kara Kum Aral Sea 10. Mojave Desert Joshua tree 11. Thar Desert (Great Indian Desert) Jammu and Kashmir 12. Great Basin Great Salt Lake National Council for Geographic Education Page 6 of 6

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