Gapminder is an organization promoting sustainable global development by encouraging the use and understanding of statistics and other information about social, economic and environmental development at local, national and global levels.
Basically it’s a tool you and kids can use to compare and contrast countries around the world. So . . . teaching geography, world history, economics, comparative government? GapMinder is a tool you and your kids need to be using.
At GapMinder, you can access a variety of tools, lesson plans, and videos that help students understand the world and can help you generate a wide range of problems for your kids to solve.
One example of a lesson plan that uses GapMinder data can help your kids to think about the gaps in the world today and challenge their preconceived ideas about how the contemporary world looks. The exercise can also be used to stimulate an interest in using statistics to understand the world.
How to use the activity: Read more
We know that we need to incorporate more literacy into our instruction. And embedding geography is a no brainer. And we’re told that our kids need to be using a variety of media tools. But we often struggle to find ways to integrate all of this stuff into lessons and units.
I ran across a new tool this morning that I think might be able to help. Called StoryMap JS, the tool provides a quick and easy way for you and students to develop visually appealing geo-based narratives. StoryMap JS was developed by the Knight Lab at Northwestern University. And while I haven’t had a ton of time to play it, it looks like a powerful addition to your teaching tool kit. Read more
Working at ESSDACK is a mix of good days and great days. Today is a great day. I get the chance to spend time with a ton of other social studies nerds at the Missouri Council for the Social Studies conference in Columbia.
So far I’ve had a great breakfast, met some folks who spent time at Mt. Vernon wearing the most awesome political campaign t-shirt ever, and picked up some sweet vendor goodies.
The first session focuses on helping students make sense of place. Ladawndra Robbs and Erin Townsend shared some great ideas and strategies. And they are on fire. So incredibly passionate! Read more
I spent part of this morning spending time with Donnie Piercey. Donnie teaches grade school kids in Kentucky and is a Google genius. And he’s a social studies guy. And he uses Google mapping tools.
So when I ran across his session here at #metc16 titled Google Geo Tools for the Elementary Classroom, it was a sign. A great session with some great ideas. Get all of his goodies at this sweet Google Doc.
A few highlights: Read more
There’s been a big push in the last few years to train kids to think historically, to ask better questions, to analyze evidence, to solve problems ala Sam Wineburg.
But what does it look like when kids think like a geographer? The last session of the day yesterday at the NSSSA conference focused at interpreting primary sources with a geographic lens. What sorts of questions can we train kids to ask that helps them think about connections between events and place?
And I love the idea of thinking geographically. I would be the first to admit that I am very US History-centric. Thinking historically – ala Sam Wineburg – has been my life for the last few years as I helped write state standards and train teachers.
So having a conversation about a different lens to think about the past is a great way to end the day. I’ve pasted a few resources below that you really need to go check out but the basics of thinking geographically look like this: Read more
One of my favorite map books is called How to Lie With Maps by Mark Monmonier. How to Lie highlights the use and abuse of maps and teaches us how to critically evaluate these “easy-to-manipulate models of reality.” Monmonier claims that, despite their immense value, maps must lie.
Back of the book jacket , Monmonier introduces basic principles of mapmaking, gives entertaining examples of the misuse of maps in situations from zoning disputes to census reports, and covers all sorts of distortions from deliberate oversimplifications to the misleading use of color.
How can maps “lie?” Read more