Teaching Geography with Earth Science
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Not only will our high schoolers earn a high school credit in geography, but they will also have their earth science high school credit. We can get a lot of mileage out of the content and videos in the earth science text when we are doing physical geography, but there are also beginning concepts which compliment one other. Here’s a look at How We Teach Geography with Earth Science.
High School Earth Science Topics which Go along with NorthStar Geography
There is some amount of overlap between geography and earth science. Physical geography includes discussions on earth science. While physical geography teaches the various features of the earth, earth science will not only name them and describe them, but will tell us how they were formed. In looking at both resources, I made a list of the shared concepts.
- Maps & Direction– Types of maps and how to use them. For example, topographical maps (including contour maps), geologic maps, bathymetric maps.
- Navigation– Subtopic of maps & direction. Lines of longitude and latitude, tropics zones, prime meridian, etc.
- Structure of the Earth– Plates & continents. Earth Science will talk about composition of the earth while geography will touch on the people and their boundaries.
- Topography– Bodies of water, man-made features, the lay of the land so to speak
- Lithosphere– Mountains, volcanoes, and earthquakes.
- Hydrosphere– Oceanography, freshwater systems
- Atmosphere– Climate, weather, weather maps and interpreting weather data
How We Use Ck-12 Earth Science for High School with NorthStar Geography
CK-12 is an open source text book out of California which offers courses in science and math for free. The open source nature of the site means you can enjoy lots of content folks share including quizzes, tests, labs & activities. This particular course (Earth Science) has quite a lot of front matter, so we skipped it having met those topics in our science courses many times. We began with the Earth Science content.
Here are a few ways we have found to work these two courses together so far this year:
- Read the chapters in both the NorthStar Geography text & the Earth Science text– the matching concept chapters compliment one another and come at a topic from a different perspective.
- Watch the embedded video from the Earth Science text– For example, after doing the chapter on maps, we watched a video on latitude.
- Activities & labs from Earth Science work well with geography and vice versa. We did the mapping activities with NorthStar Geography as our work for Earth Science.
- NorthStar Geography Activities– Can add hands on fun to the Earth Science sections which are the same.
Flexible Technology Allows us to Use Both NorthStar Geography & High School Earth Science
Part of working with both of these resource tools together is to make use of technology when we can.
- We use the ebook & print version of NorthStar Geography– The student reader is available in either the print version or the digital version. If you purchase the printed version, it comes with a CD which includes the digital edition.
- The earth science text and NorthStar Geography were put onto my students’ kindles– They can watch embedded videos right from the text and read anywhere without sharing the resources with each other. The earth science text is offered in a mobi file for Kindles and the geography was loaded as a pdf.
- If they want to compare resources they can read off the computer while viewing their NorthStar ebook or text book. With two kids taking the courses at the same time that’s handy. They will be busy with assignment and not necessarily work at the same rate or in the same way, so having options with no extra expense is a bonus.
- Using a Kindle in Your Homeschool– Do you use a Kindle in your homeshcooling? Our student Kindles have been invaluable to our studies as our children have gotten older. Reading, research, and organization tools are used every day by our students. Amazon has a new Kindle- the Kindle Fire HD6 is $99 and offers the same excellent features as the one we use (with the bonus of a camera) with a slightly smaller screen. That’s a cost effective way to enter the world of tablets!
Benefits of Choosing NorthStar Geography for High School Credit
So far, the course has been enjoyable. We love geography at our house and even our high school junior, who considers himself a geography buff, could stand to brush up on his knowledge- especially in the area of human geography. What makes this one credit course right for us?
- It’s easy to follow and very thorough– I think it’s especially easy when you have WonderMaps because the directions tell you what features to choose in the map before you print it.
- There are several schedules you can use depending on how often you want to study geography in a particular year.
- Hands on activities for every chapter– There are activity directions for each chapter which are easy to access and print for your students.
- Build your own student atlas using WonderMaps printables or the ones included in the resource disc.
- Hands off kids can work on memorizing the maps– They can choose to make an atlas or concentrate on memorizing only. There are a variety of ways for students to approach the course by choosing options along the way.
- Customize to your needs and abilities– With so many components and the clear directions not to use them all, you can easily customize the course to your student’s strengths and your goal with the geography course.
- Purchase alone or as a bundle with WonderMaps– If you already own WonderMaps you can go right for NorthStar. If not, you can purchase them together. The maps you need are included with NorthStar, but I love to make custom maps for our work and for any other of our map needs!
My plan is flawless except for the Lyme Disease which my high school junior is fighting. Whenever you are working with multiple ages and coordinating curriculum, something is bound to go wrong- in case you might think the world is perfectly aligned with such a great plan! So, our high school freshman must work ahead at this point. Ethan will have to catch up later or they will continue separately or mixed and matched with labs and activities. It’s important to remain flexible and keep forging ahead with circumstances as best you can. The plan is still there to keep on us track and let us know where we are headed!
We are delighted that earth science and NorthStar Geography are part of the plan this year!
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