Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Teaching Geography: Workshops

Glossary of Terms

All definitions from Geography for Life: Geography Standards, 1994 unless otherwise noted.

Workshop 1

developing country - an area of the world that is changing from uneven growth to more constant economic conditions and that is generally characterized by low rates of urbanization, relatively high rates of infant mortality and illiteracy, and relatively low rates of life expectancy and energy use.

Geographical Information Systems (GIS) - a geographic database that contains information about the distribution of physical and human characteristics of places or areas. In order to test hypotheses, maps of one characteristic or a combination can be produced from the database to analyze the data relationships.

human geography - one of the two major divisions of systematic geography; the spatial analysis of human population, their cultures, and activities.**

human process - a course or method of operation that produces, maintains, and alters human systems on Earth, such as migration or diffusion.

mental map - a map which represents the mental image a person has of an area including knowledge of features and spatial relationships as well as the individual's perceptions and attitudes regarding the place; also known as a cognitive map.

physical geography - one of the two major divisions of systematic geography; the spatial analysis of the structure, processes, and location of the Earth's natural phenomena such as climate, soil, plants, animals, and topography.**

physical process - a course or method of operation that produces, maintains, or alters Earth's physical systems, such as glacial processes eroding and depositing landforms.

region - an area with one or more common characteristics or features, which give it a measure of homogeneity and make it different from surrounding areas.

relative location - the location of a place or region in relation to other places or regions.

spatial perspective - a geographical perspective pertaining to space on Earth's surface.

supranational - a venture involving three or more national states - political, economic, and/or cultural cooperation to promote shared objectives. The European Union is one such organization.**

tectonic plates - sections of Earth's rigid crust that move as distinct units on a plastic-like mantle on which they rest. As many as twenty different plates have been identified, but only seven are considered to be major (e.g., the Eurasian Plate and the South American Plate).


Workshop 2

maquiladora - modern industrial plants in Mexico's northern (U.S.) border zone. These foreign-owned factories assemble imported components and/or raw materials, and then export finished manufactures, mainly to the United States. Most import duties are minimized, bringing jobs to Mexico and the advantages of low wage rates to the foreign entrepreneurs.**

microclimate - a small, localized climate area within a larger climate region, which has significantly different atmospheric elements. Microclimates can be caused by human intervention or by local landform configurations (e.g., "heat islands" in central cities' areas of high skyscrapers or sheltered south-facing slopes of hills).

migration - the act or process of people moving from one place to another with the intent of staying at the destination permanently or for a relatively long period of time.

push factors - in migration theory, the social, political, economic, and environmental forces that drive people from their previous location to search for new ones.

pull factors - in migration theory, the social, political, economic, and environmental attractions of new areas that draw people away from their previous location.

pyroclastic flow - rock material thrown from a volcano at high speeds during an eruption.


Workshop 3

ArcView - a GIS software program.

Central Business District (CBD) - a central area typically containing an intense concentration of office and retail activities.***

edge cities - full-fledged employment subcenters far from the central city.**

Esri - a GIS software developer, http://www.esri.com/

gentrification - the process in urban areas of upper- or middle-class families moving back into a zone in transition, which often surrounds the central business district of a city.

geographic realm - the basic spatial unit in our world regionalization scheme. Each realm is defined in terms of a synthesis of its total human geography - a composite of its leading cultural, economic, historical, political, and appropriate environmental features.****

inner city - the usually older, central part of a city, especially when characterized by crowded neighborhoods in which low-income, often minority groups predominate.**

nonrenewable resource - a finite resource that cannot be replaced once it is used (e.g., petroleum, minerals).

rural area - an area outside urban concentrations.

suburb - a subsidiary urban area surrounding and connected to the central city. Many are exclusively residential; others have their own commercial centers or shopping malls.

urbanization - a process in which there is an increase in the percentage of people living/working in urban places as compared to rural places.

urban morphology - the shape and structure of an urban area.*


Workshop 4

overpopulation - a situation in which the existing population is too large to be adequately supported by available resources at current levels of consumption. This should not be confused with dense population.

salinization - the process by which high salinity soils are formed in arid areas where evaporation rates are high.


Workshop 5

apartheid - literally, "apartness." The Afrikaans term given to South Africa's policies of racial separation, and the highly segregated socio-geographical patterns they have produced.**

choropleth map - shows differences between areas by using colors or shading to represent distinct categories of qualities (such as vegetation type) or quantities (such as the percentage graduating from high school, population density, or birthrate).

diffusion - the spread of people, ideas, technology, and products among places.

extensification - using land less efficiently.

mortality rate/crude death rate - the total number of deaths in a year for every 1,000 people in a population.


Workshop 6

No terms.


Workshop 7

devolution - the process whereby regions within a state demand and gain political strength and growing autonomy at the expense of the central government.*****

nationalism - a sense of national consciousness and loyalty exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on the promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations. (“Nationalism is the desire for independence to support and promote a common culture.” - Susan Hardwick)


Workshop 8

ARGWorld - multimedia curricula software.

globalization - an increase in trade and capital flows across national boundaries.

watershed - the drainage area of a river and its tributaries.


* http://griots.tripod.com/scu/urban_structure.html
** de Blij, H.J. Human Geography: Culture, Society, and Space. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1996.
*** http://www.geographic.org/glossary.html#C
**** The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
***** http://www.cepr.net/GlobalPrimer.html