Human Environment Interactions

The Five Themes of Geography

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The Five Themes of Geography

Join five enthusiastic students in their high-tech 'Social Studies Lab' to learn about the five themes of geography: Location, Place, Human-Environment Interactions, Movement, and Regions. Visit locations around the world to understand how geographers study the earth and the people who live here.

Explore the terms that researchers use and will make studying geography easier to understand.

  1. Students will know and understand the five themes of geography:
    1. Place: To describe a place it is important to consider its features, the characteristics that make one place different from another. Many places have distinct physical features such as landforms, bodies of water, climate, and natural resources. Places often also contain human features, such as buildings, highways, and airports. The number of people and their customs are also human features that help to describe a place.
    2. Location: To determine where a place is, direction is often used. The Cardinal Directions help determine where one place is in relation to another. Latitude and longitude are used to find the exact location of a place. Latitude lines extend from east to west, measuring how far a place is from the equator. Longitude lines go from north to south and measure how far a place is from the Prime Meridian. Another means of determining location is the use of numbers and street names. Landmarks also help to indicate the location of a place.
    3. Human Environment Interactions: People interact with the environment in several ways. Sometimes people change their environment by clearing the land for construction or farming. Other times, they help the environment by protecting land and animals and planting trees. The physical environment also can affect people. The physical environment of some places can make life more difficult, such as bad weather, but in other places the physical environment provides necessities like fresh water.
    4. Movement: Movement describes how people, goods, and ideas get from place to place. People travel and transport goods in a variety of ways: ships, trains, airplanes, cars, and trucks. Ideas are often communicated by phones, computers, televisions, newspapers, and radios. How, why, and where people move affects the way that places grow and change. A sudden influx of people can result in the birth of cities in a region. Also, the physical features of a place can affect the movement of people, ideas and goods. Rivers are a good means of transportation, while mountains inhibit travel.
    5. Regions: Because it is very large, the earth is divided into regions to facilitate its study. A region is an area with at least one common feature that makes it different from areas around it. Regions can be based on similarities in physical features, human features, industries, culture, heritage, and government.

  1. Five Themes Collage: Divide the class into five groups. Assign each group one theme of geography to study. The groups should look through magazines and newspapers for clippings that pertain to their assigned theme. The clippings are glued to a piece of tagboard. Each group should select a speaker who will present the collage to the class and explain the theme and the meaning of the collage.

    Current Events and Geography: During class time, or as a homework assignment, have students look through news magazines or a newspaper for articles that pertain to one of the Five Themes of Geography. Students should be prepared to discuss the article and its connection to a theme with a small group of students.


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