From Mountains to Marriage
Students will be placed into a random group of three peers. The group will select a world region of
interest to them. The region which they
select should be one identified as an individual chapter in the course textbook. Students will then read the chapter, taking
note of the various sub-regions within their region of choice. Through discussion, the group will then
narrow their focus to a specific sub-region with a consistent set of
environmental characteristics. Once this
specific area of focus has been determined, the group will begin intensive
research on the physical environment. At
the conclusion of this period of research, students should begin a second phase
of intensive research on the social characteristics of the people that live
there. Particular emphasis should be
placed on the behaviors and practices of the people that have been developed as
a result of the physical environment that surrounds them. At the conclusion of the research, the group
will plan and design a presentation which will be used to educate their
peers. The project should be centered on
a tri-fold display board, but may also include handouts, manipulatives,
music, food, etc. The display is due on
the assigned day (as indicated on the syllabus), at which time all members will
move about the room learning from each other’s work.
Assessment will be multi-faceted.
On the day that all projects are presented, a designated group of peers
will use a specific, outcomes based rubric to evaluate each project. The scores from all peer evaluations will be
averaged and factored into the project grade.
In addition, group members will evaluate each other’s performance in the
group, also using a specific rubric.
These will also be averaged and factored into the project grade. The instructor evaluation portion will be a
subjective assessment of the functioning of the group, the quality of the
research, and the presentation. Finally,
each individual will be required to write specific responses to a limited
number of peer projects. These four
measures will all be included in the grade for the project. Breakdown is as follows:
of peer evaluations on your project………………....40%
of group member evaluation of your participation…. 30%
to peer projects…………………………………..20%
to Peer Evaluation Rubric.
to Group Member Evaluation Rubric.
to Project Response Worksheet.
The following is a series of suggested steps for completing
your group members have been identified, sit
together and introduce each other.
Exchange phone numbers and email
addresses. Take a few minutes to
share any particular interests or experiences which may be relevant to the
the textbook table of contents and further identify regions of
interest. You may wish to further
examine individual chapters to gain insight. Once you have narrowed your interests to
a few regions, study maps of those regions in your atlas. Visually identify landforms and water
further conversation on your findings.
Narrow your decision to a single region (which should correspond to
a chapter in the text.)
chapter begins with sections on landforms, climate, and environmental
history. Each member of the group
should be assigned one of those sections to read and provide information
on to the whole group.
the above reading is complete, share aspects of each section with the
whole group. The group should then
identify sub-regions which have relatively uniform physical aspects. Remembering that the focus of the
project is to establish links between the natural environment and the way
people live, choose three possible sub-regions that are likely to have
strong such connections. Rank those
topics in order of interest.
Although you will begin with your first choice, the other two
remain alternatives if information on the first topic proves scarce.
this point, all groups should have a primary topic. The next step is for each member to
choose certain aspects of the physical
environment of that region to become experts on. Such aspects include:
resources (surface water and groundwater)
(i.e. vegetation, animal life & interrelationships)
Each member should then do the
following: 1) conduct additional
research on the aspects of the physical environment for which they will be
experts, and 2) read the remaining portions of the chapter on their region,
which deals with the social aspects of the people that live there.
the results of your additional research to the group and share it. Be certain to
divide the workload equally, and to provide the work expected in a timely
manner. Remember that your
participation within the group is specifically evaluated by your group
all research has been shared, the group should then brainstorm, suggesting
relationships between the environment and the people. At first, you may reference the
textbook, recalling the reading from the latter portion of the chapter. Once initial relationships have been
identified, some additional research may be necessary for a complete
understanding. Social aspects of
the people may include:
and family structure
You need not include all of the above
aspects in your project, and others may arise.
The strength and significance of relationships will vary among regions.
you have outlined all your research and identified all the relationships,
you must plan the presentation. As
indicated previously, the presentation will be centered on one or more
tri-fold display board(s), but should include other items. Approach the presentation with this
frame of mind: your job is to
educate your peers. They must
understand the details of the physical environments as well as how they
connect to the people. You are the
teachers. The presentation does not
stand alone; you may issue hand-outs and you must interact with those that
visit. Include the following considerations
much explanatory text will you have and who will write it?
all text be on the board or will you have hand-outs?
types of images will you use?
Photographs and maps are mandatory, but will you also include graphs
or other diagrams?
will the flow of the presentation be like? What is the best order for introducing
you have additional items to create a true “sense” of the region, such as
food, artwork, music, etc?
the rubrics linked above to guide you in your progress.
Presentation Day: On presentation day, the groups will be divided in half. For half the period, half the groups will
present as the others rotate and learn.
Then roles will be switched.
Every individual that visits a project will be learning from it,
completing a response, and evaluating it.
Groups will rotate in a timed, orderly fashion. At the end, group members will privately
evaluate each other’s group performance.