The geography of an area is what makes a location unique and distinguishes it from any other place. With its beaches, Spanish moss, magnolias, white-tailed deer, and the great Mississippi River, Mississippi is unique and rich in natural beauty. Along with this natural beauty, a distinct way of life that is rich in history and a culture deeply rooted in the diversity of its people can be found here in the Magnolia State. It is this human and physical geography that makes Mississippi distinguishable from the other forty-nine U.S. states.
Mississippi Studies Framework: Competencies 1, 3
Grades 7 through 12
MATERIALS AND EQUIPMENT
- Mississippi History Now article, The Geography of Mississippi
- Whiteboard and markers
- Notebook paper
- Pen or pencil
- Various reference books
- Computer and Internet access
- Poster board
- Art supplies
The students will:
- Define the five themes of geography.
- Recognize examples of the five themes of geography.
- Illustrate the five themes of geography through a poster or diorama.
- Examine the five themes of geography through the creation of a county booklet.
OPENING THE LESSON
Ask the students the following two questions:
- What does the word geography mean?
- Can you give me examples of the geography of Mississippi? (The teacher can list the examples on the board.)
Explain to the students that there is much more to the geography of their state than what is listed on the board. Over the next several days, they will study the state through the five themes of geography.
DEVELOPING THE LESSON
- Instruct students to read the Mississippi History Now article, “The Geography of Mississippi,” prior to the class discussion about this subject.
- Lead a class discussion on the five themes of geography and the examples mentioned in the Mississippi History Now article. Students should record notes during the discussion.
- Prior to the start of this lesson, the teacher should collect Mississippi postcards or pictures from around the state for this lesson. For this portion of the lesson, students should work with a partner, or be placed in groups of three, for peer teaching and interaction. Give each pair or group of students a picture or postcard of Mississippi. Ask them to determine which themes of geography are visible in the picture and to record their findings in a well-written paragraph. Ask each student group or partners to share their Mississippi picture with the class and explain the themes of geography visible in the picture.
- Place students in groups of three or four for this activity: Assign each group one of the ten landform regions, a county, or a city within the state. Instruct students to draw a mural or to create a diorama that includes examples of the five themes of geography in their assigned location. The student projects could be placed on display in the classroom or in another location within the school. A contest could be held to determine the student project that most clearly represents the five themes of geography.
- (Optional) A term or semester geography project can be assigned to the students. Have students create a geography booklet on one of the 82 Mississippi counties – with this many counties to choose from, there would be no need for duplication of topics. The booklet should address the geography of the county by using the five themes of geography. In addition to research on the Internet by students, propose to them that they could write business letters to various local agencies, such as the Chamber of Commerce, to secure needed information for their booklet.
CLOSING THE LESSON
Ask each student in the class to share an example with the class of how the geography of their state has influenced their lives as well as the lives of Mississippians.
ASSESSING STUDENT LEARNING
- Class discussion
- Informal oral presentation
- Written paragraph
- Diorama or poster
- County booklet
EXTENDING THE LESSON
- Pretend your class is meeting with visiting executives from companies and/or corporations. Prepare a report on state resources that would support their development in your state.
- Analyze the impact of Hurricane Katrina on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and/or the state of Mississippi through the five themes of geography.
- Create a Geography of Mississippi trivia or board game.
- Create a travel brochure for Mississippi that includes examples of the five themes of geography.
- Write a poem or song that includes elements of Mississippi geography.
- Use the lesson plan as a part of geography recognition during National Geography Awareness Week.
- Host a Mississippi Geography Bee.
- Create a PowerPoint presentation about the geography of Mississippi.