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Changing Geography

TRANSPORTATION AND MAPS:
Transportation is the moving of people and goods from one place to another and connects one place with many others. Location is an important reason why communities begin and grow. There are many forms of transportation students can identify with and each kind has played a major role in the development of communities in New Jersey. The state's location bordering two major cities —New York City and Philadelphia — and two surrounding rivers serving as harbors—the Delaware and the Hudson Rivers — has shaped New Jersey's role in the United States as a "pathway" of goods, such as food or clothing, and people. In this section students will focus on one method of transportation, the automobile, and how people have come to rely on cars every day. Through the examination and comparison of present and past New Jersey road maps students will come to realize how the construction of roads and highways reflected the prominence of cars.

OVERVIEW OF ACTIVITIES:

  • Activity 1 - Students will discuss and brainstorm different forms of transportation people use in New Jersey and the United States.
  • Activity 2 - Students will examine images from the Historical Society's collections and "read a photograph" of early cars and trucks driven in New Jersey.
  • Activity 3 - Students will compare the present-day road map with a past New Jersey road map, plot a route, and share their route with another student.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:
Students will:

  • define transportation.
  • think about and list various means of transportation with which they are familiar and identify the kinds of transportation in their community.
  • explore different kinds of transportation in New Jersey and the United States.
  • visually examine, identify and analyze the components of various images of the automobile.
  • discern how to use a road map by planning a route.
  • use road maps to understand how the state has developed over time.

INTERDISCIPLINARY CONTENT STANDARDS:

  • WR 3 use critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • VPA 1.3 utilize arts elements to produce artistic products
  • VPA 1.6 develop skills for planning space/objects
  • LA 3.1 speak in variety of contexts
  • LA 3.2 active listening, interpreting, responding
  • LA 3.3 compose texts for real and varied purposes
  • LA 3.4 respond to a diversity of texts
  • LA 3.5 view, understand and use non-textual information
  • M 4.1 solve math problems in everyday experiences
  • M 4.3 connect math to other learning
  • M 4.9 develop an understanding of measurement using a variety of techniques
  • M 4.10 develop an understanding of estimation using a variety of strategies
  • SS 6.4 acquire historical understanding of societal ideas/forces
  • SS 6.9 acquire geographical understanding through environment/society

ASSESSMENT SUGGESTIONS:

  • Collect students' produced work and create a portfolio to hold all of the students' work done in this unit. Create a rubric based on the learning objective's criteria to assess student's progressions on achieving skill knowledge, content knowledge, and application of skills and knowledge.
  • To assess content knowledge have students create a Venn diagram or design a graph listing the similarities and differences of past and present automobiles and maps.
  • To assess application of skill and content knowledge have students present and demonstrate their findings from the interviews with family members.

ACTIVITY 2: DRIVING IN NEW JERSEY:
In this activity students work in small groups comparing and contrasting various images of cars and trucks driven in and around New Jersey. Through "reading a photograph" students will understand how the development of the car led to the improvement in and the construction of roads.

Procedure and suggested discussion questions for "Reading a Photograph/Image":
In order to use a photograph as a resource, it must be looked at carefully to discover more information than what is seen at first glance. Show students one image at a time and give them a brief amount of time to share aloud things they noticed in the photograph, or students can write down everything they see.

  1. Cover Image B on transparency with paper so it does not project.
    • While looking at Image A, ask students:
      • What do you see in the photograph? List even the most basic, obvious things.
      • What do you notice about the car's structure or the way it was built?
      • What does the photograph tell you about life in the time period in which it was taken?

  2. Cover Image A and repeat the questions for Image B.

  3. After "Reading" both of the photographs individually, show students the entire transparency of both cars. Ask students to compare and contrast the cars.
    • What is similar about the two cars?
    • What is different?

  4. Photocopy the truck images (C & D) for small groups of students to "Read a Photograph" on their own. Have each group present their findings.

  5. Ask students to bring in an advertisement from home of a present-day car or truck from a newspaper or magazine or other available source. Show the transparency of the cars again and ask students to examine their advertisement.
    • What other changes were made to the car? For example: roof racks, wider variety of car colors...
    • Why do you think these changes were made?

    Create a chart that lists the changes on one side and why they were made on the other side.

  6. Ask students to imagine they have time traveled into one of the photographs. Have them write a postcard, diary entry, or create a skit that would show what it would be like to travel in one of the cars. The following questions might help them visualize their journey: What might they wear? Where would they put any luggage? How would the ride feel? What might they smell and hear? How many people would accompany them? What happens if it rains? What happens if there is traffic? What happens if their car breaks down?

    Students may share their work with the rest of the class.

Reflection and Transition:

  • How have adaptations to cars and trucks reflected and/or changed our lifestyles?
  • What effect does this have on the roads on which these cars and trucks are driven?

Complete lesson plan also includes transparencies and additional photographs, materials list, and suggestions for adaptations for younger/older students.

 

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