The five Themes in Geography

Essay by Anonymous UserUniversity, Bachelor'sB, September 1995

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During the 1980's the United States showed unacceptably low test scores on simple Geographic tests. The point Committee on Geographic Education could only attribute these results to Geographic Illiteracy, not only on the part of the students, but more importantly on the educators themselves. By 1984 it had become inexplicably clear that immediate action must take place to counteract this ongoing problem in our educational institutions (Journal of Geography 89). In response, the Joint Committee on Geographic Education produced a landmark publication entitled 'Guidelines for Geographic Education'. This document contained a scope and sequence in Geography with suggested learning results for the nations primary and secondary school systems, as well as suggested educational strategies for analysis on the part of the students and teachers. Most importantly, this article provided the Five Fundamental Themes in Geography, which have evolved to become an integral element of social studies education, because they take the world of geographic study beyond the realm of basic memorization, and into a new plane of analysis and implementation.

These five themes include location, place, human-environment interactions, movement, and regions.

Location answers the question of 'where?'. If you plan to meet someone at a specific time, and a specific place, the question of 'Where will you meet?' must first be answered. To resolve this situation, Geography employs Absolute Location, and Relative Location.

Absolute Location applies a grid-matrix system to the earth's surface in the form of coordinates. These coordinates, longitude and latitude, allow geographers to pinpoint exact areas of the earth's surface, and other planetary bodies as well. If Geographers wish to apply satellite technology to observe an area of the earth's surface, coordinates are used to pinpoint an exact location.

Relative Location answers the simple question of where you would meet a person. For example: 'Let's meet...