How are teachers across West Virginia integrating Geography in their classrooms?

Tell us what you are doing

Sara K Toney
Social Studies 6gr
Beckley-Stratton Middle School
My five Social Studies classes watched videos from the Discovery Channel and talked about fresh-water. All students made a poster that depicted their views on fresh-water and how they saw fresh-water being used in the world today.



Claudia Wrigley's students had a BALL making their posters for Geography Awaremenss Week!

Sherri Mitchem's 6th grade class from Lashmeet Matoaka School made glogs for Geog. Awareness Week showing fresh water facts.

Bluefield Middle School used the theme of water across the 7th grade curriculum. Math teachers measured the volume of water, using a variety of containers and H2O levels. English classes read a source document on fresh water, then completed 5 paragraph essays on the importance of water and all its uses. In social studies,we took a walking field trip and collected water samples(science experiment) from various sources and created concepts and ideas for posterboard projects. Science classes tested the water samples with PH strips, looking for cleanliness and discussing the harmful effects of contaminated water sources.Social studies students had a day in the computer lab to discover facts about water which were placed on "raindrops" and hung throughout the school to make other students aware of the importance of fresh water. 8th grade students focused on chemical spills and the harmful effects on the environment within the state of W.V.., they also viewed and collected information on the most polluted waters of their state, with the focus on the New River. Students worked in small groups to create environmental cause/effect graphics and an action plan to reduce water pollution.
Tonya Quesenberry-Belt
Shaun Sloan
L. Mark Church

Robert Miller
Social Studies
Madison Middle School
The students at our school have been raising trout and checking ph levels, ammonia levels, and caring for the fish. The students have learned of the value of elevation when dealing with temperature and the value of limestone when maintaining proper ph levels, or restoring ph levels to damaged streams. Students also learned that sandstone as well as mine drainage can contribute to high ph levels. The students learn the streams in the state that support trout and the difference in breeding streams and stocked streams. We raised 75 rainbow trout last year and the kids can tell you that we have a much better success rate than the wild. This year we are on target to release as many rainbows as last year but we have also added native trout to the mix. They can list the dangers of the wild. They can also tell you if mine waters are clean the temp is just right for raising trout. We will be putting our trout in a local stream that comes clean out of abandon mine. The students can use online mapping to super impose limestone formations in the state over trout streams and show how they match up.
Our students also participated in the Freshwater Poster Contest for Geography Awareness Week and some of our posters were entered into the statewide contest.
Our students enjoyed the program from the Three Rivers Avian Center and can tell you of the rivers in the state where eagles nest and where the peregrine falcon is making a comeback. The students can tell of the dangers of d.d.t. and the results when it was introduced into the food chain and also the results when it was removed from production. The students learned about hawks and owls also. The students learned of the many dangers facing our feathered friends and ways we can assist in caring for songbirds, birds of prey, and their environment.

Linda Newcome
Fellowsville School
Linda Newcome's 5th grade class at Fellowsville School in Preston County incorporated GAW by looking at sources of freshwater by studying and discussing "Where does the World's fresh water come from?" With a bit of help, students were able to go out of their backyards and the creeks in the valley and understand that each standing tree of any size transpires up to 10 inches of drinkable water a year. Why should we preserve our trees here in West Virginia? Next she approached them with the questions, "Why are there frozen glaciers in Alaska, and how can frozen icebergs float in the ocean?" Several of the comments had me how them realize that water as salty as the ocean doesn't freeze and that most of our fresh water comes from the glaciers and bergs up north.
She downloaded parts of National Geographic's WATER and displayed it on the smartboard to discuss and debate.

Sarah Jett
Winfield Middle School
Team One 6th Grade students met in Advisory classes all week during Geography Awareness Week. Students were given information about Freshwater Facts from the National Geographic website and brainstormed different topics for the poster contest. About 50 students completed posters for the poster contest. The Team of teachers met together and chose the top twelve. Students also watched videos on the internet about freshwater, watersheds, water conservation, and even some Magic School Bus episodes on water. Students also completed a simple map activity that explained why freshwater was so important to the early river valley civilizations. To end the week, students played "Freshwater Bingo" and won prizes! Everyone had a great week this year during Geography Awareness Week!

Brenda Moore
North Marion High School
To celebrate Geography Awareness Week I conducted several activities. The first thing I did was create a "Freshwater Awareness" wall in the social studies hallway. This wall included posters, maps and various freshwater facts and tips. I also posted freshwater facts above all the water fountains throughout the school. We had a public service annoucement each day through our 3NTV program. The social studies teachers read a trivia question each day in their classroom centered around the GAW theme. There was a drawing at the end of each day and the winner received a globe beach ball. I provided lesson plans to all the social studies teachers to use in their classrooom and also provided DVD's produced by National Geographic on the subject in which they could incorporate. I also assigned the GAW poster contest to my two AP Human Geography classes through which they could earn extra credit points. Students seemed very interested in the topic and some have even shared with me ways they have started to conserve water!

Kris Stephens
Seventh Grade Geography
Eastern Greenbrier Middle School

There were many activities taking place at EGMS during Geography Awareness Week. Each day a Geography Challenge question was presented during the morning announcements. Students submitted answers to their Social Studies teacher who then randomly chose a winner from the correct submissions. There was an average of nine winners daily!
In seventh grade, my students participated in a “Walk for Water” to simulate the average distance an individual in a developing nation walks to obtain fresh water. The students walked for 30 minutes carrying weight in the form of hand weights, medicine balls, buckets, or gallon jugs filled half way with water to demonstrate the weight of the water. The walk was reinforced by classroom discussion and activities centered on fresh water and water conservation.
Students also constructed posters for the poster contest.

Carolyn Webb's class as some of the students completed their freshwater for life posters they enjoyed having their pictures taken and all that they learned that week about irriagation of ancient civilizations.


Julie Wood
Sixth Grade Social Studies
Eastern Greenbrier Middle School

To celebrate Geography Awareness Week, our school posted world maps with freshwater facts above all the water fountains throughout the school. Each day we gave a freshwater fact and gave a Geography Challenge question based upon the GAW theme during the morning announcements. Students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade submitted answers to their social studies teacher who then randomly chose a winner for the correct submissions. Winners received a globe beach ball, highlighters, and other various prizes. In my Master Gardeners Club, we discussed watersheds and had a representative from our local watershed come into our classroom and give a presentation. She used a model which showed a farm, an industry, a golf course, and roads and then used Kool-Aid to show the impact that water pollutants have on a given region. My classes also explored “My Wonderful World” and used the water footprint calculator to find out their water footprint. They then pledged to save water.

Danea Tomlinson
Eighth Grade West Virginia Studies
Eastern Greenbrier Middle School
In addition to the above mentioned activities from EGMS, the 8th grade students had a special guest, Kevin Johnson, from the Friends of the Lower Greenbrier River Organization to give a presentation on watersheds. Mr. Johnson first spoke to the students about watersheds and showed a power point presentation of how we here in the Greenbrier Watershed is a part of seven additional watersheds. He then demonstrated the enviroscape model to discuss ground water pollution. Students also played in a water cycle game set up around the room where each student took a piece of yarn and picked up a bead representing which station of water they had been too. Students would then roll a giant die on the floor with pictures of the next water station they were to venture too. Overall, the students enjoyed the presentation and interactive activities. Students were also assigned the Geography Awareness Contest as their second nine weeks project. It had to focus on water in West Virginia. Most students turned in posters, many did the glogster poster, a few did the essay, and only a handful did a powerpoint.
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