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Education - Social studies resources (Secondary)

A guide to materials in the library and on the internet that would be useful to Alberta Social Studies teachers in Junior and Senior High Schools

Teaching geographic thinking

Portals to Geographic Thinking (from Bahbahani & Huynh, Teaching about Geographical Thinking)
  • Geographic importance: Which geographic phenomena and locates are worthy of attention?
  • Evidence and interpretation: What's the correlation between geographic evidence and its interpretation?
  • Patterns and trends: Looking at patterns in geographic phenomena over time and space
  • Interactions and associations: How human and environmental factors and events influence each other
  • Sense of place: The mix of physical and human features that characterize, and give meaning to a place
  • Geographical value judgments: How desirable are the practices/outcomes associated with particular geographic actions/events?


A Different View - A stunning video that provides powerful images and asks the important questions inherent in geography,  many of which are interdisciplinary in nature. Produced to accompany the U.K.'s Geographical Association 2009 'Manifesto' for school geography. Downloadable images and ideas for classroom activities are available on their website.

Geography: Calgary's Hidden Puppetmaster - A geographer looks at how the city's geography shapes our lives here (Francisco Alaniz Uribe, for CBC News,: Dec 05, 2015 ) and Calgary Eats, describing the vision of creating a local resilient food system.

Teaching about geography

 Annenberg Learner Video series (video on demand) - Two relevant video series: 1) Teaching Geography - an eight-part video workshop series of videos about geography topics, correlated to information and examples of teaching geographic concepts; 2) The Power of Place: Geography for the 21st Century - 26 half-hour geographical case studies from around the world

These resources are rather arbitrarily grouped under the six portals to geographic thinking - many could also fit into other categories. This is by no means a definitive list but it provides some interesting examples.

What's of Geographic Importance

     Fresh Water (links to a few sites that are related to ONE topic that is geographically important)

Evidence/Interpretation - Some data sources

Patterns and trends

Human/environmental interactions

Sense of Place

Geographical value judgements

Just for fun

 Including projects that require students to question what has been taken for granted about maps and to examine how maps are used to overpower or mislead would add a critical edge to the teaching of map skills. Analysis and critique of the uses and abuses of maps in (Western) society, and an exploration of the historical traditions of geography and mapping ...would incorporate a critical geography component within school geography.

- from: School Geography and Academic Geography by Wanda Hurren (on

With the above quote in mind, watch this entertaining and thought-provoking look at how maps shape our worldview: Why are we changing maps (from the TV series West Wing).The maps they mention are available in the Doucette Library and are listed below.

Some online map resources

Interesting atlases

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