Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lap Height More: The Five (5) Themes of Geography

Keatchie, Louisiana by trudeau
Keatchie, Louisiana, a photo by trudeau on Flickr.

Were you taught the 5 themes of geography? If not, let us dig in.
One sketch, one theme per page in your notebook.

1. Location

Most geographic study begins with learning the location of places.

Location can be
- absolute (2511 Filbert) or
- relative (South Bossier Parish).

Absolute location provides a definite reference to locate a place. Like 32N, 94W. The reference can be latitude and longitude or a street address: 1601 Viking Dr, 71101.

Relative location describes a place with respect to its environment and its connection to other places. "Near the town of Belcher, west of the Red River."

2. Place

Place describes the human and physical characteristics of a location.

Physical characteristics include a description such things as the mountains, rivers, beaches, topography, and animal and plant life of a place.
- For instance, we can say that Shreveport lies in the Muscadine-Raccoon Belt.
- Rolling hills and bayous.
- Iron-ore rich, red clay dirt region.

Human characteristics include the human-designed cultural features of a place, from land use and architecture to forms of livelihood and religion to food and folk ways to transportation and communication networks.
- The Bible Belt.
- The Black-eyed peas and peach cobbler Soul Food region.
- The Shotgun Shack region.

3. Human-Environment Interaction

This theme considers how humans adapt to and modify the environment. Humans shape the landscape through their interaction with the land; this has both positive and negative effects on the environment.
- The intersection of i-20 and i-49.
- The former lands of the Caddo.

4. Movement

Humans move, a lot! In addition, ideas, fads, goods, resources, and communication all travel distances. This theme studies movement and migration across the planet.
- Site of a German steel tube manufacturing plant to be complete in 2013.
- Former site of a GM manufacturing plant.
- Concert site: the Centurylink Center.
- Gateway to Louisiana's Carnival.

5. Region

Region divides the world into manageable units for geographic study. Regions have some sort of characteristic that unifies the area. Regions can be formal, functional, or vernacular.

Formal regions are those that are designated by official boundaries, such as cities, states, counties, and countries. For the most part, they are clearly indicated and publicly known.
- Caddo Parish.
- Shreveport, La.

Functional regions are defined by their connections. For example, the circulation area for a major city area is the functional region of that paper.
- Metropolitan Shreveport includes Bossier City.
- ArkLaTex.

Vernacular regions are perceived regions, such as "The South," "The Midwest," or the "Middle East;" they have no formal boundaries but are understood in our mental maps of the world.
- Ratchet City.
- North Louisiana.