The Great American Road Trip: U.S. Geography Skills Workshop
“Geography is, to my mind, a subject of high educational value. Its peculiar value lies in its fitness to nourish the mind with ideas, and to furnish the imagination with pictures.” ~Charlotte Mason
Summer is a great time to plan a road trip, and this summer students can take a road trip touring the entire United States! Over the course of five weeks, students “drive though” each region of the U.S. through maps, famous landmarks, stories, music, discussions, and student presentations of their “home” state.
Often time when we think of geography, we think of only memory work and map skills. And while those are very important pieces of geography; so is instilling the awe and wonder of God’s creation (places and the people who live there!). Geography is a beautiful subject that allows us to stop and ponder the created world around us.
The class has three major goals:
1) Learn and develop basic geography skills such as: using an atlas, identifying political and physical markers on maps, creating maps and drawing to scale, etc.
2) Be introduced to the basic geography of each region of the United States (states, cities, physical features, famous landmarks, etc.)
3) Ponder and discuss the effect geography has on the people living there and how that creates a “regional” culture. We will be using not only factual information to learn about each region, but also “tall tales”, music, and other cultural markers. In addition, students will have the opportunity to share with one another their personal experiences of the region they live in – what a wonderful opportunity to learn about another part of the U.S. from a fellow classmate!
National Geographic (kids) United States Atlas or any U.S. Atlas
Tracing paper (a notebook or pack)
Blank paper or poster board
Pencils, colored pencils or markers
Tisha Frost has been teaching in a variety of settings over the last 20 years after following one of the best pieces of advice she was ever given, “Be who God created you to be and you will set the world on fire” (attributed to St. Catherine of Siena). This inspired her to study both history and theology during her undergraduate years. She obtained a B.A. in American Studies, with a minor in Theology, from the University of Notre Dame. She also holds a Master of Education from the University of Notre Dame, specializing in Middle School and High School Social Studies. Through her experiences of teaching many students, including her own children, she has seen the need for restful education that is focused on the true, good, and beautiful. Tisha resides in Northern Minnesota with her husband and six children. When she has a moment to herself, she enjoys children’s literature, British mysteries, good movies, and baking. email@example.com
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Webcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer. Webcam Recommendations: Good (PC only) | Best (Mac and PC)
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class. Headset Recommendations: USB | 3.5mm
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use. To download Zoom:
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
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