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Assignment #1: Annotated Map

Geography of North America

Purpose:

This assignment is designed to help you demonstrate the ability to gather and critically evaluate information related to the second Core Learning Outcome for this course, which states that you should be able to: Identify North American countries and major physiographic features by name and map location.

Instructions:

On a blank outline map of the region, carefully and clearly label 20 of the physical features found within North America that you have selected based on reading Chapter 2 or from additional sources. In addition, for at least 10 of these features, you must also include a brief annotation-i.e., 1-2 detail-rich sentences-that gives an example of how the feature has made (or continues to make) a significant impact on some aspect of the human/cultural geography of the region.

Ideally, the features will be of a variety of scales and types-i.e., do NOT just simply use all of the major topographic features (e.g., Rocky Mountains, Great Plains, etc.). Rather, you should try to demonstrate that you have invested some time and thought into thinking critically about which features to include. You are welcome, and encouraged, to include a few very specific physical features, such as Devil's Tower or the "Tooth of Time."

The preferred method for completing this assignment is for you to use an internet search engine to find a copy a blank map of North America (i.e., one that only shows the boundaries of the states and provinces at most) and then copy and paste that image onto PowerPoint slide and label the features you select in your map in that software (Note: Word or a graphics program such as Paint may also be used, if you prefer). If you do not feel technologically savvy enough to do that, you may simply print a hard copy (i.e., paper) map and use colored pencils, etc., to identify each of the physical features you have selected. In either case, it is expected that you will use colors and/or symbols to represent certain types of features (e.g., blue for lakes & rivers, brown triangles for mountain ranges, etc.).

Your map must also contain a title, legend (i.e., set of boxes indicating colors or symbols used on the map), and list of sources used (this should be at the bottom of the map). Blank outline maps may be obtained from the Internet or other print sources, provided that they are acceptable to the instructor. NOTE: If you opt to construct a hard copy map, you may wish to copy the map onto an 11"x17" paper in order to provide more room for writing.

Maps will be evaluated on the basis of completeness, accuracy, and neatness. (Note: While you are not expected to be an expert cartographer, you are expected to demonstrate professionalism in your efforts, as well as an effort to carefully understanding of the location and extent of the features being mapped through the attention to detail that is illustrated in your work.)

Submit your assignment by uploading it to the "Assignment 1" page in the course website. This assignment is due by class time on the date indicated on the syllabus.

What is an "Annotated Map"?

An annotated map is essentially a map showing the location of various selected features (political units, cities, rivers, bodies of water, mountains, etc.) but that also includes statements explaining the significance of some of these features. Click on the following link to see an example of an annotated reference map of Ireland that was made by the U.S. National Geographic Society:

http://shop.nationalgeographic.com/ngs/product/maps/wall-maps/specialty-maps/1981-ireland-and-northern-ireland-visitors-guide-map

[Note that you can click on the map at the above website and zoom in on it to read examples of the annotations that appear in blue text scattered across the map (often around the edges and with arrows pointing to the specific feature).]

For this assignment, you are being asked to construct just such a map for North America. Again, the purpose of this assignment is to ensure that you can demonstrate knowledge associated with CLO #2, as well as the ability to apply basic geographic skills and knowledge.

Steps for Creating an Annotated Map:

1) All good cartographers (i.e., mapmakers) know that before you actually start making a map, the first step is to do research about the information you are going to map. Basically, this means that you need to decide which features you would like to include and find the material you will use for your annotations. For this assignment, you must label on the map at least 20 physical features of your choice. You may include rivers, lakes, mountains, hills, plains, or any other type of physical feature that you would like to identify. Please try to be creative in your selection of additional features. For example, try to chose a variety of different types of physical features, as well as several from different scales (e.g., instead of choosing the entire Rocky Mountain range, you could select a particular range within it (such as the Sangre de Cristo range) or even a single mountain peak (such as Pike's Peak). Take some time to learn a little about the feature before you select it. You will need to provide a one sentence annotation for each of features that you included, so be sure to take notes and keep track of your source information.

2) After having learned about the material you want to include, the next step is to find a base map of the region. Simply doing an Internet search for images using the keywords "blank," "outline," "map," and "North America," will return many different results. You are welcome to choose the version that you think is most appropriate, however, it is required that the map truly be blank! In other words, it should have nothing more on it than the outline of the North American land area, the boundaries of the independent political states (i.e., countries), and perhaps unlabeled rivers or lakes.

Now, copy and paste the blank map image into a PowerPoint or Word document. Honestly, PowerPoint provides much greater flexibility for layout work than Word, so even if you are not that familiar with it, you are encouraged to try it first. Also, if you happen to be familiar with more specialized software, such as Paint or even ArcMap, you are welcome to use it if you would like--just be sure to turn in a version of your file in a common exchange format (such as JPEG).

3) Next, carefully and clearly label all of the U.S. states and Canadian provinces in addition to the 20 physical features that you have selected. You can do this in PowerPoint or Word by simply inserting textboxes and placing them over the feature you would like to label. For each of the additional features that you include, you should also insert symbols, shapes, colors, etc., to indicate, as best you can, the extent of each of the physical features identified. It is recommended that you choose a certain symbol or color to represent each different type of feature (e.g., blue for lakes & rivers, brown triangles for mountain ranges, etc.).

4) Now you are ready to insert your annotations for at least 10 of the features you chose to include. Again, you can do this by inserting textboxes. Each annotation should be a full, detail-rich sentence (or possibly two) that highlights the significance of the feature from a geographic perspective. Specifically, this means that each annotation should indicate how the feature has had (or still currently has) a significant influence on the human/cultural geography of the region. For example, the geographical significance of a physical feature is NOT that it is technically "the longest," (etc.), but because it serves as a major transportation corridor (i.e., it facilitates the movement) of goods, people, etc., from one area to many other areas. Feel free to use your textbook as a source of ideas and information, but you should also search for more information about the features on the Internet, etc.

5) Finally, your map should also contain a title, legend (i.e., set of boxes indicating colors or symbols used on the map), and list of sources used (this should be at the bottom of the map). Blank outline maps may be obtained from the Internet or other print sources, provided that they are acceptable to the instructor.

Assignment #2: Did Someone Say, "Road Trip"?!

Geography of North America

Purpose:

This assignment is designed to help you demonstrate the ability to gather and critically evaluate information related to the ultimate goal for this class, which as stated on the syllabus is: Formulate regional generalizations, supported with physical and human local specifics, to describe and analyze places at various scales of inquiry.

In addition, it isspecifically intended to help further develop your ability to achieve two of the course's Core Learning Outcomes (CLOs) #1: Describe and identify the basic characteristics of North American regions, and #2: Identify North American countries and major physiographic features by name and map location.

Instructions:

For this assignment you are to imagine that you have been asked to plan a North American road trip for a small group of very wealthy clients who are from some other major world region. (They picked you, because they heard you had taken a college class in the Geography of North America-lucky you!) No one in the group has ever been to North America, but they have expressly stated that their goal for the trip is to,"truly experience what the North American region is all about."While they would like to see and experience many places that represent the "defining" characteristics of the North American region, as a whole, they also know that it is a vast region with lots of physical and cultural diversity-so they are expecting to see and experience aspects of that, as well. So, you should be as creative as possible in coming up with a variety of different types of places to take them. In other words, don't just choose a bunch of cities. They have promised to pay you more $$ the more convinced they are by the end of the trip that their tour guide (YOU!) has met their goals and expectations for the trip.

The catch is, however, they have specifically stated that they want to experience the region by automobile (since they have heard that is how most North Americans prefer to travel)...and they only have 8 days for this road trip!On top of that, they have demanded the following:

1. The trip must include a "stop" at a placein at least ten (10) U.S. states and four (4) Canadian provinces or territories.
2. They want to visit at least 2 different places per dayand they want to know why you have chosen for them to stop in each place.
3. They do not want to travel more than 500 miles between stops/places. (Even though youwill be doing all of the driving-so that they can sleep or view the landscape, etc., of course-they don't want to spend "all day" in the car...so they can get out look around for at least a couple of hours at each stop.)

So, your task is to put together a detailed itinerary (including a map of the route) for this great North American road trip. For each day on the itinerary, you must state which placesyou will be stopping at (and which state or province it's in) and provide a brief justification (at least 50 words) for why you have chosen that place to be part of this road trip. In each justification you should explain how that place exemplifies one of the North American defining characteristics (i.e., "themes" as given in chapter 1) ORone of the major characteristics of a particular region within North America (e.g., Megalopolis, etc.). In addition, you should include a picture of each place that helps support your justification for why you chose it. You must also include the number of miles that you will drive from place to place. (Hint: You can do this using Google Maps: http://maps.google.com). Finally, you must also provide a single map of North America on which you have highlighted the route that will be taken (as closely as possible, but it does not have to be 100% accurate). Each stop/place should also be labeled on the map. As always, you mustproperly cite ALL sources that you use to help support your justifications (including your textbook). Remember, the more satisfied these clients are, the more $$ you will make! (No pressure! ?) Good luck!

Recommended format of your itinerary in PowerPoint:

Slide #1 = Overview map of entire route

Slide #2 = Day 1

Place #1: (don't forget to indicate which state or province it's in)

Justification: (at least 50 words and a supporting picture)

Distance to next stop: (in miles and travel time according to Google)

Place #2:

Justification:

Distance to next stop:

Slide #3 = Day 2

Place #1:

Justification:

Distance to next stop:

Place #2:

Justification:

Distance to next stop:

(Continue following this format for Days 3-8. Remember, you can include more places/stops per day if you would like, but only 2 per day are required.)

Slide #10 = Sources: (use either APA or MLA format)

Assignment #3: Regional Analysis

Geography of North America

Purpose:

This assignment is designed to help you demonstrate the ability to gather and critically evaluate information related to the first Core Learning Outcome for this course: Describe and identify the basic characteristics of North American regions. In addition, it is designed and intended to help develop and assess your ability to achieve Park's Liberal Education Literacy #1: Analytical and Critical Thinking.

Instructions:

For this assignment you are being asked to compare and contrastsix (6) of the regions of North America as presented by the course textbook. You will do so by creating 2 separate Venn diagrams (example below). As many of you may know (and as was illustrated in class), a Venn diagram typically is used to simultaneously show how any 2 (or more) objects are both similar (i.e., how they compare) and also how they are different (i.e., contrast). This is essentially performing the particular critical thinking ability of analysis (i.e., breaking down an object and identifying its component parts and then seeing how they compare with those of another object).

Since you are required to choose 6 regions for this assignment, you will need to decide which 2 of the 6 regions you have selected that you want to include on each Venn diagram. Obviously, you will then put the other regions that you have chosen on the other Venn diagrams. An important note about choosing the 6 regions you would like to use for this assignment: BOTH countries (i.e., the USA and Canada) must be included in some way. Therefore, at least one of the 6regions you choose to analyze must be one of the following: Atlantic Periphery, Quebec, Far North, Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest.

Each Venn diagram must contain statements indicating specific examples of how each of the regions being compared and contrasted are the same, as well as statements indicating as specifically as possible how those same regions are different. In particular, each Venn diagram must contain the following:

1) at least 3 specific statements of the unique characteristics of each region

2) at least 3 specific statements of the shared characteristics for each of the matched pairs of regions

Each statement must clearly, correctly, and adequately describe, as specifically as possible an example of how the regions are either different or the same. Typically, it is assumed that you should be able to adequately describe a characteristic in a single, concise statement. You may use either physical or cultural characteristics, or a combination of both. IMPORTANT NOTE: In identifying "unique" traits of a region, specific numbers (such as the exact population total) do NOT qualify as "unique" characteristics, since obviously these numbers are almost certainly going to be different for any region. Rather, you should focus on using statistics (such as percentages) that can be used as "benchmarks" to state whether or not a simple majority (i.e., at least 50%), a significant majority (e.g., 75%), or a minority (e.g., 20%) of the area includes the particular characteristic you have selected.

Since this assignment specifically requires that you compare and contrast 4 regions as given by our textbook, it is acceptable for this assignment for the textbook itself to serve as a primary source of information. Also, since most of our class time has been dedicated to discussing additional key traits of each of these regions, as well as some of the ways in which they could be either recombined or broken up, you are welcome to use content from the course presentation material. Note, however, that some type of documentation system must be employed for identifying the source of each stated characteristic. The suggested system is to state in a "works cited" section at the end, that unless otherwise indicated, the source of each statement is from the course textbook. However, you should still indicate after the statement, what page number(s) (or PowerPoint and slide number) the information you are basing your statement on came from. As you will probably find, you may need to seek out other sources for additional information. Internet searches are acceptable, as long as any websites cited are considered valid and reliable (i.e., Wikipedia is generally NOT considered a valid and reliable source for college-level academic research). Generally speaking, internet websites that are sponsored by a US or Canadian federal, state, or provincial agency or organization most likely contain "valid and reliable" information. When using such additional sources, it is suggested that you assign a number to each of these sources (this should be done after you have put all of the sources in alphabetical order by author's/agency's name) and then put the appropriate number in superscript following each stated characteristic, as you would do so for footnotes or endnotes (e.g., "Climate: approximately 90% of the land area is dominated by humid subtropical climate1" - where the number 1 refers back to the first source in your "works cited" section).

Example of a basic Venn diagram:http://www.louisianavoices.org/unit8/edu_unit8_venn_diagrams.html

(Note: In our case, each "item" is simply a "region")

Although it is not required, the preferred way for you to complete this assignment is to use Microsoft PowerPoint. You can simply insert two circles onto a slide and then arrange them so they are overlapping like a Venn diagram. Then, you just have to insert text boxes for each of the statements regarding the characteristics of the regions that you have identified. You can then insert another slide for your second Venn diagram. If you would prefer to hand draw your Venn diagrams for this assignment, that is acceptable. However, if you do so, you should keep in mind that these should represent your "best effort"-i.e., they shouldn't look like you just took a piece of paper and a pencil and scribbled down the information. Please make them appear professional--use color, etc.

Assignment #3: Regional Analysis

Geography of North America

Purpose:

This assignment is designed to help you demonstrate the ability to gather and critically evaluate information related to the first Core Learning Outcome for this course: Describe and identify the basic characteristics of North American regions. In addition, it is designed and intended to help develop and assess your ability to achieve Park's Liberal Education Literacy #1: Analytical and Critical Thinking.
Instructions:

For this assignment you are being asked to compare and contrastsix (6) of the regions of North America as presented by the course textbook. You will do so by creating 2 separate Venn diagrams (example below). As many of you may know (and as was illustrated in class), a Venn diagram typically is used to simultaneously show how any 2 (or more) objects are both similar (i.e., how they compare) and also how they are different (i.e., contrast). This is essentially performing the particular critical thinking ability of analysis (i.e., breaking down an object and identifying its component parts and then seeing how they compare with those of another object).

Since you are required to choose 6 regions for this assignment, you will need to decide which 2 of the 6 regions you have selected that you want to include on each Venn diagram. Obviously, you will then put the other regions that you have chosen on the other Venn diagrams. An important note about choosing the 6 regions you would like to use for this assignment: BOTH countries (i.e., the USA and Canada) must be included in some way. Therefore, at least one of the 6regions you choose to analyze must be one of the following: Atlantic Periphery, Quebec, Far North, Rocky Mountains, Pacific Northwest.

Each Venn diagram must contain statements indicating specific examples of how each of the regions being compared and contrasted are the same, as well as statements indicating as specifically as possible how those same regions are different. In particular, each Venn diagram must contain the following:

1) at least 3 specific statements of the unique characteristics of each region
2) at least 3 specific statements of the shared characteristics for each of the matched pairs of regions

Each statement must clearly, correctly, and adequately describe, as specifically as possible an example of how the regions are either different or the same. Typically, it is assumed that you should be able to adequately describe a characteristic in a single, concise statement. You may use either physical or cultural characteristics, or a combination of both. IMPORTANT NOTE: In identifying "unique" traits of a region, specific numbers (such as the exact population total) do NOT qualify as "unique" characteristics, since obviously these numbers are almost certainly going to be different for any region. Rather, you should focus on using statistics (such as percentages) that can be used as "benchmarks" to state whether or not a simple majority (i.e., at least 50%), a significant majority (e.g., 75%), or a minority (e.g., 20%) of the area includes the particular characteristic you have selected.

Since this assignment specifically requires that you compare and contrast 4 regions as given by our textbook, it is acceptable for this assignment for the textbook itself to serve as a primary source of information. Also, since most of our class time has been dedicated to discussing additional key traits of each of these regions, as well as some of the ways in which they could be either recombined or broken up, you are welcome to use content from the course presentation material. Note, however, that some type of documentation system must be employed for identifying the source of each stated characteristic. The suggested system is to state in a "works cited" section at the end, that unless otherwise indicated, the source of each statement is from the course textbook. However, you should still indicate after the statement, what page number(s) (or PowerPoint and slide number) the information you are basing your statement on came from. As you will probably find, you may need to seek out other sources for additional information. Internet searches are acceptable, as long as any websites cited are considered valid and reliable (i.e., Wikipedia is generally NOT considered a valid and reliable source for college-level academic research). Generally speaking, internet websites that are sponsored by a US or Canadian federal, state, or provincial agency or organization most likely contain "valid and reliable" information. When using such additional sources, it is suggested that you assign a number to each of these sources (this should be done after you have put all of the sources in alphabetical order by author's/agency's name) and then put the appropriate number in superscript following each stated characteristic, as you would do so for footnotes or endnotes (e.g., "Climate: approximately 90% of the land area is dominated by humid subtropical climate1" - where the number 1 refers back to the first source in your "works cited" section).

Example of a basic Venn diagram:http://www.louisianavoices.org/unit8/edu_unit8_venn_diagrams.html

(Note: In our case, each "item" is simply a "region")

Although it is not required, the preferred way for you to complete this assignment is to use Microsoft PowerPoint. You can simply insert two circles onto a slide and then arrange them so they are overlapping like a Venn diagram. Then, you just have to insert text boxes for each of the statements regarding the characteristics of the regions that you have identified. You can then insert another slide for your second Venn diagram. If you would prefer to hand draw your Venn diagrams for this assignment, that is acceptable. However, if you do so, you should keep in mind that these should represent your "best effort"-i.e., they shouldn't look like you just took a piece of paper and a pencil and scribbled down the information. Please make them appear professional--use color, etc.

Portfolio (Core Assessment)

Instructions:

In a single PowerPoint presentation document, you are to submit a portfolio of your research and learning regarding the geography of North America during our course this semester. Specifically, this means that you are toinsertall of the slides that you created for the four assignmentsthat were given during the course. You are encouraged togo back and review the instructions for those assignments and correct/enhance those slides for any shortcomings that they may have. (Note: If for some reason you submitted a hand-written copy of one or more of those assignments, you may simply insert a slide that indicates the assignment number and then state on that slide that a hard copy was submitted in class.)

Following your slides from assignments #1-4, you must conclude your portfolio document with at least one additional slide that includes a self-reflective "learning essay" (bare minimum of at least 250 words) in which you summarize and evaluate what you have learned about the geography of North America through your work on these assignments, as well as from any other class material, in general. You are welcome to use a small font size so that you can fit this all on one slide, or you may break it up into sections over a few slides, if you would prefer. As described in class, the ideal format of this learning reflectionis based on that used for an "I-Search" paper. Essentially, this is simply a reflective essay in which you begin by telling what you already knew about the topic and perhaps what you wanted to learn. You should strive to engage the reader's attention and interest, perhaps by explaining why learning more about this place was personally important for you-e.g., was there a personal reason why you chose to take this course? Then, you should discuss specific examples of what you learned through the course of the assignments. For our purposes, you must discuss at least 3 specific examples of the things that you learned about geography of this region and why you found thoseparticularly interesting and important to share with others (i.e., in this learning essay). Important note: Keep in mind that you should not simply be repeating the content that you included in your assignment slides for these examples. Rather, you should focus on explaining why you found this information particularly helpful or important in contributing to your growing understanding and appreciation for the geography of North America. Feel free to include comments about any particular challenges or struggles that you may have had in learning these points. You should conclude yourreflection with comments regarding how this learning may be significant to you personally, how it has changed or expanded your original knowledge and perceptions of the geography of this region, how you think it might be significant for others (e.g., how does it help increase our understanding of the role of the North American region in the global community?), and what you would still like to learn about the subject.

Finally, be sure to include a final Works Cited/Bibliography slide at the end of your document that provides an alphabetical listing ofALL of the sources that you used throughout the semester for your assignments. You must provide a complete, proper citation for each source, using one of the common academic citation formats (e.g., APA, MLA, etc.). Although no additional sources are required for your learning essay/reflection, be sure to include those, as well, if you did happen to utilize additional sources for your examples in it.

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