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Geography/Social Studies Teaching in the Middle and High School

Dr. Joseph P. Stoltman

Office: 3525 Wood Hall

Phone: 387-3429 (If I do not answer and the voice mail does, leave a message, and I will return your call, but please state the question or request you have and indicate the best time to reach you, and the number.)

Office Hours

M 6:00 - 6:25 pm; 9:00 - 10:00 pm

TR 2:00 - 3.00 pm

other times by appointment

Course Rationale

This methods course employs geographic content in presenting exemplary approaches to instruction. Many of the approaches are applicable to other social science disciplines necessary in the social studies curriculum (history, economics, political science/civics). The course is a combination of content and method. The geographic knowledge presented will be that essential for a teacher to function in the social studies classroom. If your major or minor is other than geography, then you should plan on completing your unit of instruction project in your major or minor discipline. If completed to the criteria in the scoring guide for the unit plan, then the unit will be a valuable resource for you when you do your internship.


1. The students will examine and discuss general principles of curriculum theory in social studies from the following perspectives:


  • Geography
  • Global Studies
  • Multi-ethnic/multi-cultural
  • Integrated Social Studies
  • Michigan Core Academic Curriculum
  • Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCE)



2. The students will review and evaluate instructional materials based upon established standards from professional societies. Materials may include:


  • Social Studies Textbooks
  • Films and Videos
  • Ancillary materials, especially printed supplementary materials
  • Computer software
  • WWW and Internet


3. The students will use computer software and the WWW in order to become familiar with the types of educational technology and materials available, to determine when they complement a curriculum area, and to become familiar with methods for using software in the curriculum.



4. The students will examine methods and materials appropriate for special needs students and the cognitive issues of studying time and space through geography instruction with diverse groups of students.





5. The student will design and develop an instructional unit that employs the systematic and essential knowledge from their cognate courses into the broader social studies approaches used in the classroom.



6. The students will participate in demonstration lessons using materials prepared for the social studies curriculum, and will present their unit of instruction to their peers.



7. The students will read and reflect upon articles in the journals of professional organizations and societies in the social studies and related disciplines.



8. The students will design and review objectives for social studies instruction and evaluation including criterion reference testing following nationally recognized models (Michigan Assessment, National Assessment, ETS), and classroom based authentic assessment.



9. The students will build upon the principles and theories presented in their prior professional education studies and apply them to geography and the social studies.



10. The students will examine the unique role of the secondary social studies curriculum in accommodating broad issues of social and cultural concern in the U.S. and Michigan with their diverse population.



11. The students will demonstrate their ability to apply fundamental themes of geography education, the national geography content standards, national content standards from other core academic disciplines in the social studies for Michigan, and the Michigan Grade Level and Course Content Expectations (GLCE) to plan and evaluate curriculum materials.



Grading Policy


Final grades will be based upon:

  • Exit Papers and assignments - 30%
  • Unit of Instruction Project - 50%
  • Participation - 20% (this is subjective and everyone is expected to attend and participate in class activities and discussions, and submit exit papers.)

Note: if an exit paper is missed, then it signifies you have missed class. Do not ask to make up work that we do collectively as a class. The grade book will show that you missed class as well as the exit activity that was completed in class that session. It is anticipated that there will be illness and engagement conflicts. However, they must be held to a minimum.


Grade basis Total 100%


Be familiar with and abide by the University Policy on plagiarism. All materials submitted must your creations or they must carry a citation to the source.


Class will meet on the final examination date unless notified otherwise.

Academic Integrity


You are responsible for making yourself aware of and understanding the
policies and procedures in the Undergraduate (pp. 274-276) [Graduate (pp.
25-27)] Catalog that pertain to Academic Honesty. These policies include
cheating, fabrication, falsification and forgery, multiple submission,
plagiarism, complicity and computer misuse. If there is reason to believe
you have been involved in academic dishonesty, you will be referred to the
Office of Student Conduct. You will be given the opportunity to review the
charge(s). If you believe you are not responsible, you will have the
opportunity for a hearing. You should consult with me if you are uncertain
about an issue of academic honesty prior to the submission of an assignment
or test.


All original material that you prepare to hand in must be word processed, double spaced, and a maximum of three typewritten pages unless otherwise specified by Dr. Stoltman. I recommend that you save it to a floppy disk so that editing and reworking of submitted materials may be completed.

Unit of Instruction Assignment: You must follow the template that is provided for the class.

Required Texts and Materials


Veregin, H. (Ed.). Goode's World Atlas (21st edition). Chicago: Rand-McNally, 2005.


Geography for Life: National Content Standards, 1994. (Bookstore, on-line purchase)

Michigan Department of Education: Download and Print GLCE for 6 - 8 and High School Courses. These are available at:



Instructional Materials available in our teaching lab


Hardwick S. and D. Holtgrieve. Geography for Educators,
New Jersey, Prentice Hall, 1996.


Geography Education for Citizenship


Directions in Geography, 1991, National Geographic Society



Content Standards for each of the content areas, Earth Science, History, Civics/Government, are on the Michigan Department of Education website. Use a search engine to locate Michigan Department of Education and then look for Standards.

Technology in the Classroom: Google Earth, ARGWorld, and others

















The session schedule will be distributed on my homepages website prior or to class.

The address is:


They appear as links to class session plans for each class session we meet beginning with class session one.

Other Important Information





  1. We will use the Goode’s Atlas, so be certain you have your own copy.
  2. We will use Geography for Life regularly, so be certain you have a copy.




Scoring guides will be used when applicable in 460 to judge your assignments. Become proficient at determining how scoring guides are used, how the criteria for scoring are incorporated in scoring guides, and finally, how to design scoring guides.



The Unit of Instruction that you prepare must carefully organized. It must follow the template, include five class lessons, and include a final assessment that is similar to the MEAP or HSME in Michigan. The final version that is submitted must be organized as follows in MS Word 2003. If you use Vista, then be certain to save your work as MS Word 2003 on the drop down menu that is displayed when you select Save As.

Folder with your name unit title as the folder name.


File Lesson 1 then your name

     Subfile for Worksheet

     Subfile for PPT

     Subfile for Map

     Subfiles for any additional support for the lesson

File Lesson 2 then your name

     Subfiles for any support materials in the lesson

And so on for each Lesson


Session 1:

Session 2:

Session 3:

Session 4:

Session 5: Spatial Patterns and Problem Solving

Session 6:

Lesson 1:Spatial Patterns and Problem Solving

Session 7:

Lesson 1: Spatial Patterns and Problem Solving

Session 8/9 and 10-/11:March 16

Session 11:

Scoring Guide Part 1for Unit Plan:

Scoring Guide Part 2 for Unit Plan:

Session 12:

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