Lesson 9: People and the Environment


Activity 1: Modifying the Environment

Materials: colored pencils or markers
As our nation grows in population, the geography changes. In what ways have Americans modified the land in order to transport people and goods from place to place? One example is railroads. Land had to be cleared from coast to coast so that the track could be laid. There are many other examples, and your job in this activity is to come up with some other ideas for how Americans have modified the land for transportation.
Now think of ways that the environment has been changed in order to make communication easier. One example is telephone poles. Wood had to be cut, and the telephone postholes had to be dug. Once a telephone pole is up, the landscape is changed.

People have also modified their environment to meet their needs of water, food, and shelter. This may look different in each region, depending on what resources are available. Some examples include clearing land for farming and creating lakes for fresh water.
On the "Modifying the Environment" pages you will find an outline of each region. Think of ways the geography of the land has been modified, and illustrate or describe your ideas. Record an example of change in each region related to transportation, technological advances, and meeting basic needs.
The answers for this activity will vary depending on the region. Check your child's answers to see that they accurately reflect ways the environment has been modified in each region, past and present, according to the categories.

Activity 2: Geography Songs

Two popular songs that reflect our relationship with the land are "God Bless America" and "This Land is Your Land." You can find the words to these songs on the "Geography Songs" page. Sing the songs aloud. If you do not know the songs, ask a parent to help you. If you play an instrument, play the song while you sing.
Student Activity Page
If your child is not familiar with the songs, teach them to him. If he plays an instrument, encourage him to try to play the melodies of the songs.

Activity 3: Geography Song or Geography Trivia

Materials: Smart About the Fifty States: A Class Report by Jon Buller*
For your final activity related to Americans and land, select one of these options.
For this activity, your child can choose either to write a song that reflects the region where he lives or to create a geography trivia game with questions related to the region. Find a time for your child to sing his song or play his trivia game with the family.

Option 1: Region Song

Write a song about the region in which you live. The lyrics should reflect the geography of the land and the resources. Give your song a title, at least two verses, and a chorus. It might be helpful to select a familiar tune and write the words to fit the tune. When you finish your song, sing it for your family.
Encourage your child to practice his song and share it with the rest of your family.

Option 2: Geography Trivia

Make up a trivia game for the region in which you live. List about twenty facts about the environment in different categories. Categories include resources in the environment, how people interact with the environment, climate, and landforms/bodies of water. Each question will have an answer. The questions may be about a specific state or about the region in general. Refer to the "About the __________(region)" pages you completed in previous lessons, as well as Smart About the Fifty States.

Use the "Geography Trivia" pages to record your ideas. Then play the game with your family. Ask the questions and let players answer. The first person to give the correct answer receives a point. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins.
Student Activity Page
Student Activity Page
Set aside a time for your family to play your child's trivia game with him.