TEACHING GEOSCIENCE WITHIN A CULTURAL CONTEXT USING LOCAL CASE STUDIES
The SE MAPS Curriculum Project focuses on 21 study areas in the Southeastern United States and presents a set of interdisciplinary activities based on maps and remotely sensed images of that region. Local cultural settings provide a basis for some of these activities. Examples include the Cajun culture of the Mississippi Delta in Louisiana, the Scots-Irish culture of the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, and the African-American rice culture of the Georgia Coastal Zone. Native American cultural references occur in many of the SE MAPS study areas as well.
Several student activities involve tracking land use changes through time. For example, the environmental impact of urbanization in the Atlanta area can be identified easily through a study of local aerial photographs and satellite images. The placement of urban infrastructure items such as landfills and sewage treatment plants is fundamentally a geologic question and dealing with such issues in a science class reinforces the concept that geology is relevant to all cultures and communities at all times.