Enduring Understandings and Essential Questions

Enduring Understandings

Essential Questions

Geography

Geography is the science that focuses on the question of "where."

Why is location important?

Alaska in Spatial Terms

Alaska's location is critical to understanding its role in world history.

Alaska's vast size and geographic shape are essential to understanding its diversity.

Alaska's vast size and geographic shape present significant internal transportation within the region.

Why would General Billy Mitchell describe Alaska in the 1930's as the "center" of the world?

How could Alaska be both the "center" of the world and relatively isolated at the same time?

Why has travel within Alaska historically, and today, been difficult?

Places and Regions

To a geographer, place is somewhere people can identify as special or distinctive and they also have tangible physical and human geographic characteristics.

The region is a conceptual tool that provides a way to organize space.

How would you use the geographic concept of "place" to describe your community?

How would you describe the geographic region in which your community is located?

Physical Systems

Physical processes in the atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere shape Alaska's environment.

Ecoregions provide a means of understanding the spatial interaction of physical systems in Alaska at different geographic scales.

Alaska's landforms are dynamic, not static. How is the process of plate tectonics changing the shape of Alaska? How are these ongoing changes reflected in natural hazards?

What are the major factors that shape the climates of Alaska?

Where are glaciers found in Alaska and why are they located there?

Alaska's climate appears to be warming. How long has this process been occurring? How is this change reflected in the environment? What impact might climatic warming have on permafrost?

What are the great river systems of Alaska and where are they located?

In what ecoregion is your community located?

Other Geographic Themes - Human Systems

Alaska's changing human population is unevenly distributed across the landscape.

Why is there a significant difference between urban and rural Alaska?

Other Geographic Themes - Environment and Society

People need to protect and maintain the quality of the environment. People use environmental resources for economic development.

Natural hazards are a dominant feature of Alaska's environment.

How does the policy of land protection, as illustrated by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, both enhance and limit resource development in Alaska?

Earthquakes, volcanic explosions, snow avalanches are examples of natural hazards in Alaska. How are these hazards related to the distribution of Alaska's population? How do Alaskans deal with these natural hazards?

Other Geographic Themes - Geography and History

People give names to both human and physical features of the landscape. The names offer insights into who occupied the land in the past.

Select names of streets in your community, settlements and physical features (such as mountain peaks and rivers) in your region. How do they reflect the history of your area?