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Mapping Asia

Mapping Asia

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Comprehensive Unit
70 pages
Grade Level: Middle School – High School

Mapping Asia has been designed to serve two major purposes. First, the unit teaches students about the basic physical and political geography of Asia. Second, it introduces, or reviews, fundamental geographical concepts and vocabulary in an Asian context.

As stated in the Introduction of Mapping Europe:

In a world so shrunken in time and distance that we can communicate almost instantly with any other city on any continent and fly to even more corners of the world in a matter of hours, a knowledge of different places can no longer be considered a luxury. Instead, it has become a necessity. Our interdependence is now so complete that actions—be they economic, political, social or environmental—in one world region can have immediate repercussions in another world region.

Asia, by its sheer size in terms of territory (occupying 30% of the earth's landmass) and population (more than 3,000,000,000 people or nearly 60% of the world's total), is a rich and fascinating place for study. Over the past years, major changes have occurred in Asia. China opened up its doors to embrace the winds of economic change, the "impregnable" Communist country once known as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics finally splintered into several independent republics, the Palestinian and Jewish leaders are settling their centuries-old hostility towards each other, and the Asia-Pacific region, touted as the world's major region of economic development, is set to continue growing well into the 21st century. The United States has also had a long interaction with Asian peoples that dates back to the time when Asians passed through Alaska centuries ago to settle in North America, to the continuous wave of migration of Asian immigrants during the last few decades. Our long historical connection with Asia and the important role Asia now plays in world geopolitics and economics make it important for our students to gain a basic knowledge and appreciation of this big, complex, and unique continent.

Unit Goals

  • to teach students key geographical terms that are important for communicating geographical ideas
  • to introduce and reinforce students' knowledge of the physical and political geography of Asia
  • to help students understand the concept of boundaries
  • to teach students the interaction of climate, landform, and natural vegetation
  • to improve students' understanding of location and region
  • to develop and practice chart and map reading skills
  • to provide opportunities for group work

Mapping Asia meets the guidelines for teaching geography that were adopted by the California State Board of Education in its Model Curriculum Standards for World History, Culture, and Geography.