Teaching Notes

Example Output

Example Output
Map displayed on a My World GIS map.
This map is centered around an area in Baker County, Florida, and shows layers of data for an area with a 15 km buffer around Florida Interstate 10. By using My World software, the GIS data illustrates various land-use and geographical data and three proposed development sites within the defined area.

Grade Level

The chapter is appropriate for students in grades 7 through 12, as well as for undergraduate students.

Learning Goals

After completing this chapter, students will be able to:


Wetland protection is becoming more important as exurban pressures increase. My World GIS provides students with the tool to conduct data analysis for informed decision-making and critical thinking. Perhaps more importantly, this chapter provides students with the knowledge and skills to conduct their own local analysis.

This chapter provides teachers with an opportunity to teach students basic land-use and wetland analysis from datasets that are widely available. A teacher could easily adapt this project for her/his own "backyard" use.

Background Information

Exurban growth increasingly places significant pressuresocial, environmental, and politicalon land-use planners. Issues of scale are central to conducting spatial analysis. Often, municipal boundaries are arbitrary, particularly when agricultural land is transformed to another use in isolated "islands" outside the normal municipal boundaries. These arbitrary developments lead to habitat fragmentation. In areas of gradually sloping topography, exurban pressures also create water runoff issues. Natural wetland habitat has been shown to reduce the impact of flooding. Facing these challenges, planners need to consider all factors when planning new development.

Additional Resources

Instructional Strategies

If you have wetlands near your school, begin with a field trip to the site. Before the trip, probe students about their pre-existing knowledge. Use the experience as an engaging activity.

This particular chapter serves well for exploring and building explanations (second and third steps in 5E model) pertaining to the topic of protecting wetlands. If possible, have each student work on their own computer, but collaborate and discuss in small teams. Upon completion of this chapter, users should have the skills to apply to their local wetland (visited before you began this chapter). Have students explore the area around the visited wetland and propose a plan for protecting the wetland from future development (fourth and fifth steps in the 5E model).

More about the 5E instructional model.

Learning Contexts

This lesson provides an opportunity in either an Earth Science or Environmental Science (Studies) course in which students can learn about GIS technologies and make decisions based on spatial data. This chapter can also be used in geography or social studies classes.

Science Standards

Grades 5-8

8ASI1.3 Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data.

The use of tools and techniques, including mathematics, will be guided by the question asked and the investigations students design. The use of computers for the collection, summary, and display of evidence is part of this standard. Students should be able to access, gather, store, retrieve, and organize data, using hardware and software designed for these purposes.

8ASI1.4 Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence.

Students should base their explanation on what they observed, and as they develop cognitive skills, they should be able to differentiate explanation from descriptionproviding causes for effects and establishing relationships based on evidence and logical argument. This standard requires a subject knowledge base so the students can effectively conduct investigations, because developing explanations establishes connections between the content of science and the contexts within which students develop new knowledge.

8ASI1.5 Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations.

Thinking critically about evidence includes deciding what evidence should be used and accounting for anomalous data. Specifically, students should be able to review data from a simple experiment, summarize the data, and form a logical argument about the cause-and-effect relationships in the experiment. Students should begin to state some explanations in terms of the relationship between two or more variables.

8ASI1.6 Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions.

Students should develop the ability to listen and to respect the explanations proposed by other students. They should remain open to and acknowledge different ideas and explanations, be able to accept the skepticism of others, and consider alternative explanations.

8ASI1.7 Communicate scientific procedures and explanations. With practice, students should become competent at communicating experimental methods, following instructions, describing observations, summarizing the results of other groups, and telling other students about investigations and explanations.

Understandings about scientific inquiry

8ASI2.4 Technology used to gather data enhances accuracy and allows scientists to analyze and quantify results of investigations.

8ASI2.5 Scientific explanations emphasize evidence, have logically consistent arguments, and use scientific principles, models and theories. The scientific community accepts and uses such explanations until displaced by better scientific ones. When such displacement occurs, science advances.

Grades 9-12

12ASI1.3 Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications.

A variety of technologies, such as hand tools, measuring instruments, and calculators, should be an integral component of scientific investigations. The use of computers for the collection, analysis, and display of data is also a part of this standard. Mathematics plays an essential role in all aspects of an inquiry. For example, measurement is used for posing questions, formulas are used for developing explanations, and charts and graphs are used for communicating results.

12ASI1.4 Formulate and revise scientific explanations and models using logic and evidence.

Student inquiries should culminate in formulating an explanation or model. Models should be physical, conceptual, and mathematical. In the process of answering the questions, the students should engage in discussions and arguments that result in the revision of their explanations. These discussions should be based on scientific knowledge, the use of logic, and evidence from their investigation.

12ASI1.6 Communicate and defend a scientific argument.

Students in school science programs should develop the abilities associated with accurate and effective communication. These include writing and following procedures, expressing concepts, reviewing information, summarizing data, using language appropriately, developing diagrams and charts, explaining statistical analysis, speaking clearly and logically, constructing a reasoned argument, and responding appropriately to critical comments.

Understandings about scientific inquiry

12DESS3.3 Interactions among solid Earth, the oceans, the atmosphere, and organisms have resulted in the ongoing evolution of Earth's system.

We can observe some changes such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on a human time scale, but many processes such as mountain building and plate movements take place over hundreds of millions of years.

12ASI2.4 Mathematics is essential in scientific inquiry.

Mathematical tools and models guide and improve the posing of questions, gathering data, constructing explanations and communicating results.

12ASI2.5 Scientific explanation must adhere to criteria such as: a proposed explanation must be logically consistent; it must abide by the rules of evidence; it must be open to questions and possible modification; and it must be based on historical and current scientific knowledge

12ASI2.6 Results of scientific inquiry - new knowledge and methods - emerge from different types of investigations and public communication among scientists.

In communicating and defending the results of scientific inquiry, arguments must be logical and demonstrate connections between natural phenomena, investigations, and the historical body of scientific knowledge. In addition, the methods and procedures that scientists used to obtain evidence must be clearly reported to enhance opportunities for further investigation.

Geography Standards

The World in Spatial Terms

1. How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective.

2. How to use mental maps to organize information about people, places, and environments in a spatial context.

3. How to analyze the spatial organization of people, places, and environments on Earth's surface.

Places and Regions

4. The physical and human characteristics of places.

5.That people create regions to interpret Earth's complexity.

Physical Systems

7. The physical processes that shape the patterns of Earth's surface

8. The characteristics and spatial distribution of ecosystems on Earth's surface

Human Systems

9. The characteristics, distribution, and migration of human populations on Earth's surface.

11. The patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth's surface.

12. The processes, patterns, and functions of human settlement.

13. How the forces of cooperation and conflict among people influence the division and control of Earth's surface.

Environment and Society

14. How human actions modify the physical environment

16. The changes that occur in the meaning, use, distribution, and importance of resources

The Uses of Geography

18. How to apply geography to interpret the present and plan for the future.

Time Required

Approximately five 45-minute periods are required to complete the Case Study and the content in the chapter. However, this lesson can be adapted to require less classroom time by downloading the datasets and My World GIS project file ahead of time. Instructors may also choose to start the GIS activity with Part 3 in order to shorten the lesson and focus more on GIS skills and analysis.

Teaching Resources

The My World GIS project files are provided here and directly within the chapter at the end of each part.

Part 1: Wetlands.m3vz ( 15.5MB Oct9 10)
Part 2: Wetlands_Part_2.m3vz ( 20.7MB Oct9 10)
Part 3: Wetlands_Part_3.m3vz ( 20.6MB Oct11 10)
Part 4: Wetlands_Part_4.m3vz ( 25.6MB Oct11 10)
Part 5: Wetlands_Part5.m3vz ( 25.6MB Oct12 10)

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