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Mapping our Geosphere



Mapping our Geosphere
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grade 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.3

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    earthly, place-to, themes-location, vernacular, housing, regional, geosphere, spatial, functional, distribution, human-made, perceptual, folktales, immigration, interaction, absolute
     content words:    United States, Middle East, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Gate Bridge


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Mapping our Geosphere
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     There is more to our planet than grass, oceans, and atmosphere. There are also patterns, processes, and relationships that make Earth unique. To understand all three of these areas, you need a geographer. Geographers have the tools to map our geosphere.
 
2     For thousands of years, scientists have been fascinated by our planet. The observations of early explorers were used to design maps of the continents and oceans. They and other scientists showed that our planet was a sphere. Geography has grown to include more than maps and atlases. Geographers use five themes—location, region, movement, human/environment interaction, and place—to study population, culture, climate, and other earthly topics. This is where patterns, processes, and relationships enter the picture.
 
3     Geographers want to know about the space we have on Earth. They study how humans, landforms, and other structures exist within that space. This is called spatial distribution. All five themes are studied when geographers look at spatial distribution. Maps and globes are the tools that help us to see the absolute location of landforms, states, and countries. This is done using latitude and longitude. Maps also give us a mental image of areas for future use. Think about when you give directions to your favorite store. You know how to get there, but you may not know the specific address. So you describe its location relative to other physical and human-made structures. You are giving the relative location of the store. Time, direction, landmarks, and distance are used to describe relative locations.

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