Where Should We Land This Ship?

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SWBAT develop and support an explanation on the best location to create our new society.

Big Idea

Students must consider the availability of natural resources and natural hazards as they determine the best location to develop our new resilient society.


15 minutes

The time has come for students to determine where the best location will be to begin our new society.  To help them keep the focus on the Earth science standards over vacation preferences, I begin this lesson by having students analyze the 5 regions of the US in regard to resources and natural hazards as they currently exist (this represents the US as it was when they left for their space mission, not as it exists in the post global warming era that is the setting of this unit).  

Students use this information as the baseline from which they will hypothesize about the potential resources and hazards that will exist when they land.

As before, some of this will be written from the perspective of the space mission captain addressing his crew.

Alright crew, after further analysis of the data and reports that have been transmitted to us from home, it appears as though our current society is crumbling, if not completely collapsing.  Our mission from the start was to find a place to set up a new society - that is still our mission but now we must do that on Earth.

Now, someone tell me what determines a good place to build a new society?  You have 5 minutes to talk to your table teams to create a list of the factors that we must consider when deciding where to land this ship.


60 minutes

Now, we don't know exactly what we are going home to, but we do know what existed before we left.  I am going to break you into 5 teams and you are going to gather information on the 5 regions of the US: Northeast (dark green), Southeast (red), Midwest (light green), Southwest (blue), and Northwest (purple).  See your Briefing Guidelines and Research Questions for more specific information.

Students work in their teams to research the resources and hazards that are abundant within their assigned region.  I have students focus on resources such as fossil fuels, potential for renewable resources/energy, freshwater, crop/food production, and building materials.  Students also look into seasonal weather patterns and natural hazards, such as extreme weather, earthquakes, droughts, etc. so they can assess the safety of the area.


30 minutes

As students view the presentations, they will complete the Notes Chart where they track the pros/cons of each region.

To conclude the lesson, I lead a discussion/debate in which the class must decide two things:

  • Do we create one single society in one region or create several societies in different regions of the US?
  • In what location(s) do we have the best chance of creating a successful long term society?