The study of geography gives students a spatial perspective. The goal of geography is to produce a geographically informed person who sees meaning in the arrangement of things in space and applies a spatial perspective to life situations. Technological advances connect students at all levels to the world beyond their personal locations. The study of people, places, and human-environment interactions assists learners as they create their spatial views and geographic perspectives of the world. Analysis of tensions between national interests and global priorities contributes to the development of possible solutions to persistent and emerging global issues in many fields: health care, economic development, environmental quality, universal human rights, and others.
Today's social, cultural, economic, and civic demands on individuals mean that students will need the knowledge, skills, and understanding to make informed and critical decisions about the relationship between human beings and their environment.
In the early grades, young learners draw upon immediate personal experiences as a basis for exploring geographic concepts and skills. They also express interest in things distant and unfamiliar and have concern for the use and misuse of the physical environment. They study how basic technologies modify our physical environment. Through exposure to various media and first-hand experiences, young learners become aware of and are affected by events on a global scale.
During the middle school years, students relate their personal experiences to happenings in other environmental contexts. Appropriate experiences will encourage increasingly abstract thought as students use data and apply skills in analyzing human behavior in relation to its physical and cultural environment. In the middle years, learners can initiate analysis of the interactions among states and nations and their cultural complexities as they respond to global events and changes.
Students in high school are able to apply geographic understanding across a broad range of fields, including the fine arts, sciences, and humanities. Geographic concepts become central to learners' comprehension of global connections as they expand their knowledge of diverse cultures, both historical and contemporary. The importance of core geographic themes to public policy is recognized and should be explored as students address issues of domestic and international significance.