Educator Spotlight: Mapping Globalization

Sylvia McBride

Sylvia McBride has more than 12 years of teaching experience and currently teaches human geography at Castle Park High School in Chula Vista, California. Sylvia is an active member of the California Geographic Alliance.

Activity: Mapping Globalization

Grade Level: 9

Activity Length: 2-3 class periods

Subjects: world geography, globalization, mapping, technology

See Sylvia’s video about her activity.

Tell us about your activity.

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Students explore interactive maps. Photo by Sylvia McBride

I started the project by having my students access a Story Map I had created using ArcGIS Online, on globalization and McDonald’s.

Students navigated the Story Map and answered guiding questions on a separate document. They learned about globalization, its pros and cons, and how McDonald’s business model is an example of globalization. For further analysis, students also had the opportunity to observe and analyze GIS maps that had McDonald’s locations in the United States, population information, and major highway networks. The Story Map also incorporated the history of McDonald’s and some of the regional items on their menus.

Using the Story Map, I incorporated a free National Geographic resource called “Lizzie’s Morning.” This document follows the daily routine of a young girl, and how globalization impacts her typical activities. I assigned my students to then “pin” at least 10 locations from “Lizzie’s Morning” on ArcGIS Online. (You can also use MapMaker Interactive for this activity.)

Students assisted and worked collaboratively with one another to problem-solve solutions when some students needed help using the new technology.

To relate the project to their own lives, I had students analyze what things they were exposed to from other countries in their daily routines. Students made a list of at least 10 countries, and then pinned them using MapMaker Interactive or ArcGIS Online. Then students compared how their lives were similar or different to Lizzie’s life in a short written response.

How did your activity help your students learn about the world?

Several of my students were shocked to learn how globalization had a huge impact on their daily lives. They also didn’t realize how many McDonald’s locations exist around the world, including the United States.

When students completed the “pinning” activity, they were able to see where these locations were in relation to where they lived. Students had all heard of these places, but never really examined where the actual location was on a map. Using a computerized map made the activity easier.

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you in your personal life or in your teaching?

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
—Nelson Mandela

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