This Week in Geographic History, October 3 – 9

Here’s an advance look at a some of the “This Day in Geographic History” (TDIGH) events coming up this week.  For each date, we’ve matched it with a map or visual, background information, and a classroom activity so you can plan ahead.

Monday, October 3

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Since German reunification in 1990, the nation has turned the Berlin Wall into an art space and international memorial for freedom. Photograph by Gerd Ludwig, National Geographic

TDIGH: East and West Germany Unite

The reunification of Germany, which came less than a year after fall of the Berlin Wall, signaled the decline of Soviet power.

Map: Germany

Background: The Berlin Wall

Activity: Read through and discuss the NG Kids country profile for Germany.


Tuesday, October 4

TDIGH: USSR Launches Sputnik

The 1957 launch of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite to orbit Earth, quickly led to the beginning of the “Space Race” between the U.S. and the USSR.

Visual: Watch this video about the “Space Race”

Background: Orbit encyclopedia entry

Activity: Why did the launch of Sputnik led to the creation of NASA a year later? How did Cold War tensions benefit space exploration?


Wednesday, October 5

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The global shortage of qualified and supported teachers is especially dire for schools in developing countries, such as this one in Nigeria. Photograph by Ed Kashi, National Geographic

TDIGH: World Teachers Day

Created by the UN in 1994, this day honors the critical role teachers play in promoting equity and building sustainable societies.

Visual: Graph showing current status of primary education

Context: See how one teacher is helping fight poverty through education

Activity: Learn about Malala’s story and the power of education in the developing world.


Saturday, October 8

TDIGH: Great Chicago Fire

Historians and scientists still don’t know what caused the massive fire that devastated the city of Chicago, Illinois in 1871.

Map: Path of the Chicago fire

Background: More about the fire and the “Great Rebuilding”

Activity: Why did many people blame the fire on Mrs. O’Leary? How does the treatment she received connect to current events, especially terrorism?


Sunday, October 9

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Built in 1936, the Hoover Dam was the largest concrete structure at the time and was considered a feat of engineering. Photograph by U.S. Govt. Interior Bureau of Reclamation, National Geographic

TDIGH: Hoover Dam Powers L.A.

The Hoover Dam on the Colorado River supplies electricity to Los Angeles, while its reservoir provides freshwater throughout the American Southwest.

Visual: Photos and video of the Colorado River Delta

Background: Hydroelectric energy

Activity: What are the pros and cons of hydroelectric power?

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