This Week in Geographic History, December 4 – 10

Here’s an advance look at 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.

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Monday, December 4

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Smog obscures the skyline of Los Angeles, California in this 1978 photo. Photograph by Jodi Cobb, National Geographic

TDIGH: Great Smog of 1952

Polluted air and a change in weather patterns created a smog that blanketed London for a week, killing thousands.

Map: Air Pollution around the World

Background: What is smog?

Activity: Read and discuss this article about the recent deadly smog in New Delhi, India. What is one reason that air pollution is worse in New Delhi at this time of year?


Thursday, December 7

TDIGH: Date Which Will Live in Infamy

Japan’s 1941 attack on the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii caused the U.S. to formally enter WWII.

Map: Interactive map of the Pearl Harbor attack

Background: WWII in the Pacific

Activity: Read about how Pearl Harbor was used as the justification for Japanese-American Internment and answer these discussion questions.


Friday, December 8

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Taiwanese soldiers release balloons carrying propaganda leaflets in Taiwan in 1969. Since 1979 the U.S. has followed a “Two China” policy, recognizing both the PRC and Taiwan. Photograph by Frank and Helen Schreider, National Geographic

TDIGH: Two Chinas

Since 1949 there have been “Two Chinas”: the democratic Republic of China (ROC) in Taiwan and the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC) on the mainland.

Map: China and Taiwan

Background: Video clip: “Communists Take Control -The Story of China”

Activity: Read about President Nixon’s 1972 visit to China. Why do you think the U.S. government wanted to recognize the PRC?

Corn in a Drought
Agriculture is one of the main American industries that has benefited from the free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. Photograph by Steve Raymer, National Geographic

TDIGH: NAFTA Signed into Law

The 1993 free trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, established the largest free trade zone in the world.

Visual: Infographic: Views on NAFTA

Background: Globalization

Activity: Listen to this audio segment about Trump’s view of NAFTA. Why do you think Trump took such a hard stance against NAFTA during his presidential campaign?


Sunday, December 10

TDIGH: Happy Birthday, Ada Lovelace

Born in 1851, Ada Lovelace is widely considered the world’s first computer programmer, despite living a century before computers were invented. She is remembered today through the “Ada” computer language.

Video: “Coded for Success”

Background: Short video about Ada Lovelace

Activity: Read the blog post “Six Women in Science that Students Must Know” and ask students why they think math and science have traditionally been male-dominated fields.

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