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.
Check out our Pinterest board for more resources to support teaching these topics!
Monday, May 7
TDIGH 1986: Mountaineer Reaches All ‘Seven Summits’
The Canadian mountaineer Patrick Morrow became the first person to reach the summits of the tallest mountains on each continent.
Maps: Take a look at the Seven Summits (or the Nine Summits, depending on the definition), and compare their elevations with this terrific graphic.
Background: Download this free poster and booklets for teaching about the Seven Summits.
Activity: Read about Wasfia Nazreen, a National Geographic explorer who became the first Bangladeshi to climb the Seven Summits.
Tuesday, May 8
TDIGH 1945: V-E Day
The day Nazi Germany surrendered is known as Victory in Europe (V-E) Day (since WWII did not end until Japan surrendered months later).
Maps: Get an overview of the major battles in the European Theatre of WWII, and then browse and download these fantastic maps of the conflict.
Background: Navigate the war with this interactive timeline of WWII in Europe.
Activity: Read this article about the end of WWII in Europe and discuss the “connect to today” question at the end.
Wednesday, May 9
TDIGH 1887: ‘Buffalo Bill’s Wild West’ Comes to London
The show, developed by former Army scout “Buffalo” Bill Cody, was a circus-like extravaganza depicting an exciting, romantic fable of life in America’s “Wild West.”
Maps: Take a look at this lovely map of Buffalo Bill’s tour of Western Europe. Have students think about the logistics of travel in the 19th century: How did the show transport bison, horses, and hundreds of performers?
Background: Have students read a fan’s account of how Buffalo Bill “conquered” Europe. Do students agree with the author that the Wild West is no longer American, but “belongs to the world”?
Activity: Bring Buffalo Bill to your classroom! The Buffalo Bill Center for the American West offers a terrific Skype in the Classroom program! We love the “Do You See Me Like I See Me? Cultural Perspectives in Western American Art” lesson.
Thursday, May 10
TDIGH 1869: Golden Spike
The completion of the American transcontinental railroad boosted westward expansion by cutting travel times from months to days.
Map: Navigate the reach of U.S. Railroads from 1870-1890.
Background: Is everything we think we know about the Golden Spike a lie? (Not really, but these fun facts are a breeze to browse.)
Activity: Use the lesson plans surrounding this interactive map to help students learn how the transcontinental railroad transformed the American West between 1860 and 1890.
Friday, May 11
TDIGH 868: First Printed Book
The Diamond Sutra survives as the oldest dated, printed book in the world.
Map: Dunhuang, where the Diamond Sutra was discovered, was a crucial part of the Silk Road. Navigate Dunhuang and the Silk Road with this interactive map, and discuss how ideas, as well as goods, traveled the Silk Road.
Background: Get a short background from the Smithsonian on “Five Things to Know About the Diamond Sutra.”
Activity: Use this lesson plan to explore the spread of Buddhism and other belief systems along the Silk Road.
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