Lots of people make a “bucket list” — a list of things to do and places to see before they die. And lots of the places people choose are well-known natural wonders and historical monuments; often places they studied about in school, like Stonehenge in WorldView Software’s World History A:
But you don’t have to stick to just the most well-known places. No matter what area of the world your class is studying in history or geography, challenge them to find some off-the-beaten-track places that they would also like to see!
There are some excellent resources on the web for this. And just like reality, you don’t have to stick to the well-known sites like National Geographic and Discovery. You can also use social media (try the #travel and #nature hashtags on Instagram), and check out some of these other sites we’ve found.
My Modern Met
My Modern Met is where the featured image on this post can be found. By Omid Jafarnezhad, this image of the Nasir al-Mulk “Pink” Mosque in Shiraz, Iran offers a burst of color to the visitor. Keeping with the “colorful” theme, but venturing to a different continent, check out the town of Guatapé in Colombia, also found on the site:
Atlas Obscura is where you can find a map of the 10,000 places they’ve documented as of October 2016. That includes places like Thor’s Well in Oregon, where the Pacific looks like it’s draining into an alternate dimension (Asgard, possibly?):
Or the tranquil beauty of the Kuang Si Waterfalls in Laos:
Once you’ve picked some places or things your students want to see, try the following activity for building connections to learning by investigating its history:
- If it’s a man-made place, investigate how it is different from other buildings in the same area. What were the building techniques and how the costs of construction were covered? Who were the architects and builders, and what did their work day look like? What was the purpose of the building, and why was it important enough to justify that expense?
- If it’s a natural place, ask how and why it has been preserved. Is it a sacred place, and if so, what is its meaning? Finally, ask if there are forces such as economic development pressures that enhance its standing or endanger its presence.
Use these answers to make connections to what had to be happening in the wider society that would make the building or preservation possible, and what that context looks like now and in the near future.
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