Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Geographic Information Science

First Advisor

Douglas C. Munski


In 1994, Geography for Life was published. From this publication the national geography and state geography standards were developed. These national standards were the basis of the state standards.

North Dakota Studies is a Grade 9-12 course offered in North Dakota high schools. This course is offered under mandate in North Dakota high schools, so a broad range of data could be obtained by contacting those teachers.

Prior research has shown that students exposed to 3-D geographic technologies have better spatial abilities than students without a technologic background. A recent study showed that adults wanted to know more about geography and wished their children knew more about geography than they did (Kozak, Dobson, Wood, Wells & Haynes, 2013).

Analysis of the survey results showed that there may be geographic concepts and content not included in the North Dakota studies curriculum. It also showed while all five themes of geography are included, Human-Environment Interaction has the greatest amount

of class time when compared to the time spent in class on the five themes of geography..

Responses from respondents indicated that the majority of North Dakota Studies teachers do not have a geography degree and many have not had continuing education credits in Geography for many years, if ever.

Recommendations include greater inclusion of high school level topics at North Dakota Geographic Alliance summer institutes. Topics of these institutes should include geo-special techniques and manners in which to include project-based learning. Scholarships could be offered to teachers to attend seminars and in turn facilitate segments of future institutes. The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction, when next addressing state standards, should take care in addressing not only the standards from the second edition of Geography for Life, but also incorporating concepts from the Common Core and skills from the 21st Century Framework.