Academic journal article Social Education

Getting Started

Academic journal article Social Education

Getting Started

Article excerpt


Why might this mural have been created? In what region of the country might it be located?

Photograph Analysis Worksheet

Step 1

Examine the photograph for 10 seconds. How would you describe the photograph?

Step 2

Divide the photograph into quadrants and study each section individually. What details--such as people, objects, activities--do you notice?

Step 3

What other information--such as time period, location, season, reason photograph was taken--can you gather from the photograph?

Step 4

How would you revise your first description of the photograph using the information noted in steps 2 and 3?

Step 5

What questions do you have about the photograph? How might you find answers to these questions?

Locating the Site

Map 1: Deserts of the American Southwest.

Desert regions may bring to mind images such as huge expanses of sand, extremely dry weather conditions, intense heat, and sparse animal and plant life. Although all of these conditions are sometimes found in deserts, people have managed to establish homes and even thrive in desert environments. The Mojave Desert, a high desert, is located at an elevation of between 2000 and 6000 feet. The average annual rainfall is less than five inches, making large scale farming impossible. Mountain ranges and sandy soil prevent easy travel from place to place.

Questions for Map 1

1. What are some characteristics of a desert environment that make human habitation difficult?

2. What is the average annual rainfall in your area? How does it compare with the average rainfall in the Mojave Desert?

3. Identify all the deserts shown on Map 1. Name the countries and states covered by these deserts. Which desert is a subsection of another?

4. Locate Joshua Tree National Park, which includes the area where Bill Keys settled. What two deserts surround the park?

Map 2: Portion of Joshua Tree National Park, California.

The shaded areas of this map represent desert mountains which include the "Wonderland of Rocks," a huge mass of granite rocks piled hundreds of feet high.

Questions for Map 2

1. Locate Desert Queen Ranch (Keys Ranch), the northern boundary of Joshua Tree National Park, and the town of Twentynine Palms.

2. List the three mountains on the map and their elevations above sea level. How much higher than Keys Ranch is each of the mountains? How much higher is each mountain than the town of Twentynine Palms?

3. Trace the route between Keys Ranch and Twentynine Palms. Why is this route indirect?

4. What do you think the icon below Twentynine Palms signifies?

Determining the Facts

Reading 1: Settling in the California Desert

A flurry of mining and cattle ranching activity first brought European Americans to the Mojave Desert in the 1860s. These prospectors and ranchers moved to and from mining districts and range land, gathering for water at natural springs like the Oasis of Mara in the present-day California town of Twentynine Palms. Permanent homesteaders did not arrive in the Twentynine Palms area until the 1920s. Under the Homestead Act, these settlers claimed 160-acre parcels of land just as thousands of families had done in the 19th century.

The arid climate made the land unsuitable for farming, but some people came to the area to improve their health. Many World War I veterans who had been exposed to poison gas during battle developed respiratory ailments that seemed improved by the Mojave's elevation, dryness, and lack of fog. The new settlers chose areas near the Oasis of Mara because of the reliable water source. By the mid 1930s, the area had evolved into the small town of Twentynine Palms. Between the two World Wars, life in the remote desert region near Twentynine Palms was much different than in more settled areas of the United States. …

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