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Korea's Geography: How
Do You Describe a Nation?

Korea's turbulent history is due in part to its geographic location at a crossroads of Asia, open to attack by land and sea. Its position in Asia has not only exposed it to ambitious conquerors but also has allowed it to serve as a cultural bridge between the Asian mainland and Japan. Korea is also a country of rugged natural beauty with a remarkable and unique culture. This lesson provides students with different ways of using geography to describe the Korean nation.

Purpose of Lesson and Overview
The purpose of this lesson is to introduce students to varying ways of seeing Korea's position in the world. Korea may be seen as "a shrimp among whales," as an "economic tiger," and as a notable tourist destination. Geography is not necessarily a static science, but one that can present changing views of a nation. This look at Korea also helps correct some inaccurate stereotypes of this major Asian nation.

Content Focus
Korean geography may be considered in a variety of ways, but this lesson is primarily concerned with the resources, location, peoples, natural beauty, historic places and strategic value of Korea. Korea stands at a crossroads of Asia. It has been invaded both by land and by sea during its long history. Korea has survived and preserved its own unique history and culture. Although today two nations, calling themselves North Korea and South Korea, divide up the peninsula, both see the Korean people as a single unit, and both hope for reunification.

The research students will do to answer the questions in the handouts will reveal Korea's geographic advantages and the resources that have attracted invaders. The protection of historical sites suggests the loyalty Koreans feel toward their past, and how Korea's natural beauty has sustained its people in times of trouble. Students will discover that while Korea may be divided politically, its people are united by language and culture. The research on geographic issues will provide an understanding of the Korean War and Korea's location in Asia.

After completion of the lesson, students should be able to:
• Explain why Korea is located at a major world crossroads;
Cite six major geographic factors which have shaped Korean history;
• Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of Korea's geography;
• Choose one geographic feature of Korea of interest.