Home » Education » Instructional Resources

Instructional Resources

Series Info

Episodes: 26

Length: 30 min.

Grade Levels:
9, 10, 11, 12, Adult Learning, Professional Development

Professional Development

Video on Demand
Teacher's Guide
Web Resources


Power of Place, The: Geography for the 21st Century

The Power of Place teaches the geographic skills and concepts that are necessary to understand the world. Geography educators and content experts from around the globe shed light on the physical, human, political, historical, economic, and cultural factors that affect people and natural environments. Maps, animation, and academic commentary bring into focus case studies from 50 sites in 36 countries.

Originally produced in 1996, the entire series has been updated. Each case study features new interviews, maps, video footage, and graphics in order to reflect the geographic issues of our world in the 21st century. A coordinated Web site provides further content information and connection to the National Geography Standards.

Episode Guide

1. One Earth, Many Scales Lost in Space? Geography Training for Astronauts — Preparation for a NASA Shuttle mission provides context for introducing key issues in physical geography and human-environmental interaction. Globalization and Revolt — Why do the forces of globalization seem to draw some places closer together and cause others to pull farther apart?

2. Boundaries and Borderlands Twin Cities, Divided Lives — A single Mexican mother’s daily struggle for survival introduces us to concepts of relative location and geographic regions. Operation Hold the Line — The U.S.-Mexico borderlands form a unified cultural and economic region with qualities of both nations.

3. Supranationalism and Devolution Strasbourg: Symbol of a United Europe — The city of Strasbourg is one locus of power in an increasingly supranationalist Europe. Slovakia: New Sovereignty — Since Czechoslovakia separated into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, how have the Slovaks fared?

4. East Looks West Berlin: United We Stand — Berlin is now capital of a reunified Germany and a symbol of a more unified Europe. But the integration of East Berlin requires urban reorganization and economic expansion. Poland: Diffusion of Democracy — Strategies for spreading democracy through Poland required a decidedly spatial approach.

5. The Transforming Industrial Heartland Liverpool: A Tale of Two Cities — Can European Union investment and the growth of service industries turn the tide of economic decline? Randstad: Preserving the Green Heart — Small, crowded Netherlands strives to maintain its transportation connections while preserving dwindling green space.

6. Challenges in the Hinterlands Andalucia: Developments in the Hinterlands — Spanish Andalucia struggles to move beyond tourism and agriculture to integrate with Europe’s heartland. Iceland: Edge of the Habitable World — At the borders of the habitable world, Iceland must balance sustainable fish harvests with social costs.

7. Northwest Contrast St. Petersburg: Russia’s Window on the West — What challenges continue to face this Russian port in post-Soviet society? Vologda: Russian Farming in Flux — How have previously state-owned collective farms changed with privatization?

8. Holding the Hinterlands Dagestan: Caucuses Disconnect? — The ethnically diverse, Islamic republic of Dagestan contrasts with neighboring Chechnya where rebels fight for independence. Bratsk: The Legacy of Central Planning — Communist ambitions create the world’s largest hydroelectric project followed by a Russian city in the middle of Siberia.

9. Changes on the Chang Jiang Shanghai: Head of the Dragon — Shanghai enters the 21st century on a wave of development, ready to reclaim its legacy as China’s commercial center. Sijia: Small Town, Big Change — The steady growth of a township enterprise illustrates three great contrasts in modern China: rural vs. urban, agricultural vs. industrial, coastal vs. interior.

10. The Booming Maritime Edge Guangdong: Globalization in the Pearl River Delta — This program explores globalization and the effects of modernization on Chinese society. Taiwan: High-Tech Tiger — What factors contributed to Taiwan’s emergence as a high-tech powerhouse?

11. A Challenge for Two Old Cities Lanzhou: Confluence of Cultures — We travel to the frontiers of Han and Muslim China in the city of Lanzhou. Shenyang: Hope for China’s Rust Belt? — A previously dynamic industrial city continues to struggle with modernizing its manufacturing infrastructure.

12. Small Farms, Big Cities Northern Japan: Protecting the Harvest — Japanese rice farmers battle destructive weather in order to save their crops. Tokyo: Anatomy of a Mega-City — The continuing expansion of the Tokyo megalopolis leads to ever-longer commutes and demand for suburban housing.

13. The Mainland Laos: Isolated Heart — Laos is emerging from isolation to join the global economy as an exporter of hydroelectric power. Vietnam: Fertile Dreams — As the world’s second largest rice exporter, Vietnam’s booming economy is evident in the explosive growth of Ho Chi Minh City.

14. The Maritime Connection Indonesia: Tourist Invasion — Their culture once imperiled by hordes of tourists, Balinese residents have developed strategies to profit from the tourist industry while maintaining cultural integrity. Multi-Cultural Malaysia — Amidst growing pressures from Islamic militants, social and economic programs seek to build tolerance among Malaysia’s diverse cultures.

15. Global Interaction Singapore: Gateway to Southeast Asia — High-tech infrastructure, a well-educated workforce and strict government repression have all helped Singapore become a pre-eminent port and one of the wealthiest cities in the world. Australia: New Links to Asia — Australia shifts its trade from Europe to the Asian “economic tigers.”

16. Urban and Rural Contrasts Delhi: Bursting at the Seams — The ever-expanding capital of India continues to act as a magnet, pulling millions of Indians away from the hardships of the rural countryside. Dikhatpura: Help Through Irrigation — In rural India, creating sustainable agricultural development proves a challenging proposition.

17. Sacred Space, Secular States? Jerusalem: Capital of Two States? — Can the historical and political geography of this holy city provide clues to a peaceful resolution between Jews and Palestinians? Turkey: Fundamental Change — At the edge of Europe, Turkey hopes to take economic advantage of its proximity to the western world.

18. Oil and Water Egypt: Gift of the Nile — This program investigates Egypt’s limited natural resources, focusing on that nation’s dependence on the Nile River. Oman: Looking Beyond Oil — Having benefited greatly from its relatively modest oil reserves, Oman looks to diversify its economy for future growth.

19. Strength To Overcome South Africa: This Land Is My Land — South Africa continues to face many challenges in redressing the land inequities under apartheid. Kenya: Medical Geography — AIDS has become one of the biggest killers in Kenya. How can geography help understand disease?

20. Developing Countries Cote d’Ivoire: Cocoa and Change — Cote d’Ivoire has long been the world’s largest producer of cocoa, but has recently faced economic downturns and loss of its historically stable government. Gabon: Sustainable Resources? — In one of Africa’s wealthiest countries, oil revenues have declined, putting new pressure on the country’s timber resources.

21. Population Geography Mexico: Motive To Migrate — A geographer’s research reveals a major source of Mexican migration: the North-Central “Hollow Core.” Guatemala: Population and Conquest — Every year a greater number of Maya Indian victims of “continuing conquest” must share inadequate agricultural resources.

22. Dynamic Pacific Rim Ecuador: Orange Alert — When scientists monitoring the Tungurahua Volcano see dangerous signs, they have to advise the government: evacuate or remain? Chile: Pacific Rim Player — Bordered to the east by the towering Andes Mountains and to the west by the Pacific Ocean, Chile enjoys continued economic growth.

23. Brazil: The Sleeping Giant Sao Paulo: The Outer Ring — The sprawling mega-city of Sao Paulo is evidence that Latin America is among the most rapidly urbanizing regions. A Second Chance for Amazonia? — An American scientist discovers new possibilities for sustainable development in the Amazon basin.

24. Cityscapes, Suburban Sprawl Boston: Ethnic Mosaic — How has federal empowerment zone funding helped Boston’s diverse but poor neighborhoods? Chicago: Farming on the Edge — As in many areas of the U.S., suburban Chicago just keeps expanding into the surrounding countryside.

25. Ethnic Fragmentation in Canada Vancouver: Hong Kong East — Prior to the Chinese takeover of Hong Kong, thousands of wealthy businessmen moved their families to Vancouver, causing a collision of cultures. What has happened since 1997? Montreal: An Island of French — Trying to preserve their culture, Quebec welcomes immigrants and pays to teach them French.

26. Regions and Economies Oregon: A Fight for Water — Native Americans and farmers compete for a scarce resource: water. U.S. Midwest: Spatial Innovations — In the U.S. Midwest, an influx of Japanese automakers has brought more than just new factories to this once-declining manufacturing region.

« Go Back

50 Years
A Million Thanks

Instructional Video Resources

Use our classroom videos for every curriculum and every grade level.


Lending Library

Access our lending library and order form for video titles for all grade levels and subject areas.

Education Services

Sign up for our monthly e-Newsletter

See our program schedules for our Block Feed and Lifelong Learning Channel


Lesson Plan Collections



Quick Links:

Bullying Resources

Common Core Resources

Inspiring Middle School Literacy

Instructional Programs


Links of Interest

Literacy Grant

Media Resources



ND Studies.org


PBS Kids

PBS Kids GO! Writers Contest

PBS LearningMedia

Professional Development

Read North Dakota

Ready to Learn



Teacher Training Institutes

The Teaching Channel

Workshops & Conferences



Dropped Programs

These programs have been dropped from the Instructional Resources offerings.


Find Us at the Following Events:

March 25-28: ND Assoc. of Secondary School Principals, Bismarck.
March 26:
Family Literacy Event, Rolette, ND.
March 26-28: ND Music Educators Assoc., Bismarck.
March 30: Family Literacy Event, Warwick, ND
April 10: Family Literacy Event, Devils Lake.
April 14: Family Literacy Event, Wahpeton-Breckenridge.
April 16-18: ND STEM Network Conference, Fargo, ND.
April 20: Family Literacy Event, Tate Topa, ND.
April 21: Family Literacy Event, Minnewaukan, ND.
April 23: Family Literacy Event, Dakota Prairie, McVille, ND.
April 23-25:
NDRA Reading Conference, Minot.
April 28: Family Literacy Event, Flasher, ND.
April 30: Family Literacy Event, SENDCAA, Fargo, ND.
May 29-31: Family Literacy Event at Devils Run, Devils Lake.