The sixth grade social studies curriculum is a geography-based course which introduces students to the physical and human geography of the world. Beginning with a spatial perspective, students explore different ways in which the earth has been represented, how geographers use specific tools and technologies in geographic inquiry, and some of the limitations of these tools. They investigate patterns of natural and human characteristics and use case studies to examine how the physical environment has provided both benefits and obstacles to human societies. In doing so, students explore how humans have used, adapted, or modified their environment and the consequences. Through the study of culture, cultural characteristics and cultural diffusion, students learn how culture both influences and affects people throughout the world in similar yet distinct ways. Students also consider globalization and its impact on economic and political institutions and people worldwide.