Ferris Bueller Project
Ferris Bueller’s Geographic Day Off
Directed by John Hughes. Running time: 103 minutes. 1996.
A sweet, warm-hearted comedy about a teenager who skips school so he can help his best friend win some self-respect.
The therapy he has in mind includes a day's visit to Chicago, and after we've seen the Sears Tower, the Art Institute, the
Board of Trade, a parade down Dearborn Street, architectural landmarks, a Gold Coast lunch and a game at Wrigley
Field, we have to concede that the city and state film offices have done their jobs: "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" works as a
Ferris is a bright high school senior from the North Shore who fakes an illness so he can spend a day in town with his
girlfriend, Sloane and his best friend, Cameron. At first, it seems as if skipping school is all he has in mind--especially
after he talks Cameron into borrowing his dad's restored red Ferrari, a car the father loves more than Cameron himself.
The rest of the movie is a lighthearted excursion through the Loop, including a German-American Day parade in which
Ferris leaps aboard a float, grabs a microphone and starts singing "Twist and Shout" while the marching band backs him
up. The teens fake their way into a fancy restaurant for lunch, spend some time gawking at the masterpieces in the Art
Institute, and go out to Wrigley Field, where, of course, they are late and have to take box seats far back in the left-field
corner. (The movie gets that detail right; it would be too much to hope that they could arrive in the third inning and find
seats in the bleachers.)
There is one great, dizzying moment when the teens visit the top of the Sears Tower and lean forward and press their
foreheads against the glass, and look straight down at the tiny cars and little specks of life far below, and begin to talk
about their lives. And that introduces, subtly, the buried theme of the movie, which is that Ferris wants to help Cameron
gain self-respect in the face of his father's materialism.
Ferris is, in fact, a bit of a philosopher. "Life goes by pretty fast," he says, "if you don't stop and look around, you might
He's sensitive to the hurt inside his friend's heart, as Cameron explains how his dad has cherished and restored the red
Ferrari and given it a place of honor in his life--a place denied to Cameron.
By Roger Ebert
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
The Five Themes of Geography
WHAT IS GEOGRAPHY?
Ferris Bueller’’s Day Off!
There are numerous definitions of geography, but geography is not just the memorization of
place names on a map. There are definitions of the field of geography in every social studies or
geography textbook, and students often try to grasp at a definition such as: "geography is the
study of . . . landscapes, mountains, maps, climates, rivers, and people.” However, while a
definition of the field certainly includes maps and mountains and regions and people, it is
essential for you to understand geography's unique way of understanding the world; you must
discover your own unique method of defining the essence of geography, and learn to apply the
tools of analysis that characterize the study of human geography in an entertaining and
In the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Ferris and his friends will skip school, and in the process leads
his friends through a travelogue of the city of Chicago. Through discussions, map exercises, and a
final report and debate, Ferris and yourself will showcase the definition of human geography and
demonstrate the five major themes of geography.
Geography is concerned with where and why things are located as they are. It is concerned with
the patterns of phenomena and the processes that created them. Therefore there is no special or
specific subject matter which it studies, but rather its subject matter is Earth, described and
explained using the spatial perspective. History is somewhat similar because its subject matter is
Earth in the historical perspective. The 1986 Guidelines for Geographic Education and the "Five
Themes of Geography."
- Relative Location
- Absolute Location
- Humans adapt to the environment
- Humans modify the environment
- Humans depend on the environment
- Perceptual (vernacular)
- Human Characteristics
- Physical Characteristics
Assign relative and absolute location.
Determine the significant characteristics of "place."
Describe a region in terms of culture, physical features, trade, industry.
List reasons why movement and trade are key events in the study of geography.
Understand that human actions modify the physical environment be able to explain significant humanenvironment interactions.
Use mental maps to organize information about people, places and environments in a spatial context.
Analyze the spatial organization of people, places and environments on the Earth's surface.
Describe the physical and human characteristics of places.
Gain an awareness of the characteristics, distribution, and movement of human populations on Earth's
Recognize the patterns and networks of economic interdependence on Earth's surface
Engage in the process of defending a position.
Part 1: Watch Ferris Bueller’’s Day Off
You will have five minutes to discuss the previous day’s segment at the beginning of each class
period. You should be following the adventures of Ferris on your map. You will have to go
online to discover the absolute location of some of the places depicted in the scenes of the movie.
Keep in mind that there are several different maps with different scales and intended users.
Part 2: Map The Day Off
In the film, Ferris and his friends will spend the day in Chicago. It is your job to track where and
when Ferris is during the course of the day with the expectation that you will be able to
conclusively prove whether or not Ferris could have done all the things he does in the film in real
A map depicting the travels of Ferris will help to shape and bolster the paper's validity and
reliability. The map must highlight the route Ferris and his friends take throughout his day off.
The map must be attached to the final paper. (Note: you may use more than one map; you could
use multiple scales to show the greater Chicago area as well as downtown Chicago)
Part 3: Closure Activity: Write A Paper
Consider the following question: Was the trip physically possible within the amount of time
given? After acquainting yourself with the movie, noting pertinent facts and evidence from the
film, and highlighting your maps of Chicago, you should be able to complete your arguments
about the viability of Ferris’ day trip. You must be prepared to present your evidence, and
identify thematic relationships to the themes of geography (example: Where is Ferris’ home and
school? How do you know that? Why are suburbs built? Why would Chicago have a German
day? Where did these immigrants come from and why?), and you must be able to back up your
arguments with evidence from the film.
The paper's grade will be based on your effort and ability to recognize, analyze, and use the tools
of geographic analysis on the film. Submit a type-written paper of no more than five pages
dealing with two critical issues:
1. Explain whether or not Ferris could have completed his trip in the time allotted. Give a
complete timeline of the days' events, and highlight three events/reasons why Ferris could/could
not complete his excursion in one day. All opinions must be completely backed up with facts and
figures. Graphs, charts, and other illustrations may be included - but are not required.
2. Explain the five key geographical concepts of location, place, interaction, movement, and
region using actual examples from the film. Use one example for each concept, and be complete
in the breadth of your explanation. Be sure to use the "geographic jargon".
Additional Elements - The font of the paper should be Times New Roman (size 12), with 1.5
spacing, and no more than 1" margins. Each paper must include a cover page with a title and at
least one graphic, a works cited page, and a section outlining the amount of work each member
of the partnership/triad contributed to final product.
Map of Chicago Landmarks
1 - Arlington Park Race Course
2 - Allstate Arena
3 - Sportsman's Park/Chicago Motor Speedway
4 - Northwestern U.
5 - United Center
6 - Wrigley Field
7 - US Cellular Field (Comiskey Park)
8 - Sears Tower
9 - Navy Pier
10 - Soldier Field/Field Museum/Shedd Aquarium
Downtown & Adjacent Areas
Per Capita Income Map For Chicago
Northbrook (Suburb of Chicago) Map
Chicago Neighborhood Types Map
Key: Ten neighborhood types are shown. For each neighborhood type, the following list includes:
- the neighborhood-type number;
- the T-scores on the four dimensions;
- a short name derived mechanically from the scores on the four dimensions; a two-letter code
(e.g., Ur for non-suburban) indicates a standard deviation from the mean of .5 to 1; a two-letter
code preceded by V (e.g., VWe for very well-off) indicates a standard deviation from the mean of
greater than 1 and less than 2.5; a double VV (e.g., VVWe) means a standard deviation of
greater than 2.5.
The ten neighborhood types are as follows:
1. (34.0 40.0 42.5 37.8). VUrPoNaVFe. Very urban, impoverished, English-speaking, with many
female-headed families and numerous children. The core impoverished African-American
neighborhoods of the South and West Sides. More than 1.5 standard deviations below the mean
on "urban" (dimension 1).
2. (47.0 43.2 44.1 43.5). PoNaFe. Somewhat impoverished, mostly English-speaking, with a fair
number of female-headed families with many children. Mostly African-American neighborhoods
on the edge of type-1 neighborhoods.
3. (41.5 45.6 59.7 50.6). UrIs. Somewhat urban and somewhat linguistically-isolated. Mostly bluecollar, often somewhat "ethnic" neighborhoods in the outer city and inner suburbs.
4. (40.0 62.7 48.9 68.7). UrVWeVNo. Very well-off neighborhoods with many non-family
households. Most of the North Side Lakefront, plus the area around the Loop, with outliers in
Hyde Park, Evanston, Oak Park, and a few suburban tracts with apartment building clusters.
5. (42.5 41.1 76.0 48.7). UrPoVVIs. Urban, impoverished, and very linguistically-isolated/Hispanic
(more than 2.5 standard deviations above the mean on the latter). Inner-city Hispanic
neighborhoods, mostly in Chicago, also in central Joliet, Aurora, Elgin, and Waukegan.
6. (38.6 48.6 61.4 58.8). VUrVIsNo. Very urban and very linguistically-isolated/Hispanic, with nonfamily households. The complicated, often only partly Hispanic, neighborhoods on the inner
Northwest and Far North Sides.
7. (40.0 65.4 46.2 89.4). UrVWeVVNo. Urban, very well-off, with a great many non-family
households (nearly 4 standard deviations above the mean on the latter). Neighborhoods with
numerous young, unmarried adults and hardly any children. The greatest concentration follows
Halsted Street from North Avenue to "Boys' Town." There are small outliers in Hyde Park,
Bucktown, the Near West Side, Evanston, and Oak Park. This type of neighborhood was not
distinguished in the analysis of 1990 data.
8. (57.6 47.9 45.5 50.3). Su. Suburban. Not especially wealthy. The outermost suburbs, the inner
southwest suburbs, and much of Northwest Indiana.
9. (59.3 58.5 46.1 48.6). SuWe. Suburban, well-off. More prosperous suburbia. Concentrated
especially in the western and northwestern suburbs.
10. (60.5 76.3 44.7 45.3). VSuVVWeNa. Very suburban, very wealthy, mostly English-speaking.
Highly prosperous suburbia; more than 2.5 standard deviations from the mean on wealth. Mostly
in northern Cook and southern Lake Counties, with some outliers in DuPage County.
Ferris Bueller’s Dance Off! http://www.tvdance.com/ferrisbueller/