Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Interconnected Earth

The Earth is a complex, interconnected system that can more easily be understood using a geographic perspective. Geography can make sense of how things like climate, weather, oceans, and physical landforms interact to make the world we inhabit the unique place that it is and influence how we live.

National Geographic Education provides some interesting lessons plans to explore some of the Earth’s physical geography:

  • This lesson introduces 6th -8th grade students to the physical geography of Europe.
  • Explore extreme weather with 2nd-5th grade students in this lesson.
  • High school students can learn about the world’s ocean in this lesson.
  • Learn how the ocean and weather interact and how El Niño and La Niña work in this lesson for 7th -12th graders. 
  • Learn about plate tectonics and geology with this activity for 3rd-8th graders. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What can you do with geography?

Want to know what your students can do with geography?

You can also explore some real-world geography careers with National Geographic's Real-World Geography collection.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Explore Human-Environment Interactions on China’s Yangtze River

The Yangtze River is the longest river in China and one of the longest rivers in the world. It has played a major role in the historical, cultural, and economic development of China. The river itself flows through many different ecosystems and is home to many different species of wildlife, including some endangered species.

In 2012, construction of the Three Gorges Dam, the largest of its kind in the world, was completed on the Yangtze. The implications of this construction for the people and land surrounding the Yangtze are explored in the PBS film “Up The Yangtze” by filmmaker Yung Chang.

PBS Learning Media has provided an excellent teaching resource using clips from the film and support materials to show one family’s interaction with the Three Gorges Dam.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Using Geography to escape a zombie apocalypse

TED-Ed is a free global educational website that provides videos and customizable lessons for all sorts of topics. All you need is a computer and an internet connection.

In his lesson, educator David Hunter presents a unique way to explore population geography and migration—escaping the zombie apocalypse!

Further Reading: This BBC Bitesize article is a good source of background information on migration and push and pull factors. It is geared toward the United Kingdom but provides great universal information.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Teaching Ideas

Want to incorporate more geography lessons into your classroom but don’t know how? Consider these options:

  • Teacher Vision is a great online source of ideas. While Teacher Vision is subscription based, they offer five free printable resources and a free-trial. Lessons range from strictly US and world geography to incorporating geography into other subjects, like earth science, math, and language arts.

  • The Library of Congress has a wide selection of online maps and geography resources that can make their way into the classroom. Online maps can help with spatial understanding, and there is even a link to an online “Earth as Art" exhibit using Landsat aerial images.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Geography and the Holidays

It’s the holiday season again! The geography of a place can be a huge influence on holiday traditions from food to folklore.

ESRI put together a fun story map showing how the story of Santa Claus has evolved over time and place. This can be a great way to introduce and discuss regional differences with younger students. Learner’s Online put together a convenient e-resource to provide background information on prominent winter holidays around the globe that can be used in conjunction with ESRI's story map.

Scholastic also offers thematic social studies resources to explore winter holiday traditions in the classroom. These resources include lesson and unit plans for K-8 grades on everything from Christmas to Hanukkah to Diwali, including how to plan your own multicultural holiday celebration for elementary school students.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Geography of Food: Food Transporation

You notice the food in front of you, but have you ever wondered how your food got here?  Although it may not seem like it, we are all connected around the world through various means.  One way in which we are all connected is food.  But, food grown across the globe must somehow find its way back to you.  Food is transported through various means including: ship, airplane, train, and truck.

Activity:  Pick a food item you eat on a regular basis.  Look at the label on this item to see where it comes from.  Track the trip of the food from its origins to your plate.

Educational Links: http://www.foodmiles.com/


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Geography of Food: Food Growing Seasons

Farmers are able to grow and produce many food products during the year for us.  Do you know that there are specific growing seasons for food?  Right now, we are in the Autumn Season for growing food- this season lasts until November.  This growing season means that foods such as: squash, pears, apples, cherries, and pumpkins are in season.

Activity: What are your favorite foods?  Are they in season right now? Use the links below to map out where your favorite foods are grown and indicate if they are in season.

The links below give you a better understanding of what foods the US produces during the various growing seasons and what foods are in season.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Geography of Food: Learning with the Peace Corps

The Peace Corps is perhaps the most well-known international service organization of the United States. Its stated mission is “to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals: to help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women; to help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served; to help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans”.

Peace Corps volunteers can be excellent resources for geographic understanding, including understanding the food of a different culture. Since we may not all know a Peace Corps volunteer, the organization has put together lesson plans to help promote cross-cultural understanding.

Cuisine and Etiquette in Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia explores how mealtime manners can shed light on cultural norms. This activity is intended for 3rd through 5th graders.

What Can Food Tell Us About a Place? uses a Peace Corps volunteer’s experience in Tongren, China to foster discussion about China’s food traditions and regional differences as compared to the United States. This activity can be used for 3rd through 12th graders.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Geography of Food: Urban Agriculture

How can you farm in the city? There is movement occurring across the globe of utilizing vacant areas and spaces for agriculture.  With urban agriculture, one can reconnect with the Earth and the growing cycles of food.

The links below give you further insight into the growing field of urban agriculture.
Further Reading: