Geography lessons today are more important than ever. As our world becomes more globalized, it’s crucial for kids to understand the places on Earth and their relationship with each other. It provides context about where we live and how we relate to people around us. It sparks curiosity about other cultures. And, ultimately, teaches that we are all connected.
So don’t let your geography lessons fall flat. Here are some inspired projects that go above and beyond your classroom’s globe.
Build a new way to view the world with Google Earth. A virtual globe, Google Earth’s ability to display a world map without distortion can shed light on why Greenland has always looked so big! Introduce your students to the amazing tools and features of Google Earth while comparing cartographer renditions of the world to a virtual version. Explore the world and its structures and ask 20 questions.
Combine geography and self-exploration with autobiographical island maps. After completing an autobiographical survey, students choose symbols and use their map studies to create an artistic representation of their life in the form of an island.
Use a compass to find your way. Before there was an app for that, travelers used a compass to find their way. Introduce your students to orienteering with this awesome activity. With a short video, reading activity, and discussion questions, you can teach your students how to find their way the old-fashioned way.
Learn how the world’s first metro system was built. Railroads united the world like nothing before it. Now able to travel longer distances more quickly and safely, industry and culture exploded in the early 19th century. Video and discussion resources can be customized to fit your classroom needs.
Make a contour map. Topography is often a difficult topic for students to understand. Contour lines, meant to represent the highs and lows of an area on the map, don’t always translate to young students’ minds. By creating their own 3D version with drawing paper, clay, different colored markers, fishing line, and a pencil, students can kinesthetically create a topographical map that makes sense!
Geography Bingo! This activity from the New York Times challenges students to find examples of how geography relates to our world every day using national geography standards. A great online scavenger hunt for one class — or a semester-long project — add a little competition to learning more about the world.
Teach the 5 themes of geography using the newspaper. Full of class, group, and individual activities, this unit of study can be used as a whole, or as individual lessons to supplement your current curriculum. Requiring students to gather examples beyond the textbook will help them connect everyday life with the study of the world.
Understand Environmentalism: Then and now. Give students a better understanding of the history of the conservation movement with this activity. Developed for high school, students will document the development of conservation over time through research and a culminating essay.
Help your students conquer the world by giving them the learning experiences that will truly engage their interests and solidify their sense of interconnectedness!