TeachersFirst's Geography Awareness and Exploration Resources
There are many ways to view and learn about our world: maps, statistics, photographs, narratives, interactive navigation systems, and mobile apps. Exploring geography and seeing relationships between natural resources, maps, landforms, climate, and human activity can seem overwhelming. TeachersFirst's editors selected these "editors choice" resources to inspire interest and explorations of world geography in any classroom from kindergarten through high school. If you would like to see more, try browsing our full database of resources appropriate for learning geography or use our keyword search (at the left of this page) to search a specific geography term. Use the keyword search options and filter by grade level to narrow your choices.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomHook students into geography (and more) with these challenges. Study the quiz questions as a model and create quizzes/activities of your own about geography related to a region you are studying. Use previous quizzes as a contest in geography class. Use them as examples for students when studying different countries, and have students determine what they would feature in their own quizzes. Use in math class to determine proportions by drawing maps or ratios. Have students create similar quizzes using Google Maps, challenging classmates to answer questions about areas, perimeters, and even shapes.
Grades5 to 12
In the ClassroomDisplay Spacehopper on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to practice problem-solving skills along with geography and map skills. First review how Street View tools work. (Why not allow a student emcee to operate it?) Have students research locations and and modify their learning by creating an annotated map image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Have students create their own location mysteries and associated questions to put on their Thinglink map image. Or have theme simply "drop" a placemarker in Google Maps and write clues and questions to accompany the placemarker url so classmates can figure out why the location is important. Mysteries could include home ports of explorers, locations of major landforms, environmental disaster sites, author homes, or any location that places your curriculum "on the map." In world language classes, have students write the hints in their new language as they introduce cultural locations related to the language.
Such a cool way to have interactive geography questions for the whole group.Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12
Grades7 to 12
In the ClassroomThese maps are perfect for use on an interactive whiteboard. If you are teaching World War I, these maps need to be among your "go to" bookmarks for illustrating important highlights about the War. Consider also providing a link to the maps as part of materials students can access to learn more, as extra challenge, or for independent or group projects. The maps illustrating important technology first used in World War I will fascinate students who enjoy learning how things work. Have students create a multimedia project about the aspects of WWI that fascinate them most.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomShare this tool and compare locations on your interactive whiteboard or projector as you study geography, economics, or government. Ask students what items are important to look at in a city where they plan to live. Then ask them the same thing about a city where they plan to vacation. Have students make online "tours" to compare their choice of three cities using Stoodle reviewed here. Share cities as part of a world language class to discuss the economic and statistical differences in different cultures. Use data from this site in math classes for students to compare, contrast, and manipulate real world data.
GradesK to 12
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In the ClassroomUse Free Map Tools to add interest to any social studies or math lessons. Learn about area in math by locating homes or businesses on the map, and determining the area that would need to be shoveled during each winter. Find the distance between any two points (home and the pizza place?) and compare that distance to actual driving distance. Want to know what is directly underneath you on the globe? Have students make a prediction. Then use the Map Tunneling Tool to find out if the predictions were correct. Use throughout the year for any number of purposes! You will want to share this one on your class web page for quick access when questions come up.
Grades8 to 12
In the ClassroomA great classroom discussion starter, and perfect for displaying on an interactive whiteboard, the Better Life Index allows students to consider and debate what makes for a "better life." And once (or if) they can reach a consensus on those factors, where could that life be found in the world? Of course, once you discover that people are healthiest, for example, in Australia, what does that mean? Why are they healthy there? What community, government, and institutional factors make Australia healthy? Do they make choices other countries don't? This is a wonderful tool for guiding discussion about the public policy decisions made by citizens and governments, and how those decisions affect the quality of life. It would also provide powerful information for persuasive writing or debates. If you talk about utopias and dystopias, this is another way for students to decide what the criteria are for each. If you study world cultures, this site can provide a whole different lens to promote crosscultural understanding. Assign students to compare and contrast factors that matter most to them across multiple countries. Gifted students who are designing an "ideal civilization" can find meaningful data here to use as part of their plans.
Grades6 to 12
In the ClassroomAs climate change's effect is being seen on every region of the Earth, this site is a great resource for finding accurate information and figures. Share this site in conjunction with your science curriculum as well as in government, current events, and geography classes. Click on one of the specific regions of the Earth or choose from the various topics in the icons along the bottom. Divide the World's seven regions among student groups in class. View the various impacts including undernourishment, population, dietary change, food waste, climate impact on crops, disasters, mitigation, and adaptation. Have groups present their regions to the class. View the comparisons by region by choosing one of the various impacts. Click the Climate Impact on People icon and view the infographic information as a class using a whiteboard or projector. Use the information presented to view the source material and understand the science behind the numbers. Use these facts as a springboard to further discussions about climate change impacts. Talk about what governments can do both proactively and in response to the changes. Besides the really large ways to cut carbon emissions, what are the little things others can do to make a difference? Begin a grassroots campaign to make small changes. The many infographics on this site provide valuable experience reading and understanding graphic presentation of information as required by Common Core.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomThis site is perfect for your projector or interactive whiteboard. Studying the Battle of Gettysburg? Access a photograph of Abraham Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address simply by searching for Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. Wondering what your town or state looked like 50 or 100 years ago? See what images have been uploaded for places near you. Taking a field trip? Compare the "Then/Now" views and find the actual spot the photograph was taken and from what vantage point. Wondering what a famous person in history saw when she looked out her window or travelled around her town? Check to see what Sepia Town images are available for that time period or geographic area. How have cities grown and changed over the past 100 years? What factors lead to those changes? What do you see in the images that you would not see today? A horse drawn delivery truck? What don't you see? Power lines? Sepia Town is one of those sites that can simply be enjoyed by accessing random views and using those images as a platform for discussion or discovery. Be sure to include this when learning about local or state history! Ask students to explore and list the changes they find to bring back and share with the class. Students can take screenshots of the same site at two different time periods and put them onto a presentation slide they can explain orally or put them on a class wiki along with an explanation of how and why things have changed.
Grades4 to 12
In the ClassroomIf you teach geography, this one is a must. It is also helpful for showing students WHERE a story or news event takes place. Teach map skills by letting students explore and annotate their own community. This site is great on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Create multiple markers for various points within your community. Annotate the markers with specific information that students research. Remember to create an admin password (and save it somewhere safe!) for others to collaborate on the map. Research various places around the world, and create markers of must-see places, historical finds, and other locations of interest. Create a map of news hot spots around the world. In Biology, find places where environmental or biodiversity concerns are occurring. Collaborate on a map to include annotated information of student research about these problems. Create a map to introduce various cultures around the world. Enter video, audio, information, and links that students can use to "uncover" the content to be learned.
Grades3 to 12
In the ClassroomUse Next Exit History for either primary or secondary information on any location for social studies, history, or even literature study. Use this tool as an example for a multimedia presentation or map drawing of state history or study about any geographic location. After reading The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty Birney, discover the wonders of your school, community, or state. Plan culminating projects where students create their own Google Earth Map (reviewed here). Create placemarker guides to your community using Next Exit History as an example. Be sure to share this link on your class website for instant reference.
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomAllow your students to explore a virtual LEGO playground without having to keep the plastic bins organized! Create a whole class account if your students do not have their own emails or use the Gmail sub account trick explained here. Challenge them to see how large a building they can build with only a limited number of bricks. Have your students build two dimensional tessellations or something that represents a geometric shape. Teach basic math concepts such as volume or multiplication by counting brick units. Your students can select a place in the world to build and research the architectural designs associated with that location. Challenge your students to build a design to fit that geographic environment. Encourage your students to locate and research different historical monuments or buildings around the world and recreate them using the virtual LEGO bricks. Have your students research the ecology and climate of where they are building. Your students can construct creations for humans or animals that live in that ecosystem. Integrate writing with your students Build with Chrome creations. Have them write descriptions and explanations of their designs. Your students can also write stories about events that may have occurred at the building they created. Assign your students different regions around the world and challenge them to build a cultural center for the area. Use the Google Maps interface to travel around the world as students use Swipe, reviewed here, to extend their learning and present information of their Build with Chrome building and the culture. Create your own town with the buildings created by your students. Create a newspaper for your town using a site such as Printing Press, reviewed here. This is a great tool for cross-grade activities in a gifted program or sharing among students in several schools.
This is a great idea. My school has a lego club and this would be great for the students.Lorraine, VA, Grades: 1 - 3
GradesK to 12
In the ClassroomUse this resource when discussing various animal units or a unit on behavior. When discussing a country or culture in history, consider playing various soundscapes to identify with the culture. Be sure to provide this link for students when reporting on a culture in front of the class. Students can play the soundscapes while presenting information on the culture (turn up your speakers!). Compare different types of animals around the world. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to compare two different types of animals. Students can brainstorm similarities and differences and follow this activity with research into the various species. In lower grades, play soundscapes during classroom read-alouds about the animals or places in the recording. Make the Soundscapes site a listening/writing center in your elementary science classroom and ask your young scientists to describe what they hear as they learn about making observations as scientists.
Grades4 to 6
In the ClassroomUse this site as a learning station or center. Allow students to play on your interactive whiteboard. Use Google Maps to locate countries and their capitals after trying the activity. Challenge students to increase accuracy percentages and number of correct answers per minute. Encourage your students to learn more about geography with Globetracker's Mission.
Grades3 to 7
In the ClassroomUse this site as an introduction to longitude and latitude. Share the activity on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Ask students to find coordinates for other locations on this map. If the music is distracting, click the little speaker icon to turn it off.
Grades2 to 12
In the ClassroomTeacher-librarians can use this to inspire research or non-fiction reading by embedding it in their website or displaying it on a computer in the media center! Use this site to learn drawing inferences about each of the places visited. Use the images as a class or in groups to determine where in the world it is located using clues from the picture. You will want to "hide" the location that shows in the top left corner. This is a great introduction into culture, building, design, etc. Project an image on an Interactive Whiteboard as a prompt for a short story, poem, or essay inspired by the image. Share an image as your students enter the classroom as the daily "travel mystery." Give your students 2-3 minutes of time to investigate WHERE the image is from. Brainstorm how the image is related to a story being discussed in class, a unit of study, or parallels to our culture. What creatures and cultures would be seen in this place? Ask and answer interesting questions related to the images. Teachers of gifted can use these images to inspire creation of text-based games to take place in these settings using descriptive writing and a tool such as Quest, reviewed here, or Playfic, reviewed here.
Very cool, easy to use site for when you have a few minutes. I think the age range could be k-12 as my 4 year old loved seeing where the door would take us. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because it is really hard to get back to a place that you previously visited.Diane, PA, Grades: 0 - 4