The following activities and resources will help you teach geography to your students.
World Event Tracker (Group)
Pay attention to some of the more important events that are happening around the globe: Wars, earthquakes, typhoons or hurricanes, terrorist attacks, festivals, elections, and so on. Clip or print an article on each story you find. Sit down in group and show kids each article while summarizing what it’s about and where it is happening, then find that area of the world on a globe or wall map (or ask any of the kids if they can find it for you).
This activity is a great way to teach kids about world geography, because attaching a story with an otherwise meaningless spot on the map helps bring this subject to life and makes it interesting. With older age groups, hang each article up on the wall afterwards so that they can read about it in further detail if they’d like. Do a couple of these stories every group time, and before you know it your kids will be familiar with world geography without them even realizing they were learning!
World News File Folder Game (Cognitive/Language)
Grades 2 through 6
Look through old newspapers over a month or so and clip various articles from around the world, preferably ones that have pictures and feature human interest stories revolving around people, the earth or the environment.
Next, get 7 file folders, and label each one with the name and picture of a continent. (You can print our Earth Continent Table Labels and tape them to the front.) Set the folders and clippings out at a table, and have children go through the different stories, sorting them geographically and placing them into the correct folder.
Geographical Detective (Group)
Look through old magazines (National Geographic or travel magazines are perfect for this), and pull out a dozen or so pictures from places all over the world. On the back of each picture, record the exact location where that scene was taken from. They can be pictures of landscapes, people, cities or towns, or a combination thereof.
In group time with your kids, show them each picture one at a time and have them use clues from the picture to play detective and try to figure out it’s location. What is the weather? What are the people dressed like? What is the style of the buildings? What types of vegetation can be seen? As they make guesses based on these clues, guide them along with simple yes or no answers until they narrow it down to as close as they are likely to come to the precise location. Then tell them the answer, and find it on a map together before going on to the next picture.
Where am I (Group)
In this simple group time game, you think up a location in your mind and then give children a hint: I’m very far away / It’s very cold here / People come here to climb my famous mountain. Then have the kids shout out guesses while you tell them whether they are getting “warmer” or “colder” (i.e., closer or farther away from a correct answer). If they don’t guess correctly after a minute or two, give them another clue: They call me Green, but there’s not much green here / I’m part of the U.S. Continue offering clues and guiding children until they come up with the correct answer.
Product Tracker (Group)
In today’s interconnected world, the products we use come from all over the globe. Use this fact to learn about geography by having kids go home and hunt for items that were made in different countries. Then have them bring in a sample or two each day over the course of several weeks to present to the class.
Start by holding up each item and asking kids to guess where it came from. After they correctly guess (or if they fail to guess correctly after a minute or two, tell them the answer), find that country on a globe or a wall map. Keep a running tally of the different products and the countries they come from on a sheet of paper on the wall. After the first couple of days make it a game to see who can find items from countries that aren’t yet represented, or new items which aren’t yet on your list from those countries you already have.