Central American Geography Games

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Learning the geography of Central America does not have to be dull! The games in this lesson will get your students actively engaged in understanding this complicated and interesting region.

Why Geography Games?

The geography of Central America is interesting and complicated. All too often, students go into the study of geography assuming it will be boring. It is true that it can be dull to simply study a map and answer rote questions. However, geography can be truly fascinating and empowering for students to understand. Games help bring the study of geography to life and increase students' motivation, as well as their level of excitement. The games in this lesson are designed to get your students more involved in their knowledge of Central American geography.

Make a Map

Your students might have looked at the Central American map, but have they had the chance to design their own? Provide art supplies, and make a contest of it. Students will have to consider scale, direction, and attributes of the map closely as they make their own. Assign a few students to be judges and assess their classmates' maps for accuracy, neatness, and beauty. Display the maps in the hall for other students in your school to admire!

Pageant of Countries

In this game, you will break your students up into small groups. Assign each group to one country in Central America and have them research the geography of that country. They should learn things like the capital, major cities, natural resources, languages spoken, species present, bodies of water, and so on. Then, have each team create an advertisement for the country they are responsible for. Let them perform their ads and enjoy discovering what their classmates have learned. To make it into a game, you can have them vote on which country they would most like to visit based on the ads they have seen.

Geography Jeopardy

For this game, create five categories about Central American geography. Categories might include countries and capitals, land forms, bodies of water, natural resources, directions from here to there, spelling of geographic terms, and more. For each category, create five questions of increasing difficulty. Post questions in grid form upside down on a white board, or projected via a Smartboard. Break your class into teams; let each team take turns selecting questions. If they answer appropriately, they get the number of points corresponding to the question. You can modify this game by letting students create the jeopardy game themselves.

Getting From Here to There

This game is fun to play outside or in a gym. You will want to create, or have your students create, a large chalk or masking tape outline of the map of central America. Have a student stand blindfolded in one part of the region. Then, students take turns directing them to another part of the region. For instance, the class might be helping the students get from Panama to El Salvador. Students will need to practice using terms to provide directions and will increase their familiarity with the map.

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