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Geography Essential Questions

Instructor: Clio Stearns

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

In teaching geography, it is important to develop essential questions that will guide your instruction. This lesson offers you essential questions that will help you design your curriculum and individual lesson plans.

The Purpose of Essential Questions

The teaching of geography is an important aspect of the broader subject of social studies. When students have a good understanding of the principles of geography, they can interpret history more effectively. They can also understand the development of human civilizations, and the relationship between people and the natural world.

When teaching geography, it's important to not only ask students comprehension questions, but also to have some essential questions that resist concrete or simple answers. Essential questions are those conceptual queries that function as the foundation of your instruction. You may never ask your students these questions directly, but you will hold them in the back of your mind as you plan lessons and experiences. Essential questions get at the fundamental understandings you hope students will achieve at the end of a unit of study.

The essential questions in this lesson will help you teach geography. This is not a comprehensive list of essential questions, since the questions that guide you will be personal to your students and curriculum. However, this list will help you get a feel for what essential questions look like in the context of geography instruction.

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