North 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 about geography does not have to be boring! You can enrich your students' learning and help them with their memories by playing games. The games in this lesson will get your students excited about learning North American geography.

Why Geography Games?

Too often, geography gets a reputation as something that is boring to learn. This does not have to be the case! Geography can be a fascinating field, allowing students to learn how to read the map and understand how different places in the world connect to one another. Geography is at the root of many other aspects of social studies, so it is important for students to feel motivated to learn it. A great way to encourage your students to enjoy geography is by playing games. Games keep learning light hearted and fun, and they can help with memory as well. The games in this lesson are specifically designed to get your students learning the geography of North America.

Games for Remembering the Map

One of the most important aspects of geography is learning to read, remember, and use maps. The games in this section familiarize students with the map of North America.

  • Jigsaw Puzzles

Take a section of the map of North America that students are familiar with. Photocopy it onto card stock, and cut it into jigsaw pieces. Have students work in teams to reassemble the map, all the while talking with their group about the ways the map fits together and how they can remember this.

  • North American Pizza Delivery

In this game, your students will imagine that they are running a pizza delivery service that operates all through North America! Put students in partnerships. Partner A holds a map of North America, and Partner B does not. Partner B decides where in North America he is stationed and tells Partner A. Then, Partner A tells Partner B where he is ordering a pizza from. Partner B should describe exactly which way he will go in order to deliver the pizza, including what state or national boundaries he will cross. Partner A verifies his directions on the map, and then they switch roles.

Capital Match-Up

Often, it is important for students to remember the capitals of the states and countries in North America. Create one set of cards with names of states and countries, and a separate set of corresponding capitals. Time students to see how quickly they can appropriately match- up the cards.

Games for Land Forms and Natural Resources

Learning about the land forms and natural resources of North America helps students appreciate the natural diversity of this continent.

  • Landform Model

Give teams of students clay and instruct them to choose a section of North America to build a model of. They should incorporate at least three different landforms in their model, such as mountains, lakes, rivers or plains. Let students judge each other's models based on criteria you have agreed on as a class.

  • Natural Resources Hands Up

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