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Teaching Children Geography: Strategies & Tools

Instructor: Derek Hughes
Geography can be an interesting subject to teach and learn. This lesson will provide some strategies and tools you can use to engage your young students in Geography.

What Is Geography?

Learning about our planet, the land masses on it, the features of different environments, and the people and their interactions with the environments can be incredibly fascinating and eye-opening for young people. All of those features fall under the study of Geography. By using engaging strategies and exciting tools, you can open your students' minds up to a world they never knew existed.

Bring the Material Home

Your students may find it difficult to relate to some of the concepts you will teach in Geography; especially if these concepts concern areas of the world your students have never seen or heard of before. Therefore, when teaching Geography, it is best to design lessons and activities that help students relate to the material.

For example, if you are teaching about the migration of a certain group of people, you can choose from several ways to drive that material home for students. For example, many of your students probably go on a vacation once a year or have been on vacation before. Relate migration to the idea that many people go to a certain area during the summer. This will help students understand the reasons behind the migration of people in the past.

Helping students relate to concepts in Geography will engage them in learning.

Another time you might be teaching your students about different landforms. Take, for example, mountain ranges. If you are teaching in a relatively flat area of the country, some of your students may never have seen mountains in person before. To help them relate, you can use something in their immediate community as an example, such as a hill or dirt mound. Explain to students that mountains are much, much larger than dirt mounds when placed next to one another.

Tourism Presentations

When teaching Geography, you will be teaching your students about a lot of different areas, including countries, states, cities, and provinces. Simply lecturing about these different areas will help your students memorize information about these places, but they will not really learn much about the world. Therefore, a useful project to use would be a tourism presentation.

In this activity, students are assigned an area of the world (country, continent, state, city, province, etc.) to research. They can then create a presentation, poster, or brochure about their assigned area, designed to attract people to that area of the world. You are the one to determine what kind of information you'd like in the posters, so you can vary it as students complete more of these kinds of projects.

Your students might need help doing research at first, so you will have to guide them. Then, after they've had some practice, they'll be able to conduct research on their own. This is a skill they can carry over to other activities, including more topics in Geography, so it's worth it to take the time to guide your students.

Virtual Field Trips

You have most definitely heard of a field trip. Those times of the year when you pile your classes into a bus and go somewhere that you think is exciting but that they might not quite feel the same way about. However, what if I told you that you are not limited to taking a trip to places near your school? What if I told you that you could take a field trip anywhere on Earth?

Technology can be an incredibly useful tool for helping students see other parts of the world.

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