What is Geography? - Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Use this lesson plan to introduce your students to geography. Zoom in on characteristics of physical and cultural geography, then play a fun game.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define geography and other key terms
  • categorize geography


  • 45 minutes


  • prepared 'true/false' questions on topics covered in lesson
  • index cards
  • craft sticks
  • glue
  • green and red crayons
  • poster board
  • art materials

Key Vocabulary

  • geography
  • Eratosthenes
  • physical geography
  • oceanography
  • meteorology
  • cultural geography
  • economic geography
  • political geography

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.4

Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 5 topic or subject area.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.1

Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.2

Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key details; summarize the text.


  • Engage students and connect to learning by asking them to do a three-minute brainstorm, writing all they know about geography. Share and discuss answers.
  • Tell students they will be watching a video about geography and learning about the different ways scientists categorize it. Review the term 'categorize' and other vocabulary terms for this lesson.
  • Share our video lesson What is Geography? - Definition, Facts & Types. Ask students to take notes as the video plays. Set them up for learning by having them prepare their notebooks with a space for definitions, and two sections labeled 'Physical Geography' and 'Cultural Geography.'
  • Check student notes and definitions to ensure understanding. Ask:
    • How is the study of geography broader than where things and people are?
    • Why do many think geography is the oldest of all sciences?
    • What aspects are included in geography?
    • What does a physical geographer study?
    • Why don't physical geographers study under the earth's surface?
    • What are some aspects of cultural geography?

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