Five Themes of Geography Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

Use this lesson plan to help your students define geography and its five themes. Then put students' new knowledge to work by playing a game that identifies characteristics of each geographical theme.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • define key terms
  • list the five themes of geography
  • identify characteristics of the five themes of geography


  • 1 hour


  • 5 pieces of chart paper spread out in the room
  • Envelopes, one for each student pairing
  • Characteristics of the 5 themes of geography, cut into strips of paper (see below)
  • Glue

Key Vocabulary

  • Geography
  • Absolute location
  • Relative location
  • Region

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.7

Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs, videos, or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.6-8.4

Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics.


  • Show our video lesson What Are the Five Themes of Geography?.
  • Pause at 00:45 seconds. Discuss:
    • What is the purpose of geography?
    • Geography explores what kinds of relationships?
    • How does the field of geography enhance our lives?
  • Play the remainder of the video.
  • With your students, label each chart with one of the five themes of geography. Write a definition and provide an example. Briefly discuss the characteristics of each theme.


  • Give each student pairing a glue stick and an envelope that contains several characteristics of geography themes on strips of paper. For example: an address, climate change, mountains, trains, and Boston.
  • Instruct students to determine under which geography theme the term belongs. Pairings then race to glue their strips to the correct chart.
  • When all groups are finished, visit each chart and determine accuracy. Discuss choices and evaluate with students. Ask them to defend their thinking.


  • Divide the students into five groups. Give each group one of the five geography theme charts and allow them to illustrate with pictures and graphics.
  • For homework, have each student create a five-column chart with each geography theme labeled. Fill in at least two examples from their home lives. For example, under 'Location,' they can put their home address and soccer practice; under 'Place,' they could list mountains or hills. Share in class.
  • Study the five geography themes from the past. Compare and contrast to the present. Imagine future geography themes.

Related Lessons

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.