Five Themes of Geography Lesson Plan

Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has an Masters of Science in Mathematics and a Masters in Education

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.

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