Monday, November 16, 2015

Three Activities for Geography Awareness Week

This week is Geography Awareness Week. Yesterday, I posted a list of resources for teaching and learning about geography. Today, I have three activities that you can do with students to help them understand geography.

Create a map of art. 
Have your students create maps of art and artists around the world. Students can map the locations of where a piece of art is housed, where it was created, where the artist lived, and the places that inspired the artist. Each placemark on a student's map could include a picture of the artwork, a picture of the artist, and or a video about the art and artist. To provide a complete picture a student can include text and links to more information about the art and artist.

This project can be accomplished by using either Google's My Maps (formerly Maps Engine Lite), Google Earth Tour Builder, or Google Earth. My recommendation for teachers and students who are new to creating multimedia maps is to start out with either Google My Maps on a Chromebook or Google Earth Tour Builder on a Mac or PC. Click here for a tutorial on Google's My Maps service. Click here for a tutorial on Google Earth Tour Builder.

Learn about the geography of other places through Skype.
Use your online personal learning network to get in touch with a teacher in another part of the world and connect your classrooms. Have your students develop a list of questions that they have about the climate, plant life, and animals in the area around the other classroom.

Go Geocaching.
There is not a better way to learn about the geography around you than to go outside and explore. Geocaching is a fun way to learn about latitude and longitude while on the hunt for "hidden treasure." Jen Deyenberg wrote a great introduction to geocaching for teachers on this blog about four years ago. That post is still relevant. For a shorter overview of geocaching, watch the video below.