Friday, February 19, 2016

Another Six Helpful Resources for Teaching Geography

Those of you who are regular readers may know how much I love geography. I think maps are cool. (I was that geeky kid studying the maps in the back of the social studies book in elementary school...)

I'm always on the lookout for fun geography sites, tools, lesson ideas, and repositories, and I keep stashing them away when I come across them. In case you are interested, a few previous posts of geographic resources...
Eight Helpful Resources for Teaching Geography
Seven More Helpful Resources for Teaching Geography
And Six More Helpful Resources for Teaching Geography

Of course, it seems like there always another new one that crops up. So, in no particular order, here's my latest batch...

1. If It Were My Home - Would you like to compare where you live with somewhere else? It can be difficult to compare sized on the map; this site includes an overlay to compare two countries geographic areas. It also provides some helpful statistics for comparison of economic factors, public health, energy usage, and more. Finally, each country comparison provides a short summary of the "other place" (as compared to your home), which is helpful for capturing some of the essential facts about that nation in a nutshell. Lots of great ways to build geographic awareness here!

2. Sketchbook of a GPS Artist - This made me laugh so hard the first time I found it. (Thanks to @mental_floss for sharing it!) Stephen Lund is a Canadian artist, and his medium for this project is...his bicycle, and a GPS unit. He pedaled his bicycle in particular patterns through city streets, and captured his routes via GPS to create "doodles" via his route. I am particularly fond of his Darth Vader, the gigantic grasshopper, and his rendition of Michelangelo's David ('s a "nude" doodle...) Really interesting way to combine geographic awareness with art, and even physical education!

Image from Pretty amazing, isn't it?

3. Lizard Point Geography - There are many different map quiz games available online, of course, but Lizard Point has lots of them available: all the regions of the world, and within each region, nations, capitals, physical features, and even match-the-flag-to-the-nation, for some of them. Also, some quizzes on geographic terminology, and a weekly geography trivia quiz. Lots to explore here!

4. Yakko's Nations of the World Song - I remember seeing this bit on Animaniacs when it first came out in the 1990s. It's a fun video--"all the nations of the world in two minutes!" Of course...the world has changed since the 1990s, so that could be a way you might use this video with your students: what has changed in the world since this song was written? (There are quite a few "new" nations on the globe since then with some of the geopolitical changes in the 90s and 2000s.) Also, there are a few liberties taken in the song to make the rhythm and rhyme work out well, which might also be a fun challenge for the kids: "Which of these aren't actually nations of the world?" And, in case you are struggling to catch them all, here are the lyrics of the song, as well as some commentary about the errors/changes in the world.

5. Atlas Obscura - This site is a wonderful catalog of this weird world--interesting stories about people, places, and things that you might not otherwise come across in any other way. A good place to kill an hour or two, and come away enriched by the experience. You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram...

6. Bad Geography Jokes - Okay, to be fair, that isn't the actual title of the page...but it's descriptive. But you never know when you might need an awful geography pun, a horrible geography riddle, or a downright dastardly geography knock-knock joke. (Because, you could be that geography teacher...) Check 'em out...but don't say I didn't warn you...

Hope you enjoy these, whether for your students, or even for your own enjoyment and enrichment. And--as always--do feel free to share your own favorites below!

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