The world has certainly gotten smaller when the access to television and the internet is just a click of a button away, transporting us to places beyond our home. How important is it for your daughter or son to know geography? I think it is essential in order for her/him to have a sense of place. We are a global community and when your child meets someone from a different part of the world or watches a program, they can have a general sense of where this is located. It is a distinct possibility that your child will travel outside of the country at some point. If not the country, certainly away from your home.lol Just in my family alone, both of my sons and all of my adult nieces and nephews and their spouses have all traveled or lived abroad. We didn’t intentionally set out to have our children do this, but I think opportunity, curiosity, and a sense of adventure and/or purpose is what propelled them to do it.
I like to teach geography by beginning with where we live. I have two activities using technology that I am sure your family is going to love.
It’s fun to use Google Maps. Begin by typing in your home address. It’s a little startling to see your home appear on the screen, but once you get used to it, you can rotate the image and see your neighbor’s house, you can go up or down the street, and you can even go across the street. Zoom out a little and talk about your city, continue expanding further and further, so that you see the state, the country, the world. You could do this for quite awhile since I am certain that your daughter will want to look at other locations such as grandparents’ and friends’ homes. You can also type in a landmark and see pictures of places throughout the world. If you can’t go to Parsi next week and climb the Eiffel Tower, you can do it from the comfort of your home while eating croissants and reading Madeline. You don’t know about her? You can learn all about her by clicking HERE. 🙂
When Malcolm lived in Germany we could see the places he talked about and it gave me a sense of peace and also a bit more of feeling connected to him since I could now visualize the places when we spoke. With Ian currently living in Japan, I am able to see his apartment building, the neighborhood grocery store he tells us about, and the busiest intersection in the world that he and his wife cross several times a day. However, I don’t like to look at the world map and see where he is because I can “see” that he is literally on the other side of the planet from me. 😦
Geography can be quite interesting when students can make connections between themselves and people and locations different from that which they are familiar. When you go to the zoo, an amusement park, or a museum, etc., pick up a map and study it. Give your son real-life experiences of using maps and then applying that information by asking him to pick a location to go to and allow him to guide you there using the map. If it isn’t right, retrace your steps or make a course correction. What a great way to incorporate school into everyday experiences.
Geocaching is a fun way to learn about geography. By using the app and the map coordinates, you and your daughter go on treasure hunts. How fun is that?? There are literally geocaches around the world. You can also find them close to your home or you can create your own for others to find. Here is the website to find out more about it: Geocaching
Have a great week exploring and learning about the world around us!