October 24

Ten Ways Geography Prepares Students for Life


Use geography to help your students appreciate their world in these ten ways.

1. Prep your students for their future as adults

Sad to say, people in America have been proven to be ignorant of where places are! Challenge your students to be among those in the know!  Someday, in real jobs, having a sense of geography will set them apart from others!

2. Better understand the news

When events in the world seem to be far away, adding geography tidbits helps your students get savvy. They will follow news stories more closely if you ground them in places they can picture in their minds!

camel at sunset

3. See history in every place

When we know where a place is, we create connections that make history come alive. For instance– how did the Atlantic Ocean AND the Appalachian Mountains affect the Thirteen Colonies?   What physical features challenged those who went West to dig for gold?  Knowing things like this helps students envisions—and remember!—past events.

4. Appreciate old maps

As users of devices and the internet, students do not have an appreciation of the beauty– and cultural significance!– of historical maps. Open their eyes to this part of their graphic history!

Seeing maps as ART is a fun way to get started!

5. All course study relates to geography

Cross-learning! Give your students the gift of seeing connections.   When you study math, or science, is there a way to connect with PLACE? We learn that Newton understood gravity when he got hit on the head by an apple!  But WHERE did this happen?

Ground events in a place–  this adds color and depth to learning.

school books and apple

6. Understand distance and how it relates to time

“Are we there yet?” Geography gives students a better understanding of distance and the time it takes to travel these distances. Having a sense of distances is crucial to an understanding of the world—and it feeds into math skills too.

Do your students know how WIDE the USA is—how does that relate to the width of EUROPE?

Take a quick a trip around the world in your class, jumping from one continent to another, figuring out miles—then convert to kilometers (more math skills!)!

7. Reading becomes a travel log

When students read, a sense of place gives literacy study depth and color.

Have your students plot all their reading assignments on a map!

8. Learn where essential resources come from

The things that students need to live—do they know where they come from?  Food—what locales provide the milk, meat and veggies that show up on our dinner plates?  Power—what heats our homes and where does it come from? 

9. Planning trips and places to visit

What hobbies and interests do your students have?   Where could they imagine visiting to further their interests?  Thinking about faraway places, how they might fuel their own enjoyment– all about geography!


10. Help students see themselves in the world community

Last but not least, how do you inspire your students to see themselves as part of larger communities?

Seeing the world as ours to care for and contribute to, students open their eyes to their place in the world. Where can we work or study in the future?  Where can we make a difference? Where are the places that fire up our imaginations and make us yearn to learn more, and even travel…

geography in the classroom


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