Can you place the U.S. on a world map? Not so hard, right? Now name and locate all fifty states. Still fine? Go ahead and add their capitals followed by major mountains, rivers, national parks, indigenous tribes, and major crops. A little overwhelmed?
Geography Awareness Week kicked off November 16, and encourages students, teachers, and families to embrace a greater understanding and practice of geography. Throughout the week, students are encouraged to engage in lessons and activities that stimulate and enhance their knowledge of the natural, cultural, and historic riches on Earth.
The Society’s own Geography Action! team promotes the importance of geography education in schools by providing teachers with the free materials to guide their lessons on geography. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of their Mapping the Americas Toolkit, and it provides resources and lesson plans for activities on topics ranging from tectonic plates to indigenous languages as well as a pull-out poster and informational CD packed with useful tools.
For more mapping action, check out the new Geography Awareness Week website. It features access to “geo-tours” of Google Earth, tools for exploring the world’s cultures and environments, and insight into geotechnologies and careers. And for day-to-day updates on your place in the world, visit Nat Geo’s My Wonderful World Blog.