Many parents, teachers and educational institutions zero in on teaching reading, mathematics, science and technology. Although these subjects play a crucial part in overall learning, they're not the only ones that contribute to a well-rounded education.
One of the subjects that kids should learn is geography. According to a survey published in Forbes, 62 percent of teachers believe that learning geography is extremely important.
Thorough knowledge of geography is vital for kids to understand their place in the world. It also helps them learn how history, climate, cultural and political systems interact and operate.
Simply asking children to read aloud places and names on a map isn't fun. If you're a teacher looking to make this subject interesting for the little ones, consider following these teaching suggestions:
1. Develop a Digital Geography Game
You could create a simple computer program or mobile app that teaches kids about the world around them. You can come up with the concept and then outsource game art and development to the professionals. An example is to make a game that reinforces knowledge of state capitals and locations. Making geography more interactive will encourage children to have fun while improving their knowledge of the subject.
2. Install Wall Clocks
Instead of just settling with one clock, decorate your classroom with several, colorful wall clocks. Doing so teaches students to better understand the geography of time zones.
Start by setting the main clock into the local time. Then, set the second clock to universal time. Below it, add the label Greenwich, England. You could also indicate the number of hours that you're ahead or behind the local time.
Next, assign other places on the other clocks. You could designate a few major areas in the United States, as well as other locations in the world like Tokyo, Port-of-Spain, Munich and Mumbai.
During class discussions, ask the kids to guess what other students in other time zones might be doing. You can also use the clocks in your room to explain the relationship between time zones and longitude.
3. Play Destination Vacation
This classroom game is a surefire hit leading into school breaks. Get the students in your classroom to plan a trip to their dream destination. Whether the place is within the United States or overseas is completely up to them.
Then, ask them to come up with an itinerary along with the costs of the trip for one week. Encourage the kids to list down the expenses for food, travel and lodging.
If your students are having trouble, give them maps to help guide their research. You could also provide the following guide questions:
- What are the tourist attractions that you'll visit in your dream state or country?
- What are the activities you plan to do once you arrive?
- What are you going to eat?
- Where do you plan to stay? Do you have plans on touring multiple destinations within the state or country or just focus on exploring one city?
Destination Vacation enables the little ones to explore and understand the real culture of a city, as well as think about the infrastructure necessary to build that community.
4. Sing Songs
Another way to make geography class fun and lively is by singing songs. The lyrics and melody stick in their head, and the little ones can memorize them quickly. A few of the songs that you could teach to the little ones in the classroom are the Seven Continents Song, Fifty Nifty United States and 50 States and Capitals Song.
Even if they learn the song words before completely making sense of the geographical concepts, they can put two and two together when they get older.
5. Play a Game of Global Hide and Seek
This fun geography activity will help children understand latitude and longitude, as well as learn about the cities, countries and continents across the globe. Kids begin by collecting data about the planet based on longitude, latitude and seasonal changes in sunlight. They then investigate clues you provide and compare their data, bringing down their search to discover 10 secret sites around the world.
6. Get Kids to Solve a Puzzle
Puzzles encourage children to study a picture of a map, country, city or continent for a long period. Rather than just getting them to stare at a map, allowing them to complete a puzzle pushes them to keep going back to the work at hand. They're ingraining an image of the picture in their minds when they continuously refer to the puzzle, look at the picture on the box and work out the exact location of the pieces.
Teaching geography to young children need not be boring. Follow these six suggestions to help make learning geography concepts fun and exciting.