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Handout~Jumpin' Geography Seminar Handout : Teacher - Handouts

Jumpin’ Geography
Presented by Donna Ward/Northwoods Press  
Ø       Exploit teachable moments
Ø       Enjoy maps effectively, correctly, creatively
Ø       Employ almanacs, geography-related novels
Ø       Experience interactive online sites
Ø       Exercise the Five Themes of Geography in planning

             Exploit Teachable Moments:

Geography as the study of people and places is full of stories which interest everyone. With the stories use maps and the five Ws to discover the world around us. Enjoy Maps Effectively, Correctly, and CreativelyMaps are pictures. Things to Look for:

§         Map Art: Easy to see for younger children, more detail for older children

§         Map Scale: How big are the countries shown and for what purpose. Is it too small for finding information?

§         Map Themes: Different kinds of maps: ie. political, physical, climate, vegetation, industry etc.

§         Map Indexes: Older children need a good index for researching locations

§         Canadian Content: Might need a separate Canadian atlas with provinces on full spread

§         Creative Maps: Use creative map ideas for great learning...see following.


Salt Dough MapsTrace outline from atlas. Glue to cardboard. Shape dough to boundaries and then form landscape. Use twigs for tree forms, toothpicks with flags for names of places (push in before dried). Shape rivers with toothpick. Air-dry for several days or bake at 175 for 30 minutes. Paint. Substitute old coffee grounds for 1 c flour and/or cold coffee for ½ c water.Recipe: 2 c flour, 1 c salt, 1 c water

Chalk Map: Draw a driveway with chalk identifying capital cities etc.

Helium Balloons Map: 20-30 prestamped postcards saying:“This is a home school experiment. This card was released in a helium balloon from (name city). Please mail it back to us and tell us where you found it.”  Mark locations on map.

Map Puzzles: Glue a coloured outline map on cardboard. Cut it in pieces to make a puzzle. Buy an old atlas from a used book store.

Scrap Maps: Cut map scraps from an old atlas, showing some key feature i.e. Bodies of water, major city and have students research to find the location of the scrap. 

Employ Almanacs:

Almanacs are useful fact books for acquiring basic country information.

§         Online:

CIA World Fact Book website,

National Geographic Travel website

§         Books: National Geographic Almanac of Geography (2005),  Afghanistan to Zimbabwe: Country Facts That Helped Me to Win the National Geographic Bee  (2005)

§         Canadian Geographic Challenge

Employ Geography Related Novels:
Favourite Canadian Content Geography Novels

§         Maple Dylan Series – Shane Peacock (note: contemporary content)Mystery of Ireland’s Eye−NFLD, Secret of the Silver Mine−ON, Bone Beds of the Badlands−AB, Monster in the Mountains−BC 

§         Survival: Jason’s Gold−Klondike, Indian Captive, With the Indians in the Rockies(1912 publication), Hatchet

§         Bains Adventures (8 book series with occupational themes) Shantymen at Cache Lake−logging, First Spring−fishing, and more..    

§         WOW Canada, Crazy About Canada, Kids Book of Canada 

Experience Interactive Online Sites:

§         GEONET  Reinforces 5 Themes of Geo, Two Skill Levels, Many world topics

§         The Canadian Encyclopedia Interactive Sites - Canucklehead Quiz

Many subjects, sound effects, fun, all Canadian

§         Seterra 

For those with slow speed internet, this fun program can be installed on your computer and you do not need to access the internet to play the games. Very educational.

§  Many other reviewed Geography sites can be accessed at the Geography Links page on this site.

              Exercise the Five Themes of Geography:

Where are we?

Describes where a place is -- its position on the Earth's
  • Absolute Location: The exact location of a place using lines of longitude & latitude.
  • o         GPS  Global Positioning System uses satellite signals to track the location or position on earth. www.geocaching.com (GIS Unit – hand-held)o         GIS Geographic Information System (i.e. Computerized Mapping).Relative Location: Location in relation of other places
    i.e. B.C. is located between the Pacific Ocean and the Province of Alberta
    How to use maps and other geographic tools. How to understand and describe distance and direction

What are the unifying features that describe this place?

  • Physical characteristics: climate, landforms, waterways
  • Human characteristics: language, religion, social activities

Human/Environment Interaction

What are relationships among people and places?

  • Describes how people change their environment or adapt to it
  • Natural resources: forestry, water, minerals, energy, fishing, farming

What are the patterns of movement of people, products, and information?

  • Describes the movement of people, goods, and ideas. 
  • Migration, trade, and cultural diffusion.

How can the Earth be divided into regions for study?

  • Politically i.e. Province of Quebec
  • Physically i.e. Africa: jungle, savannah, and desert.
  • Culturally i.e. Muslim areas influenced by Islam
    • The Islamic World is a cultural region defined on the basis of religion. The mosque is one of the visible elements of the Islamic World's cultural landscapes. Mapping out the distributions of mosques enables us to define the Islamic culture region.

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© 2008 Donna Ward