Archive for the ‘ Geography ’ Category

For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been preparing for a visit to a park in Miramar, FL. The last visit was all about Lilly Badilly, but tomorrow’s topic will be American Indians. We’ll be making dream catchers and learning a little bit about the history of Native Americans and also identify on the map where the tribes are living today. I learned a great deal while researching the topic. Here are a few interesting facts:


Public Domain Image of Sitting Bull

  • The Seminole Indian Tribe is essentially a combination of Creek, Miccosukee, Hitchiti, and Oconee Indians.
  • California is the state with the most Indians at over 360,000
  • The largest Native American tribe, with over 280,000 members is Navajo.
  • The city with the largest Native American population is New York.
  • The Indian Removal Act of 1830 resulted in many thousands of Indians being relocated to Oklahoma. Thousands of Cherokees died as a result, which is referred to as The Trail of Tears.
  • Sitting Bull, who was famous for his Indian leadership in Little Bighorn, had 5 wives.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow, and I’ll be back to post photos of the children with their Dream Catchers!


Leave your Comment

It is National Geography Awareness Week!!

Please check out my article, originally posted on Wandering Educators, and reposted on a National Geographic blog!


Leave your Comment

Since 1987 Geography awareness week, sponsored by the National Geographic Society, has been a valuable venue to promote geography literacy in our nation. Read more about geography literacy here.

So what are you doing to improve your geography literacy as well as your children’s? Here are 10 ways to learn more about geography with your kids:

  1. Check out a book from the library about an exotic place in the world and learn all about it. You can find that location on a map too.
  2. Encourage your child to draw a map of his or her own. I can be a map of the world, the USA, your state, your town or your street or even your house.
  3. Write a letter to family members or friends in a foreign country and ask them questions about where they live.
  4. Figure out the distance in miles between your house and one of a friend far away.
  5. Find the capital cities on a map in every state.
  6. Look up the 10 most highly populated cities in the world.
  7. Identify at least 30 of the languages spoken in India.
  8. Learn about the animals of the Brazilian rain forest or on the Serengeti Plain.
  9. Plan out a road trip with a map and a route and figure out how long it will take you to get there.
  10. Study a map of the country of your choice to figure out how fresh water availability plays a role in where cities and towns are built.

Leave your Comment

Geography Education Does Matter!

Write to your state representatives to support the Teaching Geography is Fundamental Act. Click here to get started. On Nov 13 Geography Awareness Week begins!

“The Teaching Geography Is Fundamental Act (TGIF) is federal legislation which would authorize grants to universities and nonprofit organizations for programs to expand geographic literacy among American students and improve the teaching of geography at the K-12 level. ”

– From the Speak Up for Geography Website

Comments (1)

Today I went to the the new IMAX movie Born to Be Wild in 3D.

This movie parallels two different wildlife sanctuaries in two different parts of the world. And because the movie is filmed in 3D, with IMAX quality, viewers feel like they are right there. To top it off, Morgan Freeman is the narrator.

In Kenya the story takes you to a refuge for baby elephants managed by elephant expert, Dame Daphne Sheldrick. She and her team rescue baby elephants from the wild who have lost their mothers for various reasons and nurture them until they are old enough and strong enough to be released back into the wilderness. Half way across the earth from Kenya is Borneo, where an orangutan sanctuary – deep in the rain forest – rescues baby orangutans whose mothers have been killed. It is here that primatologist, Dr. Birute Galdikas, and her team, act as mothers to these fragile creatures until they can be released back into their natural habitat.

The cuteness factor of the baby animals in this movie is off the charts. There is a scene where a worker is pushing a group of baby orangutans in a wheel barrel, and everyone in the theater audibly sighed. There is another priceless scene where the primates are soaping themselves up in a bath. The baby elephants are playful and friendly and so darn adorable too. Some of the babies have trouble falling asleep so the workers have to stay with them to help them relax. You’ll wish you could take one home with you. I like the way the movie takes you back and forth to the two sanctuaries. The cinematography is spectacular, as it is in all IMAX movies I’ve ever seen.

Children will learn that, although wild animals are cute and friendly, they are still wild and that must be respected. The rescuers give these babies a second chance to survive and let them be the animals that they naturally are while in captivity. That way when they are set free, they have the greatest chance of survival.

Anyone, young or old, who loves animals will love this IMAX movie.

Comments (1)

Understanding space and distance is a big part of geography education. Here’s a fun exercise to do with your kids.


Public Domain: author seamus mcgill

  • Pick 2 destinations in the USA (preferably far from each other)
  • Key West, Florida and Seattle, Washington
  • Figure out the distance in miles between the 2 cities. (You can get directions on Mapquest which give you mileage)
  • Distance between Key west and Seattle is 3470 miles!
  • Figure out how long it would take to drive that distance.
  • Key West to Seattle would be 53 hours of driving! That would be 5 full days of driving!
  • Figure out how long it would take to walk that far.
  • Average human walking speed is about 3 MPH. That means it would take 1157 hours for a healthy adult to walk from Key West to Seattle. At 10 hours per day, that means it would take a person 116 days, or about 4 months to walk that far.
  • Compare the distance of your 2 cities with other cities.
  • Key West to Portland, Maine is about 1900 miles.

If you really want to get an education, figure out the bus or train route, complete with all the transfers to get from 1 place to the other, And if you have access to GIS software (Geography Information Systems), you’ve gotta check it out. There’s so much you can do, and it is incredible!

Leave your Comment

What will you do to be more aware of the world?


  1. Take a trip to Bora Bora?
  2. Research the ice floes in the Arctic Circle?
  3. Learn about the Yanomamo Indians of Brazil?
  4. Study the temperatures in Death Valley over the past 50 years?
  5. Figure out how many languages are spoken in the USA?
  6. Determine the distance between Key West and Anchorage?
  7. Learn what exactly a cartographer does?
  8. Plan your next vacation to a far away land?
  9. Cook using a new recipe you’ve never tried before from a foreign country?
  10. Identify all the species of butterflies in Costa Rica?
  11. Learn where all of America’s National Parks are located?
  12. Compare the US dollar to other currencies around the globe?
  13. Celebrate the fact that geography is fascinating?

Leave your Comment

National Geographic has announced a new contest for teachers and classrooms. Your class picks a theme to save water, energy or make less waste. Then you take action and do a proposal to help change your school. All the details are right here on the official website. There’s an online entry form for teachers, and the deadline is December 3, 2010. Click here for the prizes.

What a great idea!


Leave your Comment

Through the National Council for Geographic Education, I participated in an interesting webinar today hosted by ESRI, the company that makes GIS Software essentially to educate the world about the world. The session today was presented by my friend, Dr. Joseph Kerski (Click here to read my interview with Dr. K) and by Professor Carol Gerhmehl.


This photo is in the Public Domain

Today’s lesson was about the building of the Erie Canal across the state of NY in the 1800s. I certainly learned a great deal, and what made this lesson crystal clear was the fact that I was able to see the GIS software in use as I listened to the lecture. You’ve really got to observe a demonstration of ESRI’s software programs, if you haven’t already. You can view layers of information that paper maps simply cannot offer. This is by far the best way to teach children (and adults) about many aspects of geography.

Back to the Erie Canal. . . Did you know that Philadelphia was the largest port in US prior to 1820 and that New York was not the largest city in the US until 1830?  Neither did I! Before the 363-mile Erie Canal was completed in 1825, water transport from New York west to Ohio was challenging, time consuming and expensive due to the mountainous barrier. Boats had to be small enough to be lifted out of the water in places. (Click here to read an article about transport before the canal.) The Erie canal, connecting the Hudson River to Lake Erie, essentially reduced the cost of transporting goods from $100 per ton to about $10 per ton. As far as time savings, the canal reduced the route between New York City and Buffalo from 20 days to only 8! In 1862 the canal was widened to provide even better transportation services.

Learning this today made me realize the many things we take for granted. Building a 363-mile canal in the early 1800’s must have been quite an ordeal. I simply cannot imagine what life would be like if it hadn’t been built. Thanks to today’s lesson, I have a new appreciation for this important man-made, American waterway.

Read more on the Erie Canal website.

Learn more about GIS Software from ESRI here.

Learn more about joining the National Council for Geographic Education here so you too can educate yourself and your children about the world.

Comments (1)

In March, I wrote about Children Map the World Volume 1. Now a new book in this amazing series has been published, Children Map the World Volume 2. Thanks to my good friend and geographer Dr. Joseph Kerski, from ESRI, I have a shiny new copy of this book. Naturally, I cannot put it down.

Children from ages 4-15 were invited to draw maps of the world for the Barbara Petchnik Children’s World Map Competition. It’s all part of introducing youngsters to the wonderful world of cartography. The creativity and talents of the children from all over the world will astound and delight you. Get this book today! You can order it from ESRI. I cannot think of a better gift for a teacher, librarian, environmentalist, world traveler or child.

ISBN: 9781589482463    2009   144 pages   $29.95


Thank you, Dr. Kerski for sharing this with me!

Leave your Comment