Ideas for Making Geography More Engaging*
Elementary age students:
- One example of a hands-on activity is to create a large map of the world or a specific country on the floor and have students use small toy figures to “visit” different countries and learn about their culture, landmarks, and geography. Another example is to have students create a scavenger hunt where they must find and label different countries or bodies of water on a map. These activities can be done individually or in small groups.
- Use technology and digital resources: Using technology and digital resources can make geography more interactive and engaging for students ages 6-10. For example, teachers can use educational apps, interactive maps, and videos to show students different parts of the world and teach them about different cultures and landmarks. Teachers can also use virtual reality headsets to take students on virtual field trips to different parts of the world.
- Role-playing and simulations: Role-playing and simulations can be a fun way to learn about geography for students ages 6-10. For example, teachers can have students pretend to be traders traveling along the Silk Road and learning about the different countries and cultures along the way. Or teachers can have students pretend to be travelers planning a trip to a specific country, researching the climate, landmarks, and culture, and creating a budget and itinerary. These activities can be done individually or in small groups.
Middle school students:
- Create Geography-themed Escape Rooms: This is a very interactive and engaging way for students to learn about geography. It requires them to solve puzzles and answer geography-related questions to escape the room. This activity can be done in groups, and it can be used to test the students’ knowledge and understanding of geography while they are having fun.
- Geography-themed role-playing games: Role-playing games allow students to take on the role of explorers, traders or travelers, as they have to navigate through different countries and cultures. This way they learn about the geography, landmarks, and culture along the way, making the learning experience more engaging and interactive.
- Geography-themed projects: Allowing students to choose a country or region of their interest and work on a project researching its geography, culture, and landmarks is a great way to make the subject more relatable and interesting for them. This will also allow them to explore subjects that they find interesting, and it will make the learning experience more engaging.
These three ideas are all interactive, hands-on and relatable to the student’s life and interests. They can help students to make connections between the content and the real world, making the learning experience more engaging.
High school and college:
Older students can obviously enjoy more advanced ideas making your lectures and responses more memorable.
- Geography is more relevant and interesting if you provide opportunity to discuss the impact of world problems on different regions of the world. For instance, ask them to research the political and economic implications of border disputes.
- Use interactive and hands-on activities to make learning more memorable for teens and young adults. For example, create a simulation game where students must make decisions and solve real-world problems using only the neighboring countries whose borders touch your country.
- Encourage group work and discussions to help students explore different perspectives and engage in critical thinking. For example, work in groups to research and present a specific geographical language barrier and how to overcome this problem.
Creative exercises can help geography students enjoy the subject by making it more interactive, relatable, and memorable. These ideas can also help students make connections between the content and the real world, which can make the subject more engaging and relevant.
Obviously, there are dozens of other ideas to make geography fun for students. Teachers should try different methods and see what works best for their class, and always be open to new ideas and possibilities.
*Information for this article was obtained with permission almost entirely from OpenAI