The method of teaching geography differs according to the year level of schooling. Yet, when it comes to teaching children geography, there are some themes that need focus.
Obviously, elementary students are not expected to learn about theoretical concepts concerning geography. Complicated matters involving high-tech equipment and gadgets are also not taught to them at an early age.
Instead, kinder to grade 12 students are taught five themes in geography. These themes were created in 1984 by the Association of American Geographers and the National Council for Geographic Education.
These themes are necessary for youngsters to get a more organized grasp or idea of what geography is. It also serves as an outline for teachers and parents. These themes are:
LocationEither absolute or relative, location provides a specific reference to locate an area. The reference can be longitude and latitude or even street address. You an even use the Township and range system to teach location. Location generally refers to a place and its connection to other areas.
PlaceThis theme should describe the physical characteristics of an area or location. These includes the physical attributes of rivers, mountains, seas and oceans. This theme also deals with the topography and the plant and animal life of an area. Transportation and land use are also discussed under this theme.
HumanEnvironment Interaction- one of the subfields of geography is human geography. This theme serves as an introductory course to that subfield. It focuses on how humans shape the environment. It also deals with how the environment affect human behavior, beliefs and movement.
MovementThis theme focuses on migration and travel. It deals with fads, resources, goods, communication and transportation. Distances of places and reasons behind migration are also discussed under this theme.
RegionGeography is easier understood if the world is divided into groups or regions. Each region has a common characteristic that unifies them. There are three types of regions that you need to discuss: formal, vernacular and functional.
Formal regions are divided according to official boundaries. They are publicly known and designated as cities, states and countries. Vernacular regions, on the other hand, are divided into perceived areas. Meaning, locations are divided, for example, as “The South”, “The North” or “The Midwest”. Lastly, functional regions are designated by their connections.
To make geography more interesting for youngsters, use visual aids aside from a map. You can even discuss a short history of the place to make it more interesting. Make the discussion more lively by telling them stories of how a place originated and what makes a certain place interesting and worth visiting. Also, show them pictures of migrations and images of locations.