Jumpin’ Geography Teaching Ideas

Jumpin’ Geography

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 (next post)

1. 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.

2. Enjoy Maps Effectively, Correctly, and Creatively:

Maps 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 Maps: Trace 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.

3. 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)
§ Bains Adventures
(8 book series with occupational themes) Shantymen at Cache Lake−logging
First Spring−fishing, and more..
§ Canadian Reference:WOW Canada, Crazy About Canada ,Kids Book of Canada

4. 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.


Play The School Day Away

Children often learn facts more quickly when they play games. Trivia games are an excellent way to have your children learn more about Canada and remember facts about it. We have a link here to a fun Maple Bingo Game that uses your computer to print it out as well as the Trivia Questions link . We have many more educational activities on our EASY LINKS tab!


Teaching about New France

Children remember more of their history lesson when they can be involved in that period of history. Parks Canada has a great page to teach your children about New France and what it was like to live there between 1640 and 1740 AD. Your children can go to this link and defend New France.

Caroline Soucy,Parks Canada 2003
Caroline Soucy,Parks Canada 2003

They can go to Widow Chaure’s (click on soldier) and then build the palisades ordered by the Comte de Frontenac.
Cadet and sergeant of the Compagnies franches de la Marine between 1750 and 1755  Illustration by Eugène Lelièpvre / Parks Canada
Cadet and sergeant of the Compagnies franches de la Marine between 1750 and 1755 Illustration by Eugène Lelièpvre / Parks Canada

They can keep track of information in a free printable Soldier’s Notebook.
These are only a few of the activities from this website that your children can participate in.
More teaching ideas will be coming in future posts!