Geography, Teaching Resources

Bay of Fundy Tides

The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world, and those enormous tides mean that the Bay of Fundy is one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. Most tides around the world average around 1 meter, so why is does the tide in the Bay of Fundy reach up to 16 meters?

We have an easy experiment to try with bath water, and some videos to help explain this natural phenomena. Are you ready to discover something amazing? Read more…


Using The 5 Themes of Geography

Exercise the Five Themes of Geography:

Where are we?

Describes where a place is — its position on  Earth

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. (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.


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.


About Donna…

Donna Ward is the author of four Canadian history/geography curricula, which have been widely used across the country in public, private and home schools. Donna’s love for good Canadian literature sets the foundation to provide teachers with a wealth of resources. Her goal has been to introduce intriguing stories that will captivate even the most reluctant student. Donna holds a degree in Religious Education from Ontario Bible College (now Tyndale University and College) Toronto.

Donna chose the rewarding journey of home education and taught each of her four children through Grade 8. The lack of quality Canadian material and Donna’s love for historical stories inspired the development of a program for her own children. Subsequently, thorough research and reviews by experts culminated in her popular studies available today. Donna is also a motivational speaker at home educators’ conferences across the nation.

Along with a love for our country, Donna also has a love for the people of the world. She strongly supports her husband, Doug, who works with Compassion Canada, a child-sponsorship agency bringing aid to destitute children in third-world countries. The Wards reside in Woodstock, ON. The children are in post-graduate or professional studies, in careers, and one is finishing university.


Teach the Five Themes of Geography

Teach the Five Themes of Geography

What are the Five Themes of Geography? Learn along with your children with these easy lesson plans.

For the young set: Click Here to see lesson plans using the 1941 award winning picture book Make Way for Ducklings about a family of mallards growing up in a park.

Statue of the title characters of Make Way for Ducklings by Nancy Schön, in Boston Public Garden. Taken by Gareth Owen.

For Grades 3-6 National Geographic offers an easy lesson plan on the Five Themes of Geography.

For upper grades: Click Here for more activities to teach The Five Themes of Geography by National Geographic.