Maggie Hogan, author of Hands-On Geography, and Cindy Wiggers of Geography Matters have combined their wisdom and experience to put together this resource book for teaching geography to children in grades K through 12.
It takes a little time to explore the wealth of options found here. The first section, “Planning Your Destination,” suggests basic teaching methods, describes notebooks that students might create, and recommends basic supplies. Chapter two is sort of a primer course in geography—hopefully a refresher for most of us. It covers basic terminology and concepts, including the five themes of geography identified by the national standards group for geography. Hogan and Wiggers show you how to incorporate the five themes into your studies. Next is a section on maps: different types, how to use them, map games, and more. All this is in just the first of six units!
The second unit focuses on fun, games, and food as tools for teaching and enjoying geography. Here’s where you can learn about letterboxing, geocaching, and trucker buddies—all of which sound like great fun.
Unit three teaches you how to teach geography through other subject areas. This is especially important since Hogan and Wiggers are unit study fans and see the inclusion of geography as an important element of such studies. To help you get into unit studies, the authors include two complete unit studies, one on volcanoes and one on the book Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates. At the end of this section are tips on teaching geography through the internet, including a list of great websites.
Unit four presents what most people think of as the nuts and bolts of geography: lesson directions and data on geographical features, climate, vegetation, etc. Lesson ideas are divided into those for middle school and those for high school.
Reproducible maps and activity sheets for games, weather reports, research and other activities described in this book comprise the next two sections. The final unit is all about creating a timeline and includes hundreds of reproducible figures created by Liberty Wiggers to use for your own timeline.
A CD-ROM that comes with the book has PDF files of all the pages you are likely to want to print, including timeline figures, game cards, vocabulary lists, maps, worksheets, record keeping pages, and much more.
An especially fun feature of this book is the “Who Am I?” game that uses the reproducible pages of game cards. In addition to all this, the book includes an answer key, glossary, an index (very useful with a book such as this), and lists of additional resources you might want to use.
In my opinion, this approach to geography will be far more interesting than a standard text on the subject. The fact that one book does it all for every grade level makes it even more appealing.