Geography can be a tricky concept for young students to understand. It will take some time and patience as you teach about each of the elements of geography and location. When teaching your geography unit, I recommend using progressive instruction with lots of visual models! So, here are some geography resources your students will love!
Set Up a Visual Model at the Start of Your Unit
Firstly, I’d recommend starting with a simple visual model. This resource will be helpful for students when they are learning more about each part of geography. I love this craftivity from Playdough to Plato because it allows students to see each component in reference to themselves, showing size and order in an easy model.
Source Link: Playdough to Plato Freebie
Similarly, students can use a writing activity to describe location and geography. This Where We Live graphic organizer is from my World Geography Unit. Students will be able to record information about their city, state, region, country, continent, and planet! During these early stages, it is most important for students to understand the relative size and order of each.
Link: World Geography Unit
Stock Up on Read Alouds & Explorative Picture Books
Certainly, you will want to include books for your students to explore. This is another geography resource your students will love! I would start by using a book like Me on the Map as a read-aloud. Then, allow your students to dive into different atlases and geography books. The list of books below contains affiliate links to Amazon.
Suggested Links Your Kids May Like:
- Me on the Map
- Smithsonian Children’s Illustrated Atlas
- My First Atlas of the World
- Beginner’s World Atlas
- World Atlas
Add Videos Into Your Unit
Videos are always going to be a useful tool when you are working with elementary students. Engaging and informational, we might as well not reinvent the wheel! Typically, I suggest starting with an introductory video like the ones you can find on BrainPop and BrainPop, Jr. These videos will explain geography components in clear and simple terms, highlighting vocabulary and giving examples. Then, when your students are ready to dig deeper, you can use the informational videos on National Geographic. This series of videos gives a more detailed look at each one of the continents, and are perfect starting points for group or partner projects! Coincidentally, they are also great additions to your hybrid or virtual instruction.
- Link: National Geography Continent Focus on YouTube
- Link: BrainPop Jr. Continents and Ocean Video
- Link: Brain Pop Continents of the World
Teach About Diversity Amongst Continents and Countries
Once your students have learned about the continents, it is time to take a closer look at each area. This is the perfect opportunity to incorporate explicit instruction on cultural differences across the world. Not only is this important for your students, but they will also love learning about the various traditions, foods, festivals, etc. This is How We Do It is a great read-aloud to kick off this study. You can add this book to your lesson as you begin to study the countries.
Link: This is How We Do It
Allow Independent Exploration of Individual Countries
Furthermore, your introduction to culture can be the kickstart to your study of countries. Because of the number of countries in the world, I’d use this as an opportunity for partner or independent projects. Your instruction can highlight some of the major countries, leading to independent research and study on assigned countries. A focus on culture and diversity can continue through your student projects, followed by presentations. National Geographic has excellent videos for many of the countries around the world. When they click on each tab, they will see info about the geography of the country, culture/food/people, and nature information about each country.
Suggested Supplemental Resource
Finally, this last geography resource will be one that both you and your students love! This print-and-go unit can be easily added to your lesson plans and will have your students practicing multiple content skills. Additionally, reading passages, writing prompts and graphic organizers can help your students learn and retain information about specific geography components. These are perfect for cross-curricular instruction and can be seamlessly added to your other subject blocks.