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Teaching Geography? 7 Hands-On Items that You MUST Have!

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Earth Science Strategies #2: Using Hands-on Materials

In the last post, I showed you how using models was an important way to teach earth science to young children. Now let’s talk about using hands-on materials as another earth science strategy. We’ll also see how teaching geography in your earth science lessons is easy, using the right materials.

Do you work in a preschool classroom or with young adults? No matter what age your students, you will love this list of models and concrete objects for the geography classroom. So, even if you’re not a Montessori teacher, you will see the usefulness of these items, for any grade. So let’s see which ones you need for YOUR classroom. {Then click on the links for more information.}

http://simplesciencestrategies.com teaching geography hands-on

Globes are useful for teaching geography through earth science work. {Photo via Creative Commons}

Teaching Geography Using Physical and Visual Models

Physical Models of the Earth and Its features

The more a material resembles the real object of study, the easier it is for students to understand it. So, start teaching geography and geology using models that are 3-dimensional images of the earth and its surface features.

#1 ~ Globes: There are many globes to choose from. First, use a physical globe with realistic colors for land and water , useful for all ages. {Always start with a globe that represents land and water using natural colors: green, brown, white, blue.} Maybe turn it upside down for a great conversation starter about “up” and “down” in space!

#2 ~ Land and Water Models:  Next, let students explore land and water features using water and models of basic surface features: island and lake, peninsula and gulf, isthmus and straight. Use these ready-made Montessori land and water forms, or make your own.

http://simplesciencestrategies teaching geography

Begin globe work that use two colors, only: green for land masses and blue for water bodies. {Photo Credit (c) Jason Wilson, 2006 via Creative Commons}

Visual Models of Earth features: Photographs

So, your students have an understanding of the way the Earth looks from space. Now it’s time to use 2-dimensional images (i.e., photographs) to study geography and earth science.

#3 ~ Photos of the Earth from Space: Because I subscribe to National Geographic Magazine at home, I like to use images from the National Geographic website.   But you can also use Bing to find amazing images of the Earth from space. Post one on your SmartBoard for students to see as they enter the classroom ~ use it as a discussion starter!

#4 ~ Land and Water Form Photos: Don’t throw away old magazines! Tear out images and begin creating a picture file ~ the high-quality images are great for so many learning tasks. Don’t worry too much about sorting ~ leave your filing system open and flexible. Magazine photos make great prompts for writing, too {see this article on using picture prompts with English Learners}.

http://simplesciencestrategies.com teaching geography models

Use real photos of the Earth from space to spark discussion during earth science lessons. {Photo Credit of Hurricane Sandy (c) NASA/Rob Gutro, 2012 via Creative Commons}

More Visual Models of the Earth: Graphic aids

#5 ~ Climates of the World: Colorful posters about the regions of the Earth are great additions to earth science and geography work. For homeschool, we use the map that comes in the National Geographic magazine. We hang it within view of our work table. These two-sided maps often address bigger issues. For example, this month’s issue visually presents the changing Pacific coastline. In my classroom, I keep these maps in a file for student use.

#6 ~ Geography Nomenclature Cards:  Students use nomenclature cards to learn important concepts. Once students learn these concepts, the teacher then adds the label with the vocabulary word on it. While you can always buy nomenclature cards online, you don’t have to buy them. You can also download these FREE Montessori continents cards, or check out this Pinterest board for tons of other Montessori nomenclature materials. Or, if you’re handy, apply the ideas to create your own card sets, using concepts from your own geography curriculum.

#7 ~ Outline Maps: Students of all ages love maps. The Notebooking Treasury has thousands of blank outline maps to jump-start your geography lessons.  Check out the continent maps and the world maps, for starters. {If you want to try the notebook pages out first, download some FREE resources first — you’ll be very happy, believe me!}

http://simplesciencestrategies.com teaching geography climate

Posters and maps showing the climate and culture of a region are helpful additions to your geography and earth science studies. {Photo credit (c) Kim M. Bennett, 2016}

Time to Get Teaching!

In this post, I’ve shared just seven teaching materials that you must have, if you want to be a great geography teacher. Using these materials, teaching geography, in your earth science lessons, will be engaging and rich, for all ages.

What classroom supplies do YOU want to add to this list? Let me know in the comments section, below.

{Please note: this post contains some affiliate links. It also has links to some free and wonderful stuff that other educators are offering to all of us!}



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