Photo: Students create map.

Photograph courtesy National Geographic Studio

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Geography is fun when kids get involved in “doing” geography. A great way to begin the school year is to plan an activity that engages students in:

  1. asking geographic questions
  2. collecting and organizing data
  3. analyzing the information gathered to answer the questions they raised

Conduct a Survey

a) Prepare a brief questionnaire based on how students travel to school each day. E.g., walk; bicycle; family car; school bus; public transportation.

b) Include other questions such as how far away each student lives, how long it takes to get to school, and what grade each student is in.

c) Once the data has been collected and sorted, an effective way to present the information gathered is construction of graphs. When students learn how to construct graphs using simple data, they will be more successful in interpreting data that is presented in graphs.

d) Help students analyze the patterns in the data as revealed by their graphs.

Map the School Neighborhood

a) Using butcher paper or poster board, make several simple grids with the school building in the center. Include the streets or roadways that run near the school.

b) Take students on a walk around the school grounds and have them work in groups to add buildings, houses, and large vegetation to the map. Encourage students to use symbols rather than drawing pictures of what they see.

c) Ask students to observe and record patterns and volume of traffic on the streets or roadways near the school.

d) Reinforce maps skills by reminding students to complete their maps with a title, a key, and a date.

e) Help students analyze the patterns in the data represented on their maps.

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National Geographic Bee Competitions

The state competition of the National Geographic Bee was held on March 27 in each state and the District of Columbia. Fifty-one state champs as well as champions from the United States Territories and Department of Defense schools will travel to National Geographic headquarters in Washington D.C. for the national championship on May 11 to 13. View the list of state Bee champions.

The national championship preliminary rounds will take place on Monday, May 11, in Washington, D.C. The national championship final rounds, featuring the top ten finalists and moderated by award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien, will be held on Wednesday, May 13, at National Geographic’s Washington, D.C., headquarters. National Geographic Channel will air the final round of the National Geographic Bee Championship at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Friday, May 15, and on Wednesday, May 20, at 7 p.m. ET/PT on Nat Geo WILD. It will also air on public television stations; check local television listings for dates and times.

Gain a Global Perspective

The 2014 National Geographic Bee finalists gush about geography.



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    Fund a School

    Donations help fund schools to participate in the National Geographic Bee.

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