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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About the National Geographic Bee

Each year thousands of schools in the United States participate in the National Geographic Bee using materials prepared by the National Geographic Society. The contest is designed to inspire students to be curious about the world. Schools with students in grades four through eight are eligible for this entertaining and challenging competition.

Registration for the 2015 National Geographic Bee has ended. Schools can register for the next competition on August 18, 2015. Early bird registration starts at $100 per school. Vouchers will be available for qualifying schools. Sign up here to receive a reminder email that early bird registration is starting.

Utah State Winner

Gauri Garg, Utah State Bee Champion, was asked to select one superpower, and one global and community issue to solve. She’d use her special powers to end pollution by converting pollutants and educating the public about hazardous vehicle emissions.

How to Help

  • Photo: Geo Bee Winners

    Fund a School

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

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