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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Watch the 2016 National Geographic Bee Finals

National Geographic Channel will air the final round of the National Geographic Bee Championship at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Friday, May 27. It will also air on public television stations; check local television listings for dates and times.


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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.


The national championship preliminary rounds will take place on Monday, May 23, in Washington, D.C. The national championship final rounds featuring the top 10 finalists and moderated by humorist, journalist, and actor Mo Rocca will be held on Wednesday, May 25, at National Geographic’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.


The national champion will receive a $50,000 college scholarship, a lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society, and a Lindblad expedition to Southeast Alaska provided by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic.







Meet the 2016 Champions

National Geographic Bee contestants aren't just geography geniuses. They're also savvy park planners! See where they would create a National Park in their own state.

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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