Picture of National Geographic Bee
Photo: 2011 World Championship winning team from Russia

Russia took home the gold for the first time in the nearly 20-year history of the National Geographic World Championship.


About the World Championship

The National Geographic World Championship is an international competition for student teams from around the world to test their geographic knowledge. The National Geographic Society organized the first international geography contest in 1993 at the Royal Geographical Society in London, with just three teams competing. The competition has grown over the years to include teams from as many as 18 regions. Competitions have been held in Orlando, Florida (1995), Washington, D.C. (1997), Toronto, Canada (1999), Vancouver, Canada (2001), Tampa, Florida (2003), Budapest, Hungary (2005), San Diego, California (2007), Mexico City, Mexico (2009), and San Francisco, California (2011). In 2002, the contest name changed from the International Geographic Olympiad to the National Geographic World Championship. The team from the United States is selected from the top winners of the National Geographic Bee. Other regions of the world that host geography competitions for students under 16 years of age choose their teams for the World Championship from their pool of winners.


Student Activities

Teachers can use these activities in the classroom to prepare students for the bee!

  • Photo: Map of the world showing areas of freshwater

    Geo-Scavenger Hunt

    Simply memorizing terms and place locations can be tedious and even boring. One solution is to make the task fun with an atlas-based scavenger game.

  • Photo: Map of languages

    Exploring Diffusion

    The movement of people, goods, or ideas from one place to another is a process known as diffusion, which plays an important role in shaping the characteristics of where we live.

  • Photo: Infared satellite image of hurricane Rita

    Tracking Violent Storms

    Springtime brings the possibility of extreme weather, including violent thunderstorms and tornadoes.

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