National Geographic Xpeditions is now National Geographic Education!

This Xpeditions website will remain accessible as an archive for the near future. However, many of our Xpeditions activities have already been revised and included in our redesigned site. In addition, in our new site we now offer more types of content, for more audiences, than ever before.

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U.S. National Geography Standards

Xpedition Hall
Interactive Learning Museum

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Lesson Plans
Plans sorted by Grade and Geography Standard

“The National Geography Standards contain what is most important and enduring in geography. They help teachers to decide what to teach, at what grades to teach it, and what to expect of students as a result. They give students rigorous but realistic benchmarks for which to strive.” —From Geography for Life.
Geography Standards


A Message From Gilbert M. Grosvenor, Chairman of the Board of the National Geographic Society.

It is my pleasure to present Xpeditions to the teachers, students, and families, studying geography worldwide on the Web. National Geographic has a long history of bringing the world into our living rooms using images, text, and television specials. We are delighted to continue providing access to the world, and everything in it, over the Internet.

A message from Roger Downs, author of Geography for Life.

The U.S. National Geography Standards were published in Washington, D.C., on October 20, 1994. They appeared at a time of great optimism and great controversy over the concept of national standards for K-12 education.

As the writing coordinator for the standards project, I am pleased to say that the National Geography Standards are alive and well today. We were and still are optimistic. The vast majority of states have incorporated parts or all of the 18 geography standards into their state standards. The main document, Geography for Life, has sold nearly 100,000 copies, and the executive summary has sold nearly 30,000 copies. Textbooks have incorporated the standards into lesson plans and exercises.

We have come a long way to ensuring that geography in America will be "well-taught and well-learned." That goal of the National Geographic Society will be advanced by the appearance of the standards in this online version.

As geography educators, we had a vision in mind as we wrote the standards. We believed in the power and beauty of geography. We wanted to help students to see, understand, and appreciate the web of relationships between people, places, and environments. We see geography in the world that is nearby and around the corner; we see geography in the world at large, the global economy and global environment. The standards capture that vision, but it is people—teachers, parents, community members—who can make this vision come alive. We welcome your help in creating a generation of students who are geographically informed.



National Geographic Xpeditions Xpedition Hall Standards Activities Lesson Plans Atlas Forums Search Xpeditions Links 00 Introduction 01 The World in Spatial Terms 02 The World in Spatial Terms 03 The World in Spatial Terms 04 Places and Regions 05 Places and Regions 06 Places and Regions 07 Physical Systems 08 Physical Systems 09 Human Systems 10 Human Systems 11 Human Systems 12 Human Systems 13 Human Systems 14 Environment and Society 15 Environment and Society 16 Environment and Society 17 The Uses of Geography 18 The Uses of Geography