Geography

geography2

Geography has always been my favorite subject, which is a little strange since until graduate school at UCLA I didn’t actually take a geography class.  In the school district I grew up in geography was thrown in with social science and didn’t actually exist as separate subject.  That was a tragedy as geography is so critically important to understanding our world. Geography serves as the critical bridge between our physical world and our human society. Quite simply one can not understand the world without a clear understanding of geography. Even today in our era of global interconnection which seems to upend everything, scholars have found that geography is even more important then ever.

Putting together a geography resources site is a bit difficult as geography can, and does, span so many diverse subjects.The IB subject guide is very helpful in producing a logical organization.  This page will be a working draft with my notes on online resources.  In addition to my notes below, I have created several sub-pages with individual notes. To begin with I have chosen Food, Maps, and Cities.  In the near future I well add a few more subsections, such as The Environment, Transportation & Trade, etc. But for now I have started with these three as I am fascinated by each of them and have found a lot of easily accessible material to post on them.

 

Helpful Sites

Geography All The Way – This site created by IB teacher Richard Allaway is simply the best education site in Geography that I have found.  In fact it is both inspiring and a little disconcerting.  Going through his lessons I am simply inspired by his professionalism, this is the quality of work that I want to produce and types of projects I want my students to experience. Disconcerting because I feel like I have wasted so much time in my life, when I could have been making great looking lesson plans!  In particular I found his geographical mysteries lesson plans to be fantastic.

Channel 4’s Clip Bank has tons of great geography clips (and history and current events, and well nearly every subject).  Speaking of clips, Arkive.org has thousands of clips on plants and animals.

Like most kids, I am always fascinated by extreme places. The new site Atlas Obscura is dedicated to finding and sharing the strangest places in the world. Well funded and professionally produced this site has lots of great stories and videos about geographical phenomenon.

Radical Geography – Another great British teacher generously shares his lessons. In a simular vein I also like some of the resources on Funky Geography

There are tons of great sites on the environment, so many in fact that I am working on a subpage, but for now I wanted to add Grist.org and Live Science as two with simple easy to read articles and great photos and videos.

Now I have done any geocaching projects with any classes yet, but I really think there are lots of great possibilities. I really want to do this sometime and Geocaching.com has some very helpful resources.

Quia.com – has tons of games and activities for geography students.

This post from the New York Times Learning team has several great lesson ideas. Of course, one should always begin their research with the classic National Geographic. But many other organizations such as the U.K’s Geographical Association also have great teaching resources.

 

Books

Longitude: the story of a lone genius who solved the greatest scientific problem of his time – Great story, I had no idea how difficult longitude was to determine until I read this.

How the 50 states got their borders. Almost all political borders have interesting stories behind them, but perhaps none are more confounding then those of my own country. This book not only enlightened me, but it also became a project in my American Culture and History class. History.com has produced a fun documentary series on the subject.

The Discoverers: A History of Man’s Search to Know His World and Himself – The historian Daniel Boorstin put together a wonderful series of books on the great themes of seeking, discovery. This one on the important people that discovered our world was my favorite.

1491 and 1493, by Charles Mann. Fascinating accounts of the Americas before and after Columbus, and how the Columbian Exchange reshaped the entire world, politically, economically, and culturally. 1493 built on the earlier masterpiece Ecological Imperialism by Alfred Crosby.  1491 blew my mind and completely changed the way I look at history, 1493 cemented my new perspective.

And of course there are so many great geography text books, but I found this reference book, The Dictionary of Geography, to be very helpful.

I have so many more, and I will be updating soon. So check back in the future.

 

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