Geography Awareness Week

Explore! The Power of Maps

The theme for 2015 is “Explore! The Power of Maps”

Celebrate and explore the power of maps November 15 - 21, 2015. Spatial thinking through maps is one of the most important skills that students can develop as they learn geography, Earth and environmental sciences, and so much more.

See how National Geographic is celebrating 100 years of cartographic history. Check out a suite of resources all about geography as a field and discipline and even more tips and tools to plan your own GeoWeek celebrations!

Read more about the history and purpose behind Geography Awareness Week.

Looking for even more resources? Check out the Geography Awareness Week Archive for material dating back all the way to 2000!

Geography For Life

"The goal of teaching geography is to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and perspectives to 'do' geography. Reaching this goal requires that students learn how to use geographic thinking and information to make well‐reasoned decisions and to solve personal and community problems. Many valuable applications of K-12 geography education lie beyond the classroom walls. Geographic education enables students to use geographic perspectives, knowledge, and skills to engage in ethical action with regard to self, other people, other species, and Earth’s diverse cultures and natural environments. Geography connects students to world events, problems, and decisions throughout their lives."
Geography For Life: National Geography Standards, Second Edition

What is Geography?

Geography is clearly more than just dots on a map. So, what is geography?

Geography is interdisciplinary—it incorporates bits and pieces from the fields of science, arts, health, humanities, law, business, engineering, and technology. The “geographic perspective” (a way to understand a topic or area using spatial relationships) focuses these bits and pieces into a dynamic kaleidoscope of ideas and data. Geography is something you do, not just something you know.

Those who study geography identify relationships between these varied subjects, graft those relationships onto a geographic space, and explain why certain systems are where they are. A common shorthand for geography

is "the why of where."

Geography explores three different systems. What are they and how are they related?

Geographers explore physical, human, and biological systems. The systems are often interwoven on the landscape.

Take Action!

Unfortunately, geography is neither widely taught nor well-taught in our schools today. Social sciences as a whole have been de-emphasized in schools in the last decade. Within the subject of geography, there is a disproportionate focus on dates, events and individuals, while little to no attention is paid to the functioning of human-environment systems or geographic reasoning. In fact, the United States lags behind the rest of the world in both the quality and quantity of every aspect of geography education.

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National Geographic and the Common Core

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Contact Information and Social Media

Michele Ballinger

Teacher Consultant

Ohio Geographic Alliance