1. Think about your local grocery store.
Think about the grocery store where your family shops. What different sections are in the store? What types of things are shelved together? You’ve probably noticed, for example, that all the fruit is in one place. Or is it? In addition to fresh produce, your grocery store probably sells canned fruit, fruit juice, and fruit snacks—each in a different aisle. The salad bar may also have pieces of fruit. Think of each of those parts of the store that have fruit products as a region. Geographers define the word region as an area “having one or more common characteristics that are found throughout.” How many regions would you guess your store has?
2. Figure out the regions in your local grocery store.
So what are the regions in the grocery store you go to? You can start finding them by using the worksheet Regions in My Grocery Store. Or, you can use your family’s grocery list and sketch the layout of your local store on a separate piece of paper. Think about the location of each item and write its name in its location.
3. Find the patterns.
Look at the map you created. Can you find any patterns? For example, why would refried beans be with tortillas? Is the tomato sauce with the fresh tomatoes, the canned tomatoes, or somewhere else? Would you change your guess about how many regions your store has?
4. Name the regions.
Now that you have mapped your grocery store’s regions, can you think of names a geographer might give each region? For example, the frozen foods region could be Antarctica. The bread aisle could be the Wheat Belt. Name your regions. Have fun with it! Don't forget the special regions, such as where the carts are, and the check-out section.
5. Talk about it as a family.
Are some regions harder to define than others? For example, gourmet foods versus produce. Is each region the same size? Are some more noticeable than others? What items might belong in more than one region? Are the regions placed in some sort of order? Would you have organized the store differently? Talk about these questions as a family.
6. Map your groceries.
After your next family trip to the grocery store, write down where each item was produced as you unpack the groceries. Mark these places on the blank world map. When your map is done, see if you can identify any patterns.
Materials You Provide
- Colored pencils
The resources are also available at the top of the page.
Recommended Prior Activities
Geography is everywhere—even in the grocery store. Not only does your food come from all over the globe, it’s also arranged in patterns in the store like those that geographers study.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry region Noun
any area on the Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.
Encyclopedic Entry: region