Illustration by Mary Crooks

Get ideas for incorporating geography into any classroom or discipline.

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Picture of puzzle pieces.

Create Jigsaw Maps

First, have students color an outline map of a continent, using different colors for each country. Next, have students glue the map to a piece of cardboard and cut along the country borders. Time students as they put the puzzle back together.

Picture of kids running through a sprinkler.

Helping the Environment

Have students list ways that people affect their environment every day, for example, driving cars, using water, disposing of garbage, or smoking cigarettes. Have students make a second list of ways that people affect their environment through seasonal activities, for example, watering lawns, burning leaves, fishing, or hunting. Use a graphic organizer to compare and contrast the two lists. Have students discuss which activities are more harmful or helpful to their environment. Ask students to suggest ways that people can change their behavior and improve their environment.

Picture of student doing homework.


Have students publish or present student-created maps whenever possible. Ask students to explain their mapmaking process and give them positive feedback.


Create a Geography Center

Include a variety of maps, atlases, globes, books, and magazines. Also include science or social studies concepts—such as the water cycle, plate tectonics, and migration patterns—presented through the lens of a geographic perspective.

Photo: Mapmaker kits in the classroom.

Class Collage

Have students create a class collage on top of a wall-sized World MapMaker Kit. Ask them to collect postcards, and arrange the postcards according to continent and country. Have students add illustrations and photos of political leaders, historical events, and native wildlife from postage stamps. They can also add objects by location; for example, a spice from the main area where it grows, or a feather from the main location of a type of bird.

Picture of a monk writing.

Email Pen Pals

Have students begin an email correspondence with pen pals from around the country or world. Make sure they share information about the landscape, habitats, and ecosystems around their homes and school as well as details about daily life and culture.

GeoBee Quiz

Have students test their geography smarts online by answering geography questions. They can take National Geographic's GeoBee Challenge.

Use a Scale Bar

A map usually includes a scale bar to show the relationship between distance on the map and true distance on the ground. Have students use rulers to measure the distance between two cities or other places and calculate the true distance using the scale bar. Students can use MapMaker Kits or 1-page maps. To do the activity online, they can use the MapMaker Interactive.