• Geography is 10 Cool Things
    Family Geography Night

    Photograph by Justine Kendall

    By Justine Kendall

    Thursday, July 18, 2013

    You might not know it, but you’re already a global citizen—geography is a part of your everyday life. Find out how with the list below, then check out www.GeographyAwarenessWeek.org for links to great games, activities, and more. Let’s get started!


    1. It’s big. 
    It’s more than maps. Geography’s about knowing what’s where, why it’s there, and why it matters. Knowing geography will make your life more interesting, more exciting, and more fun. Geography opens doors. Get it.


    2. It’s out there. 
    Geography is near AND far. It’s in your backyard and across the globe. Get to know your community and the people in it, and plan trips with your family to new places you’ve never been. Want to go overseas someday? Get a passport. Learn a new language and check out foreign exchange and other study-abroad programs for students. Travel the world virtually. Read stories from world travelers.


    3. It’s what you know. 
    How much do you know about how Earth is formed?  What do you know about your “human footprint”? Grow your knowledge with these activities and games.


    4. It’s what you listen to. 
    Regions have rhythms, and the sounds you like may echo cultures a world away. National Geographic and the Smithsonian Institution are both good places to look for great new world music.


    5. It’s what you eat. 
    Ever explored the world with a fork and a spoon—or with chopsticks? Explore your food with these fun “missions.”


    6. It’s what you buy. 
    Everything comes from somewhere. A walk through a mall or a grocery store can be a journey around the world. What’s in your closet? Your kitchen? Your living room? What are you wearing right now? Check the labels. Find out where things come from and how they got here.


    7. It’s what you do. 
    Slap a map up on your wall. Or get a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit and take part in the game of geocaching or EarthCache. It’s high-tech, real-life treasure hunting—locating items hidden around the world by other gamers.


    8. It’s academic. 
    When you get to pick your classes, choose ones that have geography in their title or focus on learning about the world. Choose research topics that let you learn about exotic places and geographic issues such as cultural differences and environmental challenges. If you can, sign up for the AP® Human Geography class.


    9. It’s your future. 
    Geography can take you anywhere and everywhere. One of the hottest fields now is geographic information systems (GIS). And it’s about understanding and tackling challenges—globally and close to home. Check out this Geography Career Guide for more. When applying to colleges, make sure to consider ones that offer geography courses and a major. Here’s a list of where you can study geography and resources for finding out more about what that’s like.


    10. It’s important. 
    You know how important geography is. Now make sure your teachers, caregivers, and friends aren’t out of the loop. Point them toward GeographyAwarenessWeek.org so they can get into geography, too!

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    cultural geography Noun

    study of the impact of human culture on the landscape.

    economic geography Noun

    study of the location, distribution, and spatial organization of financial activities.

    geographic information system (GIS) Noun

    any system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on the Earth's surface.

    Encyclopedic Entry: GIS (geographic information system)
    geography Noun

    study of places and the relationships between people and their environments.

    Encyclopedic Entry: geography
    Global Positioning System (GPS) Noun

    system of satellites and receiving devices used to determine the location of something on Earth.

    human geography Noun

    the study of the way human communities and systems interact with their environment.

    physical geography Noun

    study of the natural features and processes of the Earth.

    political geography Noun

    study of the spatial relationships that influence government or social policies.

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