World Geography

Geography as a Discipline

Geography is the study of spatial aspects of human existence. . . . Geography has much more to do with asking questions and solving problems than it does with rote memorization of isolated facts.
[It] is an integrative discipline that brings together the physical and human dimensions of the world in the study of people, places, and environments. Its subject matter is the Earth’s surface and the processes that shape it, the relationships between people and environments, and the connections between people and places. “1

1(From Geography for Life, National Geography Standards, 1994. (c) National Geographic Research & Exploration, 1994, on behalf of the American Geographical Society, Association of American Geographers, National Council for Geographic Education, and the National Geographic Society.)


World Geography is a core course that satisfies part of the social studies graduation requirements. This is a stand- alone (not a part of the World History and Geography) and end of course tested geography offering in many secondary schools.  Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOL), Curriculum Framework and Test Blueprint define the breadth and depth of content and concepts.

Prepared by teachers who participated in NCGE’s GeoCamp Iceland 2015.

I. Introductory Activities on Iceland by Judith M. Painter (Virginia)

Teachers Notes: Layers of Inference

Student Handouts:

II. Iceland: Challenges and Choices Regarding Energy Self –Sufficiency by C. T. LaRocca (Virginia)

Overview: Project is to prepare a presentation file on technologies utilized in the production of renewable energy as well as the challenges that we will face as we wean ourselves from fossil fuels. Designed for AP Environmental Science, but useful for AP Human Geography as well.


III. Iceland: Population Study of a Nation in Transition by Shannon Castelo (Virginia)


IV.  ESPN Analysis Iceland’s Cultural Landscape by Shannon Castelo (Virginia)


Iceland’s landscape reflects the unique nature of its geographic isolation but also its interaction with the Western world. Images are provided and students asked to complete an ESPN ( Environmental, Social, Political, and eNvironmental) analysis of each.

V. Why is Iceland called the Land of Fire and Ice? by Vonda Tabor (Virginia)

Lesson. Organized according to an inquiry design model and aimed at Middle School students.

VI. Basics of Geography using Iceland as a focus by Catherine Christensen (Massachusetts)


Resources for teaching the GEOGRAPHY OF CANADA

CANADIAN GEOGRAPHIC: Comprehensive collection of materials dealing with Canada.

K-12 STUDY CANADA, Pacific Northwest National Resource Center (NRC) on Canada, Western Washington State University.  A fine site for all things Canadian. Many helpful publications and presentations.


Make geography and history come alive in your classroom like never before with the Canadian Atlas Online (CAOL) Learning Centre. It offers resources for classrooms. Teacher-members of the Canadian Council for Geographic Education (CCGE) prepared the free resources that are posted there. Many lessons cross over from geography into other aspects of the social studies so they are suitable to a wide variety of classrooms. In fact, you can select the resources by province, grade level, and topic. All curricula meets Canadian curriculum learning objectives and should meet U.S. state and national standards (as well as the new C3 frameworks). The lesson plans and classroom activities are available to download in several formats to help both teachers and students engage more fully with this site’s content. Please see for yourself at:


Team Canada recently placed second at the 2013 National Geography World Championship held in St. Petersburg, Russia. Beating India in a heart-stopping tie breaker, these young teens brought home a silver medal. Put your students (or your own) geographic knowledge to the test with “The Ultimate Canadian Geography Quiz!” Produced by Canadian Geography, this 50-question multiple-category quiz tests you on everything from recognizing lakes to cultural knowledge at:


Teaching about Canada’s three primary Aboriginal groups (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) and the hundreds of tribal cultures within those groups can seem daunting but there are numerous helpful resources available online!  Of particular interest will be a reader developed by Education Canada that offers wonderful support if teaching a unit about Canada’s First Nations.  A downloadable book is available for students. It is filled with activities fit for various grade levels and includes 95 pages of worksheets and activities that address important themes and topics.  There are also very detailed teacher’s notes that can be downloaded separately with answers to the activities in the students’ readers, useful websites, and additional lesson plan suggestions.  Find both of these resources at:


Celebrate Black History Month in February using the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website at

The site offers unique and interesting opportunities to learn about key historic events in Black Canadian history as well as about prominent Black Canadians. This virtual museum allows you to download posters for your classroom and to explore different “rooms”, each filled with portraits, artifacts, and videos.  The exploration culminates in a quiz to test you’ve learned about Canada’s history and the African-Canadians that contributed to it.  It a unique way to learn about history without having to leave the classroom!  The games and quizzes can be found at:


 Resources for Teaching the GEOGRAPHY OF EUROPE

EUROGEO NEWS. A compilation of news stories and teaching resources on aspects of physical and cultural geography of Europe as well as global issues that affect Europe.

Esri GeoInquiries for World History. Collection of 15 interactive map lessons, many dealing with Europe.


Presentations given at Virginia Conference for Social Studies Educators in Richmond, Virginia on November 3-4, 2017


Resources from field study in Mongolia from Frances Coffey, 2019:

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