Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
The equator is a great circle that bisects the Earth into equal halves commonly referred to as the Northern and Southern hemispheres. The map above shows a few of the countries that straddle the Eastern and Western hemispheres as defined by two important lines, the Prime Meridian and the 180th Meridian. Now, only ONE COUNTRY is in all four hemispheres as defined by these great circles...any guesses before searching?
ACTIVITY: A fellow geographer shared with me that he had a map from an old atlas showing latitudes as is typically presented but the lines of longitudes along the top and the bottom were based on two different systems. Greenwich was becoming the standard at the time it was printed, but this U.S.-published map also references longitude from Washington D.C. as the Prime Meridian. So a fun classroom exercise would be to count multiple-hemisphere countries with DC set to 0 degrees. This can be repeated for any other city or landmark.
SPECIAL TRIVIA BONUS: That previous trivia fact is about as geo-nerdy as knowing what 2 countries in the world are double landlocked.
|Suggested by Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks|
I'm a sucker for online quizzes like this one only showing only the transit system of the cities. This isn't just about knowing a city, but also identifying regional and urban patterns. If you want quizzes with more direct applicability in the classroom, click here for online regional quizzes.
This 12 question quiz is a great way to introduce students to spatial patterns of agricultural products in the United States. Sometimes just knowing regional stereotypes can be helpful, but being able to make an educated guess about where an agricultural product is comes from requires a basic understanding of economic and climate patterns. This quiz is a good way to test that knowledge and introduce them to these spatial patterns.
I'm a sucker for online quizzes like this one that shows only the grid outlines of particular cities. This isn't just about knowing a city, but also identifying regional and urban patterns. What are some other fun trivia quizzes? GeoGuessr is one of the more addictive quizzes where 5 locations in GoogleMaps "StreetView" are shown and you have to guess where. Smarty Pins is a fun game on Google Maps that tests players' geography and trivia skills. In this Starbucks game you have to recognized the shape of the city, major street patterns and the economic patterns just to name a few (this is one way to make the urban model more relevant). If you want quizzes with more direct applicability in the classroom, click here for online regional quizzes.
There are some beautiful images and places to be discovered through this quiz. This set of aerial photographs challenges the reader to guess the country where the image was taken; even with two options, it's quite challenging. This forces the reader to use context clues in the physical and human landscapes to make an education guess. If you are looking for more, here are two quizzes (one and two) from the Atlantic, plus another from Joseph Kerski embedded into ArcGIS online . To get students exploring more Google Earth images and saving their own finds, Stratocam is a great place to start.
Toporopa is compilation of different games and app for secondary students to review their geographic knowledge of geography, and learn new concepts in a fun and entertaining way. It does reinforce the 'encyclopedic' view of geography education, but the games are well-crafted and available in most of the major languages of the European Union. See a Spanish-language review of the site here.
Many of Africa’s leaders will be in town next week attending a White House summit. The continent’s land is shared among 49 countries — many of which rarely make U.S. headlines. How familiar are you with Africa’s geography?
This online quiz tests your ability to locate African countries on the map--a basic skill that isn't 'doing geography' (an age-old lament among geography educators). Still, it is hard to have an intelligent discussion about the continent if you can't name or locate any places other than Egypt and South Africa. For some of my favorite online map quiz resources, click here.
Smarty Pins is a Google Maps based geography and trivia game.
As stated in a review of Smarty Pins on Mashable, "Google unveiled a fun new game this week that tests players' geography and trivia skills. Called 'Smarty Pins' the game starts players off with 1,000 miles (or 1,609 kilometers if they're not based in the United States), and asks them to drop a pin on the city that corresponds with the correct answer to a given question."
This game is wonderfully addictive...I haven't enjoyed a mapping trivia platform this much since I discovered GeoGuessr. I answered 38 questions before I ran out of miles...how far did you get?
"For Regional Geography, I ask that all my students take an online quizzes before coming to class because it is very difficult to intelligently discuss European issues if you don’t know the countries of Europe, where they are and what other countries are on their borders. Quizzes and knowing places doesn’t define geography, but if geography were English literature, knowing about places could be described as the alphabet–before you write a sonnet or critique an essay, you better know your ABC’s and basic grammar. Given that, I like the Lizard Point Geography quizzes, Sheppard Software quizzes and those from Click that ‘Hood; they are simple, straightforward and comprehensive."
I had the shapefiles with the various neighborhoods of Providence and the good folks at "Click that 'Hood" were gracious enough to upload it and make a local quiz based on the the 25 neighborhoods of Providence (as defined by the city government officials). In addition to city neighborhood quizzes, they also have quizzes for regions such as Africa, South America and Europe. This is a crowd-sourced database, so if you have the right data, you can help them to create more online quizzes.
In May 2013, GeoGuessr came online and quickly became a favorite quiz game of geo-enthusiasts. Using 5 random locations in Google Street View. The game player can search the area in Street View and then make a guess as to where it is on the map."
So how can a geography teacher leverage this new platform to enhance the classroom experience? Teachers can allow the students to explore the various locations to analyze the cultural landscape. It is randomized, but teachers can now create their own GeoGuessr quizzes using GeoSettr. Anyone can arrange 5 locations into a customized quiz with a unique URL. Try this quiz I created (hints below):
Challenge yourself to identify some seventy languages by their sound alone. Learn more about how languages sound and where they're spoken.
This is a great game that let's you first listen to and then attempt to identify the language that is being spoken. What's even better, you have "three lives" and after the game is complete, you will be provided with the more information about the languages that you were not able to identify.
Some city skylines are so iconic they are instantly recognisable.
"Can you recognize it by its Starbucks locations? Let’s find out. This quiz shows all of the Starbucks locations within the city boundaries of 20 domestic or foreign cities, and for each you must name the city depicted from four choices."
This is my favorite place-based guessing game since GeoGuessr (5 locations in GoogleMaps "StreetView" and you have to guess where). This isn't about knowing Starbucks locations, but understanding spatial urban economic patterns (just as this article showing the locations where McDonald's and Burger King will place stores also relies of understanding urban economic patterns). In this Starbucks game you have to recognized the shape of the city, major street patterns and the economic patterns just to name a few. This is one way to make the urban model more relevant.
The Bay Area's Jenny Odell creates maddeningly complex sets of similar structures, like stadiums, nuclear plants and cargo ships.
In this interview with Rosemary Wardley (senior GIS cartographer at National Geographic Maps) she offers tips on how to evaluate the landscape to do well on the game, GeoGuessr. If you haven't played GeoGuessr, you've got to try it out. It displays 5 locations in GoogleMaps StreetView and you have to guess where the images are located. You can pan and zoom in the StreetView to explore the landscape and find more context clues as to where that location is. It's a fantastic exploration exercise.
GeoGuessr is a geography game which takes you on a journey around the world and challenges your ability to recognize your surroundings.
When I was a child I used to wonder if woke up somewhere far from home, would I be able to know where I was just by looking at the places around me (I was a geo-geek from way back when). GeoGuessr is the closest thing to finding yourself lost in the world and needing to figure out where you are without being wisked away. GeoGuessr will display 5 locations in GoogleMaps "StreetView" and you have to guess where the images are located. You can pan and zoom in the StreetView to explore the landscape and find more context clues as to where that location is. It is a fantastic exploration exercise.
From the world's largest seas to islands and coastlines, will you sink or swim in this challenging geography quiz? Dive into our selection of sea based trivia now!
Try the Population Bracketology game from @uscensusbureau! Weekly data visualization from the U.S. Census Bureau compares populations for US states and metro areas.
Get into the spirit of March Madness by challenging your knowledge on the sizes of Metropolitan Statistic Areas and state population (just think electoral college). I got a 56 on my first stab (59 for the states)...what did you get?
Challenge your knowledge of Geography from around the world in our 'Where in the World?' Quiz Tournament. It's just £0.49 ($0.75) to enter with a cash prize of £30 ($45) up for grabs. Enter now if you think you know your stuff!