Are you looking for interesting ways to add Geography lessons to your child’s middle school studies?
How about turning some of your kids’ screen time into educational learning time!
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With the help of North Star Geography my middle and high school age kids enjoy taking their Geography studies to the next level by incorporating books, videos, hands-on projects, and even online games into our lessons.
By using online resources we have been able to see photos and explore places all over the world, learn interesting facts about places we might like to visit some day, and even create new societies.
We believe Geography is an important subject to incorporate into our studies and with the help of online resources it can also be interesting and a lot of fun.
Here are some of my kids’ favorite online geography games for middle school (*platform noted in parentheses):
My kids have enjoyed learning from a robot for years! No, they don’t think “I” teach like a robot, they like spending time with Moby the robot who is one of the hosts of BrainPop’s animated videos and online games. BrainPop offers free feature videos daily or you can access all of their content through a subscription service. Their geography lessons include Geography Themes, Latitude and Longitude, Map Skills, Time Zones and more.
Explore the world without leaving your chair! GeoGuessr shows a random image from Google Street View along with a world map. You guess where the image is actually from by clicking that location on the map. The game will tell you hare far your guess was from the actual location and assign points. There are 5 photos for each game. If you are interested in learning about a particular area you can select games for specific cities and countries. I find this game very addictive ;-)!
GEO Net (Browser)
This free online game is offered by publisher Haughton Mifflin Harcourt. To begin you choose to play a game about the United States or the world. Once the map for that location is selected you decide which region you want to explore further. Questions are divided into six geography categories such as The World in Spatial Terms, Human Systems, Environment and Society, Physical Systems, etc. As you answer questions correctly you can see your Trekmeter score increase. This is a great interactive game for learning about many different geography topics.
National Geographic Kids (Browser)
National Geographic is one of the best “go to” sites for learning about geography. This National Geographic Kids site is designed specifically for kids – just select the round “Menu” button at the top of the screen to find with interesting videos, animal facts, games, and more. You can sign up for a free account for your child where they will be able to earn badges and access additional games and videos.
NeoK12 offers free educational videos, lessons, and games for K-12 school kids. From the main page of the site you will find links to various geography topics including Deserts, Ecosystems, Natural Resources, Oceans, and more. Select a topic (for example, Ecosystems) and you will find Quiz Games, Science Games & Activities, Pictures & Presentation, and Videos & Lessons. Some of the interactive options require a subscription but many of the videos are free. There are a few free Interactive Tools, Games & Activities to try before you decide to subscribe.
Sheppard Software – Geography Games (Browser)
The folks behind Sheppard Software want to make learning fun and memorable. Geography games help students “gain a mental map of the world’s continents, countries, capitals, and landscapes”. Select from different regions or world geography games. As a puzzle fan I really like the World Landmark s puzzle games! A fun Fact of the Day is also offered for kids like mine who love trivia. The site is available to use for free or you can chose to pay for a “No Ads” version.
Civilization V has been one of my son’s favorite video games for several years. When we were looking for a middle/high school level Geography curriculum we reviewed the sample pages of North Star Geography Chapter 10:Survival and Society. My to my son’s delight, the first thing he noticed was the recommended activity to play a civilization-building game such as Sid Meier’s Civilization V! This game uses historical elements to simulate how “cultural, ideological, and geographical factors can change a world’s geopolitical landscape.” When I asked my son if there any specific notes I needed to include here, he said he would really recommend getting Sid Meier’s Civilization V: The Complete Edition because although the base game is good, it is “AMAZING” with the expansion packs and add-on content. This game is pricey, but it was one he willingly saved-up his own money to purchase!
Smarty Pins from Google Maps (Browser)
My other son loves trivia so this game is right up his alley! This is similar to GeoGuesser but rather than show a Street View image it provides a trivia question and a regional map. You put a pin on the map to guess the answer to the question. You can select different categories for the questions such as Arts & Culture, History & Current Events, and more. The goal is to place your pin as close to the actual location as possible. You can “take a hint” for more information and get a bonus if you answer quickly. Try to see how many answers you can get correct before you surpassed 1,000 miles.
We hope your family enjoys exploring the world with these wonderful online games!
If you are looking for a high-quality and engaging Geography curriculum for middle and high school ages we hope you will take a little time to learn more about the program we have been using this year – North Star Geography. This program, offered by the trusted team at Bright Ideas Press has helped my children delve deeper into the three mail geography categories: Geography Skills, Physical Geography, and Human Geography.
My family is learning more about geography than we could have imagined and the materials make my job as teacher easier than I could have imagined!
If you have any questions about North Star Geography, please feel free to contact me.