Cultural Geography Activities
As a part of middle school geography, cultural geography activities give middle schoolers a chance to go beyond facts and figures.
From understanding the way cultures are shaped by physical geography to comparing different customs around the world, tweens can learn a great deal through projects focused on human geography.
It’s important that a middle school geography lesson includes cultural geography and physical geography. And as a home school family, it’s so easy!
Cultural Geography Activities
Middle school students can gain a better understanding of cultural geography through projects and exercises that provide an interactive way to explore different societies and customs around the globe.
Below, you’ll find a variety of activities you can easily add to your homeschool lesson plans.
What is Cultural Geography?
Cultural geography is the study of how people interact with and perceive their environment. It looks at how different societies use and understand their physical environments, as well as how they organize themselves within it.
This part of geography examines how different parts of the world have been (and still are) shaped by values, traditions, and diversity. It looks at how people’s personal identities are produced through their location and culture, as well as how places create identities.
By exploring the relationship between people, places, and space, cultural geographers gain unique insight into patterns of human behaviour in the past and present.
Why Should We Study cultures in Geography?
Geography teachers and homeschool moms know that geography is much more than geographical locations on a map.
Exploring different cultures helps students to better understand the globalized society we live in. It allows them to see how different societies interact and relate with each other, as well as how their own culture contributes to the diversity of our world.
Being able to see how different cultures have interacted and shaped each other throughout history helps students to expand their views. They also gain a better appreciation for cultural similarities and differences between peoples around the globe.
Cultural geography activities also help children to develop an understanding of how physical geography influences the development of culture, and can help them to become more aware of the global impacts of their individual actions.
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Cultural Geography Ideas
The best way to get students excited about this type of geography is to make it as hands-on as possible. Use things like these activity ideas and educational resources.
They work well for kids in the middle school grade level.
Mapping the World
Have your tweens create a map and then ask them to color-code each country according to some aspect of its culture. For example, they could separate countries by language, religion, or even traditional dress.
They can look at the globe as a whole, a continent, or a specific region. It’s all up to you.
Virtual Field Trips
Don’t let distance stop you from exploring people and their cultures. Thanks to virtual field trips, you can travel to different countries all from the comfort of home.
Traveling exposes you to the customs and traditions of an area. It’s a great way to see and experience new things.
And thanks to technology, you can get some of these benefits even when you can’t visit a different country in person.
Read Diverse Books
Reading living books about different cultures is a great way for tweens to learn. There are several books available that focus on cultural geography and often include interesting first-person accounts.
You may even find some primary source readings that will give your tween insight into people’s lives.
A World TogetherA Year Full of Celebrations and FestivalsSpotlight on KenyaOff to Class
Cultural Exchange Project
Let tweens choose a culture and have them put what they learn about it into a creative presentation to share. They could even put together some visual aids and additional resources.
For example, they could study the traditional foods of a region or they could discuss the history and customs associated with a certain type of dance.
Either way, getting them immersed in a culture is an excellent way for them to learn.
Watch Foreign Movies
The area of television and film is full of stories from all corners of the globe. There are a variety of international films available that are appropriate for tweens and teens.
Many feature vibrant characters and settings that will draw your tween into different cultures. You may have to read some subtitles, but it’s well worth it.
World Music & Dance
Dance and music are important parts of cultural groups. Watching traditional dances can give your tween an insight into the cultural heritage of a country, while listening to foreign singers can open their ears to unique rhythms.
Look for a video clip that highlights the region you’re studying.
You could find some traditional folk songs and learn them together, or attend a local performance of world music in your area.
In our homeschool, we often had geography dinners where we cooked and ate foods from the specific location we were studying. It’s an excellent way to immerse your kids into a different culture.
Food is one of the most important thing of any culture, and learning about local cuisine can provide insight into the roots of a society.
Make traditional recipes with your tweens or take them out for a meal
Trying new foods from around the world with your tween can be a great experience.
Cooking Class Global FeastInternational Cooking for KidsBaking with Grandmas from Around the WorldThe World In My Kitchen
Learn a New Language
Speaking or reading another language is an excellent way to become familiar with different cultures. Look for programs that teach foreign languages specifically designed for kids, like Duolingo and Mango Languages.
You don’t have to make this a big project. Spend some time as a family learning some common words and phrases or listen while you’re in the car together.
Attend a Cultural Event
Attending a cultural event is a fun way to learn about the customs and traditions of a particular culture. This can be anything from a traditional dance or music performance to a food festival.
By going to an experience like this, tweens get to see and experience the culture firsthand and meet new and interesting people.
Visit a Cultural Landmark
Many of the famous landmarks around the world hold significant meaning to the people and places where they’re located. Often, they’re much more than architecture.
For example, the Taj Mahal is a symbol of India and the Acropolis is woven into the identity of Athens.
Visiting a cultural landmark can be an important learning experience for tweens.
If you can’t visit in person, travel online instead, through things like these virtual tours of Ireland. You can still get a sense of the history, beauty and grandeur these places offer.
cultural geography Resources
Use these to help teach your tweens about this part of geography.
Hands-on Geography Activities
Here are some more projects you can do with your middle schoolers.
As you can see, there are a wide variety of activities you can use in your social studies class. These helpful projects will be sure to show your tweens how fascinating the study of cultural geography can be.
They can make a world of difference in getting kids to expand their worldview.
What’s your favorite activity to study cultural geography?