Teaching geography to middle school students? This will be an invaluable resource for you as you plan out your middle school geography or social studies lessons.
Some homeschool families we know include geography with their history studies and some families don’t really spend a lot of time studying geography at all.
My kids really enjoy learning about the world around them, so we incorporated geography lessons and activities in our homeschooling efforts over the years.
And now they’re seasoned world travelers!
Although there are not a lot of curriculum options for teaching homeschool middle school geography, we have found a few gems we believe are extremely helpful.
We have also discovered several other valuable tools for homeschooling middle school world geography, including videos, hands-on activities, games, and more.
How to Teach Geography to Middle School Students
Teaching the principles of geography to middle school students doesn’t have to be complicated, so don’t worry if you don’t consider yourself a geography teacher. The key is to make the topic interesting and relevant to them.
One great way to start is by showing them physical maps (political maps, ones that show physical features, a topographical map, or maps showing population density, etc.) as well as diagrams and photographs of different sites or features in the world. This will help them visualize the physical geography more clearly and make it easier to remember.
Another great way to teach geography is through fun geography activities. For example, they can research a particular region and create their own maps with labels and images, play a geography-themed game (like the World Game), or use a world map puzzle to learn about different countries and their borders.
Make sure you’re using a homeschool curriculum that is engaging for middle schoolers. Check out online resources, such as videos, articles, and websites dedicated to teaching geography to supplement your curriculum.
You can also use videos, books, and other resources to bring the topic to life.
Don’t forget to include world cultures in your geography lessons. Have your kids learn about the languages, religions, and customs of other countries. You can also talk about current events now that your kids are in the middle grades.
The main thing to remember is to have fun! The goal is to encourage your tweens to explore different parts of the world, the different cultures, and gain a better understanding of its geography.
With these helpful tools, teaching geography to middle school students can be a ton of fun and easier than you think. When you add hands-on learning to a subject, kids are more engaged and excited.
So use this list to pick a few things that your tweens will enjoy. You can use them in your homeschool or as part of a geography co-op class.
Don’t skip geography because you don’t feel you have the time. You can easily add some of these to your homeschool lesson plans.
Here are some great options for homeschool geography curriculum.
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I came across the Trail Guide to World Geography a few years ago and loved it because of the flexibility it offers. I like to have many options available so I can pick which learning activities work best for my kids.
The Trail Guide offers research questions, notebooking, map work, and suggestions for hands-on activities like cooking and art.
It also shows you how to present the information to kids from 2nd – 12th grade! We used it during the middle school years, but it is easily a program that you can use with children of multiple ages (which is very cost-effective!).
A big plus for me was also the Trail Guide’s link to literature.
The first 27 weeks of the Trail Guide cover world geography and the last 9 lessons tie everything together with a unit study based on one of our favorite books – Around the World in 80 Days.
After we completed our study of world geography, we moved right into US geography with the Trail Guide to U.S Geography.
We used the same Trail Guide series for a couple of reasons. One, it still offered me the flexibility and ease of preparation that I was looking for. And two, since the kids were familiar with the format, it helped them become more independent learners.
This program includes a 30-week study of the 50 states and concludes with a unit study about the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide
If you would like to create your own geography lesson plans, you need to use the Ultimate Geography & Timeline Guide for ideas and inspiration!
I bought this book at the very first homeschool conference I ever attended and it has been a great go-to resource tool over the years. It is helpful for parents homeschooling middle and high school grades.
This guide offers ideas for gathering helpful resources, choosing & using maps, hands-on activities & games, and linking geography to other curricula.
North Star Geography
We used North Star Geography by Bright Ideas Press as my oldest transitioned from middle school into high school. My girls loved this program because it also offers a great deal of flexibility within the geography textbook.
It gives students a broad and deep understanding of how geography impacts their everyday life. It intentionally includes more learning options than any family can use. This allows you to select activities that best suit your child’s learning styles and interests.
Middle School Geography Resources
Use these tools to round out your geography lesson plans.
As we studied geography, we always seemed to look for unique and different maps.
Sometimes we needed historical maps, other times current maps. Some days we wanted names or rivers printed on the maps and another day the kids needed basic outline maps so they could add their own labels.
WonderMaps is a lifesaver! With this digital product, you can customize and print hundreds of different maps to suit your lesson needs.
It helps build important map skills.
There are several good student atlases available, but our favorite is this Student World Atlas.
Geography Through Art
Yes, you can search the internet for art projects to supplement your study of different countries, but Geography Through Art is a quick and easy reference that includes a variety of projects (painting, drawing, sculpting, etc.) from 25 countries.
Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?
Remember Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego? This is still a fun and educational way to combine history and geography with action and adventure.
The 40 episodes of this amazing show are a fun way for kids to see a number of great places.
It’s also an awesome online geography game that uses satellite imagery from Google Earth.
How the States Got their Shapes
The History Channel offers an interesting look at the many things that make our 50 states alike and also very different in their popular show, How the States Got Their Shapes.
Are you starting to see how easy it can be to teach geography in your homeschool? Just remember to make it fun! These games and activities are perfect resources to add to your lesson plans.
Over the years, I’ve found that games make excellent additions to curriculum. They’re a fantastic way to review facts and are a low-stress environment for kids to interact with the material.
Here are a bunch of great geography games your tweens will love.
- World Geography Games
- Online Geography Games for Middle School
- Printable Flags of the World Matching Game
- Geography Board Games
- Map Games for Kids
- Flags of the World Geography Games
Hands-on Geography Activities
The more interactive you make geography, the more engaged your kids will be. Projects and engaging activities like these are the best ways to get tweens excited about different themes of geography.
- Learn How to Make a Compass
- Make a Sugar Karst Cave
- Geography Task Cards
- Geography Quests
- Outdoor Geography Activities
- Spice Up Your Geography Lessons with Regional Foods
- Build Geography Skills with Topographic Maps
- Latitude and Longitude Scavenger Hunt
Hopefully, you’ve seen that with the right tools, it’s super easy teaching geography to middle school students.
What’s your favorite way to teach middle school geography?