Geography actually covers two
different fields: Physical Geography (geology, hydrology, and all
the other cool ologies that define the earth and all of the features
we normally associate with the art of map-making) and Cultural Geography
(what we usually think of when someone mentions geography). Over the
last couple of decades, with the growth of computer-based mapping,
we also need to add Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to the mix.
Earth. We'll start with the coolest bit of geography since the
introduction of National Geographic....Google Earth. If you
haven't added this nifty program to your computer, take a few minutes,
download, and install. While not the same as walking the streets of
Paris or exploring the Faroe Islands, it is as close as you can come
to "being there" without spending a fortune on tickets.
For kids, it is a great way to explore the world, and for the rest
of us, it is a very cheap vacation.
Geographic. How most of us learned about the world outside of
our known universe(s).
United States Geologic Survey (USGS). For anyone interested in
all things geographic and geologic... These folks are amazing. Be
sure to check out their "Science in Your Backyard" pages,
including the list of resources for Virginia. They also have an excellent
collection of "educational
resources" for K-6 and 7-12.
States.com. A good preliminary resource with lots of links to
Geo.Com: Geography Games for Kids, Games About Our Earth.
Geographic Bee. (National Geographic). NatGeo...oh yeah.
in the World is Carmen Sandiego. Probably the classic cultural
geography game for kids. Copies of the game are still available from
Broderbund Software. Their website includes a number of "freebee"
games that can be played online; however, the game design is antiquated
and is slower than molasses (even on a business speed dsl).
for Kids (About.com). The About.com pages are essential links
lists with brief descriptions or reviews, similar to this page. The
page has some excellent resources, so rather than reinventing the
GeoGame. (Global School Net.org). You will need to create a login/registration
to use this site, but it is well worth the couple of minutes of your
time. To play the game, you must have some affiliation with a school.
We're checking on whether homeschoolers can use the site...no word
back yet. Despite this, this site is loaded with some great resources.
We recommend wandering through the site and exploring some of its
nooks and crannies (do websites have crannies???).
Fact Monster Their world geography section focus more on physical
geography rather than cultural, economic, or political geography.
The language is reasonably accessible and includes a pretty good,
albeit short, glossary of terms. Note: the Fact Monster site covers
a pretty broad range of subjects, not just geography, so you may want
to take some time to explore some of the other pages.
World Fact Book. Despite general wierdness, the CIA does produce
one really good resource--The World Fact Book. The site has an amazing
collection of information, maps, tools, and other "stuff."
It is listed under their library pages rather than "kids stuff,"
but it is a site you should probably bookmark as long as your kids
are taking geography classes in school. Actually their kids'
pages are pretty cool too. Note: some of the games are tougher
than they look. The information is grouped by age, although the language
may be a bit more difficult for kids in the lower grades.
to the CIA's World Fact Book, but perhaps a bit more accessible, although
not always as indepth. The site does include some reasonably good
teacher resources...good for teachers and home schoolers.
Remote Sensing. (John Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab)
Remote Sensing is the field of understanding the world thorugh remote
(read satellite images). While this site isn't specifically for kids,
it has a lot of very cool stuff. As my grad school office mate used
to say..."way cool beans."
Trip Geography for Kids. (Motosport.com). Essentially a links
page from what we would have thought to be an unlikely source. The
folks at Motosport have built a terrific collection of physical geography
sites. The site was recommended to us by one of our customers, and
we are more than happy to add it to the collection. There is some
great stuff on this page. (Thanks, Sam)