This activity takes approximately 45-55 minutes. Can use anytime, but this activity is a great way to start a new unit as you typically open a new unit with a geography lesson. Designed for 9th grade, but can be adjusted for any grade. This lesson is noisy, hectic, and fun.
Game Preparation (Pair or Small Group Activity)
Tell your students to take out an atlas or a textbook.
Break up into small groups or pairs, and refer to your groups as teams. Make sure you have an even number of teams.
Working in groups, have each team (each group) secretly pick a location, one single spot in the region in which you are working.
Direct each team to design four (4) clues that will lead people to their spot. The first clue will be very general. The next two will narrow it down. The fourth clue will give it away.
Clue #1 is general. (Example: USA East Coast)
Clue #2 narrows it down. (a town in the Mid-Atlantic region)
Clue #3 narrows it again. (home of the Naval Academy)
Clue #4 gives it away. (capital of Maryland)
The correct answer, of course, is Annapolis
Play the Game: Match up teams. The whole class plays at once. 3 Rounds. Time each round. Each group (team) will have 30 seconds per clue. Each team gets a turn to ask the other. Then the entire class switches teams. And you're off. One way to arrange your room for easy movement is to arrange desks so that one team has their back to the wall at each station. We call that the "outside". That way, the inside can stay put, and the outside teams can move three or five spaces.
Scoring: Scoring is based on a 4-3-2-1 scale. If you guess the answer from the first clue, your team receives 4 points. The second clue delivers 3 points. The third clue delivers 2 points. Your team will receive 1 point if you guess it correctly on the 4th clue. If you do not guess the answer after hearing the 4th clue, your opponents (the team asking the questions) lose a point. In case of disagreement, the teacher will decide if the clues are fair or not. Once all three rounds are completed, have teams take the average of all rounds to determine their final team score.
Using Outline Maps
Works for any large geographic area.
Print out or create an outline map of South America (or any large area) that includes outlines of each county. Add blank lines to name countries and cities.
Cut your outline map into puzzle pieces. Mix up the pieces. Paste these pieces onto a sheet of paper.
Photocopy your puzzle piece page to use as a handout for your students (one puzzle page per student.) Run some extra copies to have on hand.
Directions to the kids: Your job is to cut out the puzzle pieces, put this puzzle back together so that it resembles the continent of South America, and fill in the blanks. (Suggestions: Encourage the kids to use any classroom maps available, including those in their textbooks, to help them fill in the blanks. Allow the kids to help each other, as long as they keep the noise down.)
- World Map on Bulletin Board
- Two different colors of push pins
Directions to the kids:
Day #1: (8-10 minutes) Ask students to tell you where the clothes they are wearing were made. Using the bulletin board map, teacher uses one color of push pin to mark country locations.
Student Assignment: Direct students to ask their parent(s) where their work clothes, jewelry, briefcases, tools, and whatever they use at work are made. Bring that information back to class.
Day #2: (12-15 minutes) Class Discussion: Have students report their findings.
Teacher: Use a different color push pin to mark the map with these locations.
Discuss similarities and differences, and why.
Mini units & simulations
India/Pakistan Dispute over Kashmir A 4-Day Mini-Unit with background and handouts
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict A Simulation for the Classroom (2 days) with background & handout.
Geography in the News Ongoing activity, daily, 5 Themes of Geography (8 weeks)