MAT Blog

World Geography Games: An Interactive Way to Discover the World

Posted by Ryan O'Rourke on Mar 6, 2014 9:49:00 AM

geographyI thought I knew my geography, but after ten attempts to locate the Tabernas Desert, which I learned is the only desert in Europe, I was brought to my knees! The cool thing about World Geography Games is that, despite my frustration, I still managed to have fun—and something tells me that I’ll never forget where the good old Tabernas Desert is located again.  

World Geography Games gives users their choice of a wide variety of interactive quizzes that include questions about:

  • Countriesgeography 2
  • Capitals
  • Flags
  • Regions
  • Bodies of water
  • Mountains
  • Deserts
  • Metropolitan areas
  • And other topics that will test and challenge your brain

All 193 members of the United Nations (UN) are included in the quizzes. Added to these lists are Taiwan, Kosovo and Vatican City. Not-sovereign nations and territories—Greenland and Puerto Rico, for example—are not included.

 

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Tags: apps for educators, Best Apps for Educators, history teachers, social studies teachers, virtual field trip, Geography

Let David Hunter Help You Zombify Your Entire Curriculum

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Sep 27, 2013 9:56:00 AM

zombie based learningWe haven’t heard you say “uncle” yet, so we’re going to dish out one more way for you to zombify your curriculum (you can read two related posts here and here). Allow us to introduce our latest find: Zombie-Based Learning (ZBL), a standards-based, zombie-infused curriculum designed by geography teacher, David Hunter.

Instead of using textbooks, ZBL substitutes graphic novels and hands-on projects to teach student how they might use geography to survive a hypothetical zombie apocalypse. If you’re wary of the legitimacy of ZBL, you might be pleased to know that it meets the 2012 National Geography Standards and actually uses the geographic concepts and same kinds of thinking that real world geographers use.

Here’s how the Zombie-Based Learning Narrative is structured:

Planning for the Outbreak
News of a zombie-like outbreak has reached your community. You are helping to plan in case the outbreak reaches your area.

Post Outbreak Survival
The outbreak has reached your area and chaos has followed. You use your skills to survive and find other survivors.


Finding a Place to Settle

You meet with other survivors; now you are trying to decide upon a safe place. 


Building a Community

With your group of survivors, you make decisions to build a safe and sustainable community.


Planning for the Future

Based on what you know about geography and your knowledge of the past, your community makes long-term plans for survival and rebuilding.

 
Should you choose to use ZBL in your own classrooms, you won’t be tracking down resources since everything you’ll need, from graphic novels and handouts to rubrics and in-class activities, is on the ZBL site.

 

 

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Tags: Geography, common core standards, zombie lesson plans, collaborative learning

The Lottery of Birth: Teaching Geography & Introspection

Posted by Marygrove MAT on Feb 22, 2013 12:01:00 PM

teaching geographyWhat would our students’ lives have been like had they been born elsewhere? Would they be the same persons they are? Would they have been given the same choices? Of course we’ll never know just how different their lives would have been elsewhere, but If It Were My Home is a free, interactive tool that will help your students reflect on these questions.

The Lottery of Birth: Teaching Geography & Introspection

What is it?
If It Were My home
is a “country-comparison” tool that allows users to compare living conditions in one country to those in another. The site also gives you the ability to visualize the impact of natural disasters. Right now users can only view the BP Oil Spill or the Pakistan Flood, but we presume that this portion of the site is still a work in progress.   

How does it work?  teaching geography2
Select a country and watch it overlay onto your own region. This is useful for visualizing the relative size of another country in comparison to your own.

You’ll also gain a better sense of how life compares in that country to your own. For example, if you live in the United States and “relocated” to Taiwan, you’ll find that you would:

  • Consume 44.67% less oil
  • Spend 74.03% less money on health care
  • Have 36.56% more chance at being employed
  • Make 35.78% less money
  • Have 35.14% less babies
  • Use 20.05% less electricity
  • Have 14.33% less chance of dying in infancy
  • Die 0.089999999999989 years sooner

If you want to know specifically how much more oil the United States consumes than Taiwan (in gallons), click on the drop down menu and find out.

And if you’re looking for more substantive information about your selected country, simply scroll down to the bottom of the page and browse their recommended reading list.

There are endless possibilities for how you might incorporate this website into the classroom. Kelly Tenkely from iLearn Technology suggests using it as a creative writing tool. Have your students imagine that they are relocating to a new country. Based on the information they glean from the site, they could create a fictional account of what life would be like in that country. Tenkely has also used the site’s statistical data for some real world mathematical comparison between countries.  For example, if Rwanda has a 10.7 times higher chance of dying in infancy, how many infant deaths does it expect on average per year?  If Rwandans make 98.06% less than Americans, what would you expect an average salary to be?

If It Were My Home is only one of many interactive map applications out there. And as luck would have it, we’ve written about 5 other Interactive Map Generator apps we think are worth checking out!

 

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Tags: Best Apps for Educators, behavior, Geography, teaching empathy

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