As a teacher, you know how important it is to get students to enjoy a subject so they can engage with it better and grasp its concepts. Geography as a subject can get a little dull if not taught in an appealing way. Hands-on activities are a great way to get students involved in the subject.
Geography is not just about learning about the locations of places and landforms but also involves the study of how humans and their social life interconnect with their location.
To help students learn these geographical concepts better, you can incorporate periodic hands-on activities to give your students a chance to learn and express their understanding of a topic through these activities.
Fun and Engaging Geography Activities for High Schoolers
1. Let’s Locate
This activity aims to teach students the location of different places around the world.
- Lend your students two types of maps – it could be a political map, a regional map, a topographical map, or a world map.
- Now ask them to locate a place or a region on the two maps.
- Ask the students to use their understanding to describe the location of the place in multiple ways. It could be in terms of latitude and longitude, regional cues, or in comparison to other places.
- You could stop here or continue further by giving students a chance to create maps and mention the location of the place of study and discuss the major points about the location.
2. Terrain Models
Here is an activity giving students a chance to use their creativity as well. Geography involves the study of different landforms on earth. You can help students boost their understanding of landforms using this activity.
- Let students bring supplies like clay, cardboard, or an aluminum bin.
- Ask them to build models of terrains found on our planet, such as forests, mountains, canyons, deserts, oases, etc.
- They could also include water bodies if required. But make sure students leave the clay to dry out for a day or two before filing in water to depict water bodies in their models.
- Once the models are ready, students can give a presentation on their models and explain the various features of the terrain they are showcasing.
3. Venn Diagrams
You can use Venn diagrams to teach students the similarities and differences between two geographical regions.
- Begin by explaining how a Venn diagram can be used to display, compare and contrast two places or regions of the world.
- Next, you can ask them to create their own Venn diagrams by selecting two places from different parts of the world. They can mention the similar features of these places and the features that set them apart.
- When they have completed drawing their Venn diagrams, they can take a few minutes to explain their diagram and findings to their classmates.
4. Picture Study
You can conduct a group activity using pictures from different parts of the world.
- First, divide your class into small groups.
- Hand over each group a couple of pictures from different regions of the world and let them analyze them.
- Ask the students to brainstorm answers for the following questions –
- What do these pictures depict?
- What geographical features can you imagine or identify by looking at the pictures?
- Can you identify the culture by looking at the images?
- Can you establish a relationship between the culture depicted in the picture with its geographical attributes?
- When the students are ready with their answers, you can go to each group and discuss their findings.
5. States and Their Capitals
Here is an activity to teach students about 50 states in the US and their capitals.
- Begin by distributing blank US maps to your students.
- Now ask your students to mark all states within the country and their capitals.
- To enhance their knowledge further, students can write an essay on five states and their capitals, mainly focusing on why those cities were selected as the state’s capital.
- After essay writing, students can read it aloud and share their knowledge with the rest of the students in the class.
6. Wonders of The World Scrapbook
High school students will enjoy this activity as making a scrapbook is a lot of fun.
- Instruct your students to collect as much information as possible about different wonders of the world and make a scrapbook on the topic.
- Give students the freedom to decorate their scrapbooks as they want. You can give a week’s time to prepare their scrapbooks and bring them to the class on a particular day.
- Set up a display table and let each student display the scrapbook. Give students some time to go through each other’s work and discuss their findings.
7. Chart-Making Activity
This is a great team activity wherein the entire class can come together to make a large chart of mountains, rivers, and deserts which can later be displayed on the classroom wall.
- Ask each student to collect pictures and information like the location, features, and significance of one river, one mountain, and one desert from around the world.
- Let them bring it in and make the chart in the class.
- They can decorate the chart as they like, and once they are done, you can help them put it up on a wall.
Having all the information in one chart can allow them to go through it whenever they are free.
A diorama is a model consisting of three-dimensional figures depicting a particular scene. It is a fun hands-on learning activity where students use their imagination to create models to showcase their topic. As making a diorama takes time, you will have to give students ample time to do this activity.
Topics like landmarks of a city, its skyline, or even a biome can be a nice choice for modeling using a diorama. Let students turn in their models on a particular day and have them set up a display. Invite students from other classes to see your students’ dioramas and ask questions they might have. Your students will have to be prepared to give answers to such queries while displaying their talent to others.
Learning geography creates awareness about the world around us. It informs us about differences in landforms, environments, cultures, etc. Though the role of textbooks in effective learning is crucial, conducting interesting activities related to the subject helps in evoking more interest in students.
The activities mentioned in this article are simple and straightforward. You can select the activities based on the lesson you are teaching in the class. This will allow you to blend textbook and hands-on learning so your students can enjoy learning the subject more than ever.