NGS Daily jigsaw puzzles

Monday, December 29, 2008

Discover the world with Matt Lauer?

There is a great new online geography game available @MSN Live Search Club..featuring Matt Lauer from the Today show. This is an extension of his TV geography travels: "Where in the world is Matt Lauer?"
This would be a great activity for your students to use during your computer lab time or as an after school assignment/project. This could also be a great way to get your students' families involved as well. It's a great online game site and I've spent MANY fun hours trying to figure out where Matt Lauer is myself!!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Holidays around the World

It's very busy this time of the year....lots of different holiday customs celebrated by other cultures and countries. Teach geography as your students discover the different customs and celebrations of world holidays!

Some helpful "World Holidays" resources:

Education World: December celebrations around the world:
Internet School Library Media Center (fantastic collection of links for K-12...Holidays around World)

Yahoo Kids! very extensive list of websites, information, & activities:

Holidays & FestivalsAround the World
by Ms. Hos-McGrane's Grade 5 Students:
World Book has a great informative site for the different holidays:

Crayola has a bunch of art activities to celebrate:
*Chinese New Year
*Three Kings Day

Holiday celebrations: lesson plans for 1st grade students:

Scholastic: Seasonal celebrations interactive site & lesson plans:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Great Geography Quote

"Geography has made us neighbors. History has made
us friends. Economics has made us partners, and
necessity has made us allies. Those whom God has so joined together, let no man put asunder."

John F. Kennedy

Geography of Snow

Make snow a geography/science lesson...after all, Snow is always falling somewhere in the world everyday. !!!!

Secret Language of Snow(1984)
by Terry Tempest Williams and Ted Major,
with illustrations byJennifer Dewey

One of my favorite books for children...explains how other people of the world...especially those from Arctic regions...have developed whole unique vocabularies to describe different kinds of snow.

lesson plan using Secret Language of Snow & Snowflake Bentley:

national snow and ice data center:

NSDL (National Science Digital Library) website with MANY geography/polar/climate-related student literature, lessons, and activities:

make snow crystals online:

Another great children's book about
snow: Snowflake Bentley
by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Illustrated by Mary Azarian

Wilson Bentley became world-known for his snowflake photography.
(see his snowflake photos--public use of photos!)
(information about Snowflake Bentley)
(a video about Snowflake Bentley)

NASA cryosphere video:

World Conflicts

There are so many world conflicts(40+?), that it is hard to keep up with the latest information about all of them. I've been looking for reliable, teacher/student websites with background information about all the current conflicts and have found a few that would be helpful teacher resources:

The site is a pay for use site, but has a free trial signup. This
site is the most comprehensive with information about world conflicts! It includes teacher video training, conflict background materials, lesson plans, data sheets,
newsletters, student/parent notes/and much more.
Information about countries, maps, flags, current status of conflicts
Terrific site with interactive maps and slideshows...FREE for Download!!
Example download: Imperial History of the Middle East

Wikipedia has an ongoing list of conflicts with maps, country information, etc.

P.O.V./Promisses from offers a good collection of websites and resources about world conflicts and conflict resolution materials

Global is a website listing current conflicts as well as terrorism threats, WMD's, National Security, travel alerts, etc.

SkyWatch Friday

See what others are seeing @

During a wet and stormy drive from St. George, Utah to Lehi, Utah, I took this pictures of a mountain ridge trying to peak out through the morning storm clouds.

Monday, December 15, 2008

YouTube geography videos

If you are looking for some fun geography songs/videos to help your students learn geography...check out YouTube.

Go to, type in "geography songs" in the search bar.....a few examples listed below:

(Animaniac's 50 US states and capitols)

(Animaniac's Nations of the world..needs a few country name updates/changes)

(name the continents and oceans..quiz)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Why does the Sun Shine?

One of my favorite music groups, They might be Giants, writes the craziest songs and lyrics for all age groups. I like this one:

"Why Does The Sun Shine? (The Sun Is a Mass of Incandescent Gas)"

For all of those science teachers out there trying to teach space/solar science...this music video will grab your students' attentions!!!!

SkyWatch Friday..Big Moon Tonight!!

See what others are seeing @

There's a full moon tonight, and it's going to be a big one !

LOOK UP! LOOK UP !! Step out EARLY this EVENING and view our behemoth moon! It's hard to explain why the moon tonight will look so much larger near the horizon, than later in the night as it rises higher into the sky. The Salt Lake Tribune has a quick explanation in today's paper:

"Lunar show will be largest since 1993"

By Sheena Mcfarland
The Salt Lake Tribune

Updated: 12/12/2008 06:28:27 AM MST

"Those looking up tonight will see the biggest full moon the Earth has seen since 1993.
To best view the effect, look at the moon while it's on the horizon line, when "illusion will mix with reality to produce a truly stunning view," according to Tony Phillips, Science@NASA's production editor.
"For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, low-hanging moons look unnaturally large when they beam through trees, buildings and other foreground objects. The swollen orb rising in the east at sunset may seem so nearby, you can almost reach out and touch it," he writes on the Science@NASA Web site. The moon's proximity to Earth also will affect tides, pulling the tide higher than normal by between about
an inch and 6 inches. Every month, the oblong lunar orbit brings the moon closer to Earth, but this month the moon is full just four hours after hitting perigee. That means it will be 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than any other full moon this year. The full moon at perigee won't occur again until 2016."


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Geography student literature list ..teacher resource Treasure!!

For many years Pizza Hut has been promoting a reading incentive program called Book It! They used to provide teaching materials along with mini pizzas for student reading rewards. Now the entire program is online @ I kept two of the publications, because the materials and reading suggestions were all about geography: The GEOReader and The GEOReaderII. The publications are out of print, but I contacted Pizza Hut and they gave me permission to copy and share these two publications. From Pizza Hut:"We no longer have these publications available. You are welcome to use and copy the materials as needed. Thanks!"BOOK IT! National Reading Incentive Program PO Box 2999Wichita KS 672011-800-426-6548Fax: 316-685-0977

I've uploaded all 22 pages of GEOReader II (lists of books andactivities about cultures and physical geography). These are excellent suggestions for reading & picture books for teaching geography using literature. Some of the teaching suggestions are a bit out of date..due to NCLB...but great information including the 5 themes of geography background.

(double click on each page to enlarge)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Deseret News (SLC, UT) provided a "classroom connections" page 12/3/08 listing "December Days to Remember"events--many of which are/were geography based. Sharing a few of the dates/events mentioned in the article:

Dec 1: Rosa Park;s Day. Anniversary commemorating when Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.

Dec 2: Barney Clark receives world's first artificial heart transplant,
SLC Utah.

Dec 7: Thomas Edison exhibited phonograph, Menlo Park, New Jersey.

Dec. 7: Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, attacked by Japanese drawing U.S. into WWII

Dec 8: John Lennon killed in NYCity, New York

Dec 10: Wyoming, (US territory) allowed women to vote and hold office 1869

Dec 15: "Gone with the Wind" 1939 premierd in Atlanta GA

Dec 16: Boston Tea Party, 1773 Boston Harbor, Massachusetts

Dec 16: Battle of the Bulge 1944 A major German offensive launched towards the end of World War II through the forested Ardennes Mountains region of Belgium, France and Luxembourg on the Western Front.

Dec 17: Wright Brothers' Day celebrates the first successful airplane flight @ Kitty Hawk, NC

Dec 21: Winter Solstice: Shortest day and longest night of the year. Sun appears at the lowest point in the sky.

Dec 21:Pilgrims first set foot on American soil at Plymouth, Mass 1620

Dec 21: Hannukkah is celebrated from Dec 12-29 to show praise and honor to God for providing 8 days of oil (from a single day's worth) in the Temple of Jerusalem.

Dec 23: Aircraft, Voyager, completed first round-the-world flight without stopping or refueling in 1986.

Dec 25: Christmas is the Christian celebration of Jesus' birth. Millions of believers (& non-believers) commemorate the day with feasts and gifts.

Dec 25: William the Conquerer is crowned King of England 1066

Dec 26: Kwanzaa African American celebration (12-26-1/1) to reconnect with Adrican traditions and principals such as unity, self-determination, creativity, and faith.

Dec 27: Edwin Hubble announces the existence of other galactic systems

Friday, December 5, 2008

SkyWatch Friday

See what others are seeing @
Monday and Tuesday of this week, Twilight sky watchers were treated to a
unusual conjunction of a crescent moon, Jupiter and Venus creating a clever,

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Reposting: National Geographic Bee registration information


All schools wishing to participate in the National Geographic Bee must register yearly. Registration materials have been sent out to schools, so please "keep an eye out" for the materials in your school's mail. If your school does not receive registration information in the mail, (brochure/flier) please go the following link for registration details and deadline information:
Also see the above link for general Geographic Bee information and helpful study hints:
Get your school registered today for the 2009 National Geographic Bee! Good Luck with your School's Geographic Bee!!

Geography Quote

"Sometimes I think war is God's way of teaching us geography."

by Paul Rodriguez

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

InternetResources for Maps & Map Making

A fabulous geographer, Carol Gersmehl, Monroe Community College, has provided the following excellent list of internet mapping resources!!!!

Internet Resources for Maps & Mapping—Examples November 2007 with July 2008 & December 2008 updates - -

The U.S. Census provides ready-made maps about counties of the U.S. :
This is a great introduction to census maps.
Topics: population, diversity, race, and Hispanic origin (by counties)

Use to create thematic maps using Census data from year 2000:
“American Factfinder” provides data about the U.S.. It steps you through creating a map. If you want to look at all of the U.S., then you would map data for “counties.” If you want to look at a smaller portion of the U.S., you might map data for “tracts” or “block groups":
Overview of American Factfinder:
Thematic & reference maps:

Use historical U.S. census data to create maps:
Historical Census Browser. This site provides data for states and for counties—for every decade all the way back to 1790.

Find aerial photos and topographic maps for local areas in the U.S.
Terraserver and Topozone: --for aerial photos and topographic maps. Generally, choose a small area (part of a city or part of a county) and zoom in.

Use the National Atlas to find printable maps or to select layers for your own map (technical).
“Printable Maps”
mainly thematic maps
reference maps (with or without labels)
“Map Maker” Section Choose one state or a group of several states. Note “Redraw Map.” for download

Find maps and data about agriculture in the U.S. (Census of Agriculture, NASS) has nice already-made maps (e.g., about milk cows) for data for data download for experienced GIS

Digital atlases provide ready-made maps. (William A. Bowen California Geographical Survey) We can talk about the use of circles and the choice of colors on these maps. Notice that there are separate maps for total number of persons vs. percentages of persons. maps about census data for New York City maps about census data for Washington, DC maps about census data (ancestry) for U.S. counties

Find data and maps about religion in U.S. Choose maps and reports about religious groups. provides general overview and links

Other U.S. government websites (mortality, environmental quality, watersheds) has already-made maps about diseases and types of injury from the Centers for Disease Control - Atlas of United States Mortality
EPA Enviromapper includes NYC air sampling data after 9/11
EPA Surf Your Watershed includes “locate your watershed”

Find maps in the Library of Congress Map Collection. There are 1000’s of maps. Search by keyword or choose a section.
This has many current and historic maps for the U.S. and also for other parts of the world.

WORLD (Also look into Google Maps and Google Earth!)
- has unusual type of map (cartogram); topics include present-day and also some historical:
Population in Year 1 and
Wealth in Year 1

World Resources Institute has maps and also data lists: for example

Columbia University, CIESIN, has maps:

CIA Factbook is a basic source for reference maps and comparative data.
Choose a country (e.g., Afghanistran) and you will see a map followed by much data and description. OR – Do not choose a country and then click on “Reference Maps” to see maps of world regions.

Globalis has many map layers about countries and world regions. Start in upper left--choose a theme under Thematic Maps.
You will see maps about the entire world, or at top left, choose “Zoom to” to select an area.
Choose map topics under either “Statistics” or “Thematic maps.” Be sure to “Update map.”

Le Monde Diplomatique has already-made maps about issue-oriented and controversial topics.

Geography Network is an ESRI interactive mapping site where you can “Search” for maps. You can launch ArcExplorerweb from here.
Using this can be more complicated, but is worth learning about.

Ready-made maps from National Geographic: has “starter” lesson ideas
GOOD: Human footprint

Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection has many current and historic ready-made maps. Choose from a list of continents or from current interest topics. provides historical maps

UNESCO World Heritage has locator map, photos, and descriptions of important historic places. Zoom in and move around on the map to see locations of important places. Important historical places are listed within countries.

USGS Earthshots: Satellite Images of Environmental Change (satellite images) has image and article about each yellow dot

Various historic maps for U.S. and world David Rumsey map collection provides 1000’s of historic maps, BUT
technology and sometimes GIS experience may be necessary. is a searchable site designed for teachers. has dozens of links on the left side

World Atlas of Panoramic Aerial Images shows landforms and land cover. COOL! Choose a region within the world or the U.S. shows contents of “The Electronic Map Library” by Wm. Bowen

GEsource is recommended by librarians for geography-related maps, data, and articles. summarizes CIA Factbook for countries
At top, for “Country,” please select country/region.” Then press “Go.” Choose topic and date range. Compare 4 countries at a time. has city maps (satellite images) Use “keyword search” to find maps and articles.

THANKS CAROL! Teachers: Great resources to use with your smart boards!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

U.S. National Parks

A fun way for your children and students to learn geography, is to have them plan a vacation to a U.S. National Park.
The National Park Service
has a very user friendly website packed with information about each and every National Park--including lesson plans for teachers, free materials, videos for download, maps, history & culture information, trip planning guides, science information, and an interactive Kids' Zone.

Have your students prepare presentations for a "National Park Day"....and invite the whole school to visit (i.e. similar to a science fair)....Make it a competition to see who can produce the most exciting, INFORMATIVE, National Park presentation (let the visiting students vote for their favorite presentation)! And most importantly, make sure all of the students' presentations have a geography component using The Five Themes of Geography as a focus for their research.

The Five Themes of Geography?
Location, Place, Movement, Human/Environmental interactions, Regions

This is one of many videos available on the for download.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Maps and Geography for the little ones

To start introducing your younglings to maps and geography (ages 5-6)...


The website It's a Big Big world offers some simple ideas and family activities to start your kids and students thinking geographically by introducing them to the use of maps..

Multicultural December Celebrations

December is a month full of many types of celebrations around the world.
I found a great website at with lots of ideas and lesson plans for helping your students celebrate the gegographical & multicultural aspects of the December season: also has wonderful multicultural art projects AND lesson plans:
(Search for a specific activity by subject, month, or grade...)