NGS Daily jigsaw puzzles

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Geography Cartoons/Comic Strips

Newpaper comic strip cartoons are filled with geography related subjects that can be used as "jumping off points" or "instruction starters"...
Mike Keefe often produces comic strip/cartoons that are geography related.
Permission to post this cartoon granted from:
Mike Keefe, The Denver Post &
See Mike Keefe's cartoons at:

Geography Quote

“A map is the greatest of all epic poems. Its lines and colors show the realization of great dreams.”

Gilbert H. Grosvenor, Editor of National Geographic (1903- 1954)

Continental Quizzes/Tests

As a sixth grade teacher for many years, I discovered each year that many of my students could not name or locate the continents!! Therefore I always started the year with teaching the basics...shape of the earth/oceans and continents. I used many tools and teacher tricks to teach the continents, but found myself using this quick quiz (MAP READING--THE WORLD, PART 1, Milliken Publishing co.) for review, pretests, tests, etc. No, the continents are not to scale, but kids learn to recognize the shape of the continent as well. (double-click on image to enlarge) There are a zillion little tests and quizzes online now too..I've listed a few that I found. These sites are great geography continent practice resources/review for those sheduled times in the computer labs or if you have a one-computer classroom, --or you could use these sites as homework assignments. Many of these programs could be used for the really young kidlets too!!
(quick, easy loading game to identify continents)
(audible/clickable maps for practice and quizzes)
(clickable map quizzes)
(continental facts quiz)
(printable quizzes)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Chinese New Year

Happy Chinese New Year! The above video is about the history of the Chinese New Year traditions. I've listed several teachers sites below with all kinds of lesson plans & activities related the Chinese New Year!

Start with a China Geography lesson plan from Asia Society:

Chinese New Year activities and customs: (online powerpoint presentations about Chinese New Year subjects) (lots of ideas here and lesson plans) (New Years celebrations and traditions of many different cultures!!)

Geography of Monarch Butterflies

I just received notice from PBS/NOVA of a new program: "The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies". FANTASTIC geography component when teaching butterfly metamorphosis to the younglings!!!!

"Program Overview :
NOVA traces the monarch butterfly's 2,000-mile migration to Mexico from Canada and the Northeastern United States."

Excellent geography viewing/lesson ideas:

Additional links and book resources listed on the site as well!!

Also...if your school is still planning a Geography Awareness Week: Mapping the Americas...This would be a perfect subject to complement your Americas' mapping activities!!!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rand McNally Classroom

I thought I would share a popular resource that I know many teachers are using to help them teach geography, social studies, earth sciences, and other subjects:
Rand McNally Classroom.
This is a subscription service but offers a FREE 14-day trial. See for 14-day FREE online trial.

Rand McNally Classrsoom is an award-winning website loaded with easy access maps of all (18,00+) types of reference & history maps, online atlases, games, activities, lesson plans, current events, reference articles and teacher tools (including "Traveling Teddies" postcards, "Where in the world?" photos, etc)..

Rand McNally Classroom is content rich, and very user - friendly for teachers and students!

PARTNERS Video Mgazine

A GREAT FREE Geography Resource!!!!!!
Partners Video Magazine
Partners is an award-winning video magazine produced by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES). It highlights the programs and accomplishments of the partnership between CSREES and the Land Grant University System in the areas of research, education, and extension.

This USDA online video magazine website provides a huge variety of free materials including videos for download (or on DVD) on all types of technology & agricultural topics. Entire episodes or individual segments/topics are available for download. Episode titles include: Fueling America, The Science of Small, Fluid Planet, and many other geography related topics. This site also provides possible grant information!!!

SkyWatch Friday?

See what others are reporting:
I'm supposed to report interesting skyviews from my little corner of the world. Hum. Not much to report here....Our valleys here in Utah (along the Wasatch Front mountains) have been filled for DAYS and DAYS not with blue skies/sunshine-- but rather dreary, dirty, gloomy, gunky, fridgid, smoggy inversion weather. We have received daily "RED alert" air quality reports prohibiting homeowners from using woodburning stoves (unless only heat source), advising those with respiratory illnesses to stay indoors and encouraging drivers to limit the use of vehicles. Above the inversion layers, the Mountain Top ski resorts and communities are opposite and basking in lovely, clear weather, while in the lower elevation valleys we are stuck in gucky COLD air temps piling hoar frost on everything. We need a good winter storm to "stir the air" --push out this inversion--and bring back some sunshine !!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

SkyWatch Friday

See what others are seeing when looking skyward:

The Wasatch Front mountains, as seen from my back door, have many "personalities"..including this snowy, salmon-colored afternoon winter face. BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Origami globes

The National Geophysical Data Center &

NOAA Satellite and Information Services have many incredible satellite photos, maps, posters, and student activities at their education site : --including

NGDC Origami Balloon (composite satellite world images that can be folded into a globe)

Dodecahedron (composite satellite images folded into another globe)

IB geography level website

WOW what a site for IB school geography instructors & students!

"The aim of (& its updated site to provide online geography resources, student projects, talking head instructors, weekly geography contest, professional development, newsletters, and lessons for geography teachers and students at Key Stage 3, MYP, GCSE, IGCSE, AS, A2 and IB Geography level "
(see following link for more site info)

Distance calculator

This is a great website (with many other links) that quickly calculates distances between cities,etc.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Arctic Issues

I previously posted information about the NOVA PBS/ tv series "ARCTIC PASSAGE". In following the "books and links" from the "ARCTIC PASSAGE" webpage , I found three additional very helpful sites concerning Arctic geography subjects including human geography:
Arctic Studies National Museum of Natural History's Arctic Studies Center hosts a Web site dedicated to the culture of northern peoples. Explore issues of history, archeology, and social change.
NOAA Arctic Theme National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration provides information on Arctic research, including a climate index, photo gallery, articles, and more.
Arctic Conservation WWF offers a Web site devoted to Arctic conservation, policy, and species protection. Learn about current issues affecting the region through audio and video clips, interviews, photos, and articles.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

See what others are seeing when looking skyward:

Lovely snowy Mt. Timpanogos reflecting the late afternoon sunshine.

Mt. Timpanogos is part of the Wasatch Mountains, N/E Utah County, Utah, USA.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Arctic Geography

NOVA/PBS has many excellent geography & space related TV programs. Register on the PBS teachers website to receive upcoming programs @
I received this notice from NOVA today about the Arctic Passage. NOVA/PBS programs have websites that provide all kinds of resources for teachers. See the teacher resource website for this program @ This website provides information about the program including: watching the program online, related books & links, teacher guides & lesson plans, transcripts, slide shows and interactive activities.
I also found another great teacher website about snow:
National Snow & Ice data Center

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Are you a teacher trying to find a fabulous, one-stop-has-it-all, online educational resource about Asia? Then visit: Asia Society online @ !!!

Asia Society has quality lesson plans, maps, publications, current events, newsletters, travel/teacher exchange/conference opportunities, interactive student/parent information, Asian language introduction, Asian holiday information, careet information, geography lessons, and links to many other related Asian topics. This site is loaded with numerous resources (too many to list them all here)...a terrific site for teacher background information as well as a resource for students' homework &/or reports.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

"A World of Luck"

I'm sharing an interesting article from The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City Utah, USA) last week about the different world traditions of "good luck" associated with the New Year's Eve celebrations:

"A world of luck: New Year's rituals to prosper in the coming year vary from country to country

By Roxana Orellana The Salt Lake Tribune

Updated: 12/31/2008 05:15:27 PM MST
Traditions »
Many Utahns living through the worst economic downturn in decades can use more than a little luck in 2009.
So rather than watching the ball drop in Times Square or kissing your sweetie at the strike of midnight to usher in the new year, why not try out a new tradition?
All around the world, people greet the new year with rituals intended to bring luck, love, health and prosperity. Some traditions you might want to try include:
Latin America » In Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile, El Salvador, Colombia, Mexico and Peru and other Latin American countries, a common ritual involves packing a suitcase on New Year's Eve so it will bring good travels and good fortune in the year ahead. Variations of the tradition include running with a suitcase, getting on a chair with a suitcase, circling the house while dragging a suitcase, crossing the street or taking a suitcase out the front door.
During the holidays in Bolivia, stores sell all sorts of plastic miniature items to put in a suitcase, depending on what kind of good fortune a person is looking for. Jackie Slack, of Salt Lake City, said her mother, who lived in different countries throughout Latin America, said people in Bolivia will pack their suitcases with fake money and go up and down the stairs of the house.
Or, farmers will buy miniature seeds and farming tools, put them in buckets and place them under their Christmas trees in hopes
of good crops in the coming year.
In Brazil and Mexico » people eat a meal of lentils or rice to encourage prosperity. Eating 12 grapes as the clock strikes midnight and making a wish for each grape eaten is also said to bring prosperity to the person.
For luck, Brazilians wear white clothing. For luck in love, Mexicans wear red underwear. In Venezuela, the color for luck is yellow.
In Greece » luck comes from a coin in a piece of sweet bread or cake eaten just after midnight. Nitsa Tsoutsounakis, who makes the cake, called vasilopita , for her family, said a coin is added to the batter before baking. Whoever finds the coin in his or her piece of bread will have good luck for the whole year. Greek tradition calls for the first piece to be cut symbolically for Jesus or the Orthodox church; subsequent pieces are cut to represent the home and family members.
To scare away evil spirits » for venturing into the new year, natives of Portugal gather on their balconies and make as much noise as possible with pots and pans.
Perhaps the old year didn't bring you everything you had hoped for, but with some adopted traditions, maybe your luck will change. "

Friday, January 2, 2009

SkyWatch Friday

See what others are seeing when
looking skyward @

Good Morning and Happy New Year! I live in northern Utah County, (south of Salt Lake County) in Utah, USA. Utah County is a high desert valley surrounded by the Wasatch Mountains to the east, and the Oquirrh mountains to the west

We've had a lot of snow the last month, piling up high in the surrounding mountains. This morning, I captured a couple of pretty mountain shots...all snowy and frozen highlighted by the rising sun.