NGS Daily jigsaw puzzles

Friday, October 30, 2009

"The World in a Candy Bar" lesson plan

REPOSTING>>>>>>>>>>>>> turn your students' Halloween chocolate treats into a world geography lesson...............
"The World in a Candy Bar" lesson plan!

This is another great lesson plan, used to show how "Geography Rules!"..even when determining the ingredients of a chocolate candy bar. This would be a great lesson during Geography Awareness Week: Mapping the Americas, because so many of the ingredients that make "good ole U.S.A. candy bars" come from so many other countries -- particularly from the Americas. (click on lesson plans to enlarge).
Another great "geography of chocolate" lesson plan from the Hawaii Geography Alliance:
For 09 Geography Awareness Week "Mapping Europe", explore the European chocolate connections:

Geography of Hallowween

Geography of spooky origins from Europe and places beyond from "witch" Halloween customs migrated to America....

Haunted History of Halloween

In this History of the Holidays segment, discover the history of Halloween and how the Celts played a part in this popular holiday.

See this video at!!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Crayola geography lesson plan

"What's along the coast?"
"How does geography influence people and places? Discover how natural features such as coastlines shape architecture, jobs, and communities." (educator section) consistantly offers creative geography art projects..sign up for their newsletters to receive great updates. I found one of many wonderful lesson plans and activities using modeling clay!!! The lesson plans for this activity are extensive with additional resources, links, & adaptations. Lesson written for grades 4-12

This information is from their lesson plan website gallery:


SkyWatch Friday


This is an interesting photo. Last weekend after
attending the first Uintah Basin GeoFest for the Utah Geographic Alliance, I took different route home. Rather than travelling HWY 40 back to Salt Lake City, I took a crazy, mountainous, switchback-filled, Scenic ByWay route through the Uinta Mountains north into Wyoming and returned to Salt Lake via I-80 west. Many miles up into the Uinta Mts. North from Vernal (hwy 189), on the edge of Ashley National Forest, was a huge open mining operation: Simplot Phosphate mining. Vast areas have been removed in the mining process, but most of the mined areas have also been replanted and apparently huge herds of elk winter here. It was an odd the middle of a semi forested, steep, rocky, rough mountain area to see this "smooth, flattened" replanted mining zone. ...and then this strange rock with a US flag..all by itself way off in the distance right in the middle of this huge mining district added to the strangeness of this whole site. On the google map below, the mining area can be seen (white-ish patch) north west a bit from the Red Fleet State Park reservoir (near hwy 189 sign).

View Larger Map

Friday, October 16, 2009

International Education Week 2009

International Education Week 2009 will be celebrated the same week as Geography Awareness Week (Nov 16-22). The IEW website looks simple, but is packed with lots of resources for teachers and kids.

The site has a few videos, a newsletter, global IQ quiz, promotional logos, and other links....under "Links"...lots of resources for students and teachers to learn about other countries.

SkyWatch Friday

See additional fascinating sky views at:

A big, booming, afternoon thunderstorm passed through my area the other day...followed by a brief break in the clouds...just enough to let in some bright sunshine. The results, of course, was one of the biggest, brightest, most colorful rainbows I've ever seen. These photos don't really show how brilliant the colors were, but I'm glad I snapped a few quick photos before it disappeared.
Cheers to all rainbows: a view "inside" light.

Google for Educators


This site has been around for awhile, but I'm posting this link because of newer applications like Google Mars and Google Ocean. Powerful, FREE, suite of geography tools for teachers and students: Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Sky, Google Sketchup. All of these applications, include GETTING STARTED GUIDES,CLASSROOM IDEAS ,ACTIVITIES,& POSTERS. Also each site has TEACHER COMMUNITY & ACADEMY.

Google Mars to teach Earth landforms?
Using Google Mars use information and video from the Google Mars site to compare similar physical features found on Earth with those on Mars: Regions, mountains, canyons, dunes,plains, ridges, and craters...

-Also on the sight, see history of all the satellites, probes, landers, and their locations on Mars as well as stories discussing the formation or reason for some of the physical features.

Thursday, October 15, 2009



The National Geographic Bee is a school competition for students in any grades four through eight. Excite your students about the world around them and reward those who excel in their knowledge of geography by giving them a chance to compete in a school geographic bee.

The final deadline for registration has been extended to December 11, 2009. After October 15, the registration fee increases to $90. School level Bees can be held up to January 15, 2010. Go to to get complete information and other dates and deadlines.

Principals must register their schools to receive the contest materials necessary to conduct a school level Bee. All we need is a letter on school letterhead, signed by the principal, with the $70 registration fee ($90 after October 15) (check or purchase order made out to National Geographic). The registration is not refundable, so make sure the school registers only once. If paying by purchase order, note that when the school sends payment on the PO it must be clear that the check is payment on a PO that was sent earlier so that the school will not be entered twice in the system.

Mail the registration letter and fee, in the same envelope, to National Geographic Bee, National Geographic Society, 1145 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036-4688.

We look forward to many more schools giving their students the opportunity to excel and also be encouraged to know more about the world in which we live and share, by participating in the National Geographic Bee.

From The Geospatial Project (Penn State University)
"The location of anything is becoming everything!"

Find a link to this video at the above address or at
This video: explains how today’s geospatial revolution is changing everything from shipping to driving, from warfare to humanitarian care.

Friday, October 9, 2009


I'm back visiting SkyWatch again...been away for awhile. Winter is slowly imposing itself along the Wasatch Front Mountains in Utah. Ski resorts have already seen several inches of snow on their slopes. Usually, the Wasatch Front mountains get a "dusting of snow mid September followed by a long cool Autumn. This year the moutains didn't get their first "snow dusting" until Oct 1st. Now the day temps. are lower and gardeners/farmers are racing to get in those last crops of apples and winter squash. This picture shows the first snow on Mt. Timanogos, Wasatch Front, Utah County, Utah, USA..These mountains partly form the eastern boundary of Utah county.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Student Designed Cartograms

Teaching students how to construct cartogram maps will help them compare countries' populations, land areas, GNP, etc. It's a visual and mathematical activity that always gets the kids involved with comparing demographics and statistics of countries. I used this activity for many years with students for various geography projects, but originally found the idea from this award-winning lesson plan: (click on image to enlarge)
I found several other links and websites using online tools to build cartograms as well:
WorldMapper...Amazing pre-made World (MANY TOPICS!!) Cartograms
HOTCHALK: Exploring the USA and and the World with Cartograms:
RETANET: Cartograms to learn about Latin America

National Geographic video clips

Need a geography video clip for instructional purposes?

for downloading on the MSN Video website:

This is as long website address....but the NGS videos are GREAT!!

Wild for Wildebeest
Wild for Wildebeest

Unseen Sahara: Libya From the Sky
Unseen Sahara: Libya From the Sky

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Maps tell many stories (they reveal history)

Occasionally I post older BUT STILL VERY USEABLE AND APPLICABLE geography resources. I hate to see great lessons just disappear into the teaching netherworld, when so many (especially new teachers) are scrambling to find good teaching materials all the time. This post/link/lesson plan is from from National Geography Week 1991 materials Geography: New Worlds to Explore.

In this lesson, students use three historic maps to examine how early European maps reflected the explorations of their day (primarily North American explorations).

LESSON 1 EXPLORING YESTERDAY --Maps Tell More than One Story (They Reveal History). I have scanned the lesson from the original copy that I have to share with you. I give all credit to National Geographic Geography Awareness Week 1991 for the following lesson plan:

(click on the pages to enlarge)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Columbus Day geography activities: old and new

When was Columbus Day declared a Federal Holiday?
In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared Columbus Day a federal holiday, to be celebrated on the second Monday in October. Columbus Day is the commemoration of Christopher Columbus's discovery of America.
(Illustration from Scholastic Newstime 10/4/91)

I used the following activity for many years with my was an article/activity from either the Faces, Calliope, or Odyssey children's magazines? This is a great geography lesson to follow and locate all the trips and problems Christoper Columbus encountered on his high voyages: (double click on the images to enlarge)

Other Links and activities:

Library of Congress archives

Columbus Day art activities...many geography related

PBS/Nova Viking deception

Some older resources from Columbus Quincentennial:

Columbus The Age of Discovery (companion volume to PBS series of same name)

by Zvi dor-Net, ISBN # 0-688-08545-8

(I couldn't find the the video series on the PBS site, might be available on DVD?)

Seeds of Change: 500 years since Columbus

by Herman Viola & Carolyn Margolis

I, Columbus: My Journal

by Peter and Connie Roop

(children's literature) ISBN # 0-380-71545-7

(Have students track Columbus' voyages from the information in this easy-read book!)

Seeds of Change (related webquest)

1491 America Before Columbus, National Geographic Magazine, Oct/91

Where did Columbus Discover America? , National Geographic Map, Nov/86

Spain in the Americas, National Geographic map, 2/92

RETHINKING COLUMBUS:Teaching about the 500th Anniversary of Columbus's arrival in America (special edition of Rethinking Schools/Network of Educators on Central America, 1991, ISBN# 0-942961-14-5

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Free Travel Opportunity to Korea for HS Geography Teachers

From Utah Geographic Alliance / National Geographic EdNet site:

Free Travel Opportunity to Korea for HS Geography Teachers
Posted October 01, 2009

The Dokdo Research Institute in South Korea, along with several other organizations, has invited me to visit Korea with a delegation of high school geography teachers, expenses paid. The dates of the visit are November 22 - 27, 2009. Collaborating organizations are the Northeast Asian History Foundation (host institution of the Dokdo Research Institute), Korean Geographical Society, and the Korean-American Association for Geospatial and Environmental Sciences. Actual departure and return dates are yet to be confirmed. As of today, outbound travel will be on November 20 or 21 due to the International Dateline and return is planned for November 28. If you are selected to participate, then you will be notified of the travel window. The Dokdo Research Institute will reimburse participants for economy round trip air fare from the airport nearest their place of residence, as well as program travel within South Korea, accommodations in South Korea, and meals. Discretionary expenditures by participants will not be reimbursed, such as souvenirs, social drinks, pay for TV, hotel room service, etc. Each participant will be required to prepare a paper (minimum 5 pages, maximum 8 pages) on a topic related to the teaching of geography. Topics will be assigned once the participant list is finalized. There is a choice of topics, but I will need to arrange the focus on a small number of essential topics. I will be preparing a paper as well. As with all funded projects, participants are expected to make a full time commitment to the project during the period of the conference. There will be opportunities for further collaboration with our hosts in the future through other exchanges. As President of NCGE, I urge members of the National Council for Geographic Education who teach in high school (grades 9  12) and APHG teachers to apply. I will provide you with background information on the Korean educational system and geography teaching in particular prior to our departure. To begin the application process, please send me one email message that includes the following: a. Assurance that the project dates are available for your participation. The project is during Thanksgiving week, but the arrangement of substitute teachers that week is reduced to Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in many schools, which is an advantage. The project does not pay for substitute teachers. Check with family and school since it is not an ordinary week in the U.S. I would rather not go through a full application process to discover that the dates are not right for you. b. Include in the email your: First, middle and last name; Do you have a U.S. Passport that is current and will not expire in the next six months? The passport number and place of issue, The grade level(s) you teach, The specific geography course(s) you teach, The name of your school, School telephone number, School address, Your home street address (not a P.O Box number) Your telephone number, since I plan to hold a short telephone interview with each applicant selected for the short list. I will need your email application information by October 9, 2009. I will begin the applicant review process on October 10. Please send your email to: If email difficulties occur, please telephone me at 269-342-1707. Any general questions are preferred by email. Thank you, Joseph Stoltman, NCGE President 2009