Geography Matters

What is Geography?

Geography (from Greek, literally "earth description") is a field of science  devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth.  The first person to use the word Geography was Eratosthenes (276–194 BC). Geography is an all-encompassing discipline that seeks an understanding of Earth and its human and natural complexities - not merely where objects are, but also how they have changed and come to be.

 

Geography is often defined in terms of two branches: physical geography and human geography. Physical geography is concerned with the study of processes and patterns in the natural environment like the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere.  Human geography is concerned with the study of people and their communities, cultures, economies, and interactions with the environment by studying their relations with and across space and place. 

 

Geography has been called "the world discipline" and "the bridge between the human and the physical sciences”.

Five Themes of Geography

The Five Themes were developed by the National Council for Geographic Education to provide an organized framework for the presentation of geographic materials. The Five Themes are as follows:

1. Location: Position on the Earth's Surface (Absolute/Relative)

Geographic study begins with the location of places on the earth. Places have absolute locations that pinpoint them on the earth, and relative locations that place each location in respect to other locations. For example, North Dakota has an absolute location that can be pointed to on any basic map. It also has a relative location in that it has a location within the economic system based on its characteristics and location within the world market. North Dakota has its absolute location's characteristics for soil and climate, yet the success of wheat growing is also related to its location to the edge of more expensive farm land to the east.

2. Place: Physical and Human Characteristics

Places have physical and human characteristics that make them what they are. Geography emphasizes the understanding of both of these factors and their integration together.

3. Human/Environment Interactions: Shaping the Landscape

The landscape of the earth is no longer a purely physical feature. Humans have impacted every area of the earth, but in varying ways. The geography of places is influenced by the degree to which humans have impacted their local environment.

4. Movement: Humans Interacting on the Earth

The postmodern world is one of great interaction between places. This movement is inherently geographic, whether it is by telecommunications or ship.

5. Regions: How They Form and Change

The essential geographic feature is the region. A region is any unit of space that is unified by the presence of some characteristic. The Corn Belt, stretching from Indiana to eastern Nebraska, is an area in which corn is a dominating product. The Corn Belt is a region within the United States.

Importance of Geography

In an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world, knowing about the world and the happenings around will enable us to understand how remote events have the ability to impact people's lives all around the world. Geography connects physical systems, cultural characteristics, evolution and modification of environments and availability and distribution of resources. By being geographically literate and having a mental map of the world, children will become better global citizens and consequently, be primed to be active players on the world stage. They are also more likely to appreciate Mother Earth as the homeland of humankind, for making wise management decisions about how the planet's resources should be conserved and used in the next century.

Why Geography Bee?

Preparing for the Geography Bee competitions is a fun way of learning about places, events and people, all around the world! It increases geographic knowledge across all themes and helps children in being able to answer a variety of questions in a multitude of settings. It instills in them the universal principles of education – the desire to learn, the ability to focus, the discipline to stay on course, the importance of working hard, an opportunity to understand novel concepts and to make a sense of everyday world events. Preparing for Geography Bee leads to learning important lessons, These lessons are critical for higher achievement not only in competitions but also in academia.