Geography Bee Training Tips

Every year thousands of schools across the United States compete for the National Geography Bee Championship. Students in grades four through eight are eligible for the competition and the school Geography Bees are already happening. The State Bees are March 30, 2012, and the National Bee will take place in Washington D.C. May22-24, 2012.  These are helpful tips and techniques that will help students advance in the competition. The contest is meant to encourage teachers to include geography in their classrooms, spark student interest in the field, and increase public awareness about geography. The Geography Bee is an educational journey for students that gives the field of geography the national recognition it deserves.

Take the GeoBee Quiz!

Lady of the Bee

National Geography Bee YouTube Channel

Source: About

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Megan Zaccaro, VERTICES intern. megan.zaccaro@vertices.com

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Youth Community Mapping Network Shared All Over the World

Children are surveying their communities and getting in touch with their environments all over the world. Green Maps has created a community mapping network that allows youth to share their project goals, progress and results on a global scale. Many of the projects are done in educational settings, but all the effort and observation is done by the youth. For example, technology students at St. John Vianney School are working on creating a bicycle-friendly Green Map. Creating Green Maps is an ambitious attempt to improve the overall quality of living in neighborhoods. If community members feel safe and knows what is going on in their area they will be more likely to participate!

Register You Project Today!

Youth Green Maps – Search by Continent!

Educational Resources

Source: Green Maps

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Megan Zaccaro, VERTICES intern. megan.zaccaro@vertices.com

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National Geographic Kids Collect 2 Miles Worth of Shoes!

National Geographic Kids has been making valiant efforts towards collecting shoes from their readers, celebrities like Cameron Diaz and anyone that could contribute. They have successfully broke the Guinness World Record for the longest chain of shoes, in Washington D.C.. National Geographic readers donated over 10,000 pairs of shoes which made over two miles of donations set up from heel to toe. All the shoes will be given to Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program. This program recycles sneakers into material that will help build surfaces for basketball courts, soccerfields, and playgrounds. National Geographic is promoting generosity and recycling!

Notable Donation from Celebrities

Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe Program

Source: National Geographic Kids

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Megan Zaccaro, VERTICES intern. megan.zaccaro@vertices.com

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Kids Love Geocaching!

Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game where people use GPS to search for mystery containers and share their experiences online. The containers contain assorted items for participants to take one thing and leave one thing to make the game more interesting. The container also contain log books to allow people to record their names and the date they found the geocache. Geocaching is a simple idea that has gotten children all over the world out of their houses and exploring their environments in exquisite detail. Smart phone technology has made finding geocaches and sharing experiences even easier.  Geocaching is a great activity that not only teaches geography, but makes it dynamic and exciting! Search geocaches in your hometown, you will be surprised how many there will be!

Search Geocahces in Your Town!

Source: Geocaching

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Megan Zaccaro, VERTICES intern. megan.zaccaro@vertices.com

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Echo the Bat Teaches Remote Sensing

NASA has created a great website, The Adventures of Echo the Bat, to help introduce kids to remote sensing. Children use remote sensing to follow Echo the Bat on his journey to his winter hibernaculum. The story mainly focuses on using false-color images to track where Echo has been. Geography has a variety of branches and remote sensing is an important tool. Introducing kids early to remote sensing and othergeography areas is likely to spark an interest. The Adventures of Echo the Bat comes with an extensive background story and great images. Echo the Bat can also help educate about the electromagnetic spectrum. A great way to pass the time and learn something new!

Teacher Resources for Echo the Bat

Source: NASA

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Megan Zaccaro, VERTICES intern. megan.zaccaro@vertices.com

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Carl Stuart Middle School Emphasizes Geography

Seventh grade students of Conway, Arizona keep geography in their daily school days. They whole class worked together to collect all kinds a geographical data about their town like outdoor activities, festivals, clubs, shopping, activities centers, schools and much more! Their list of data points was extensive and they presenting their information in an organized poster fashion. Geography is ignored in classrooms across the country. Subjects like reading and math get the most attention and the sciences can get left on the back burner. Geography is very valuable for students, especially when they are learning about their own space. Carl Stuart Middle School students will be more active in their community since they have seen all it has to offer. They will also influence their friends and family to be more active members of their society. Carl Stuart Middle School has set a great example for teachers everywhere.

Source: thecabin.net

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Megan Zaccaro, VERTICES intern. megan.zaccaro@vertices.com

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Video Games Encourage Using Spatial Data

Video game development has always been fascinating, but the new game, SSX, takes it to the next level. SSX is a snowboarding game that is inspired by Google Earth and uses NASA topographical data to create the interface. The elevation models provide nine major regions around the world with multiple mountains and multiple drop points. SSX has taken the initiative to make each available location real and unique. For example, the Alaska drop points include the Alaskan Pipeline and crumbling snow. The most important thing about SSX using geographical data for their video games is their effort to create previews on how they did it. SSX has creators that want to get the word out on how they made their game. Kids are more likely to be introduced to video games before geography in today’s world. Integrating geographical data in SSX will expose kids and adults to geography in a way that is exciting, daring and new. SSX will be released February 28th, with more series of the video game in the making.

CHECK OUT SSX PREVIEW VIDEO

Source: VerySpatial

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Megan Zaccaro, VERTICES intern. megan.zaccaro@vertices.com

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Charting the World: Geography and Maps from Cave Paintings to GPS

Richard Panchyk has written an amazing children’s geography book, “Charting the World: Geography and Maps from Cave Paintings to GPS.’ This book has a variety of ways to intrigue children into wanting to explore their world. Panchyk’s book makes geography colorful and fun like it should be. There are numerous activities like treasure hunts and making nautical maps of puddles. Children have not always had access to maps like they do today. Every atlas used to sit on some bookshelf somewhere in some library where nobody would study it. Because of computers and other technologies Geography is now readily available for children to explore in ways that go beyond studying state capitols. Panchyk understand how important it is for kids to have interesting exposure to geography. Geography is a window into the diversity of people and the world we live in!

BUY ‘CHARTING THE WORLD: GEOGRAPHY AND MAPS FROM CAVE PAINTINGS TO GPS’

INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD PANCHYK

Source: Chicago Tribune

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Megan Zaccaro, VERTICES intern. megan.zaccaro@vertices.com

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Tree Trunk Turntable? Music from Nature

In Germany, a scientist changed the way tree trunks are understood around the world. Instead of simply getting season information and age data from tree trunks we can now listen to their life through music. Using the good old turntable design and a PlayStation eye needle tree trunks come alive to tell their stories. The trunk is simply sliced very thin similar to record and placed on the turntable. The eye gives tones to the difference in tree thickness, strength, growth rate, texture and even overall color. The table is hooked up to a computer that translates the variables into piano tones. This is a great invention! Each tree has it’s own unique style and song. Children love hearing about this new discovery!

LISTEN TO TREE TRUNK MUSIC!

Source: DOGOnews

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First Teenager to Sail Around the World!

Laura Dekker is a 16-year old girl who just returned from her trip sailing around the world! Laura is the youngest person to ever sail around the world completely solo. The trip was over 30,000 miles traveled on a 38-foot boat, Guppy, and took just about a year to complete. Laura departed from St. Maarten in January 2011 and returned to St. Maarten in January 2012. Laura gets her ambition and navigation skills from her parents. She was born during a seven-year world voyage that her parents undertook. Laura planned her trip for years and is very excited to be able to say she completed her goal! She took geography to a new level and explored it herself. Laura faced storms and lonliness, but she visited amazing parts of the world and even learned to play the flute. Laura Dekker is an amazing inspiration! She proves that age is no limit for greatness.

Check out Laura’s Blog

Source: Scholastic News

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Megan Zaccaro, VERTICES intern. megan.zaccaro@vertices.com

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