Geography awareness

        I was reading a story to my class. It took place in Paris, and the Eiffel Tower appeared in the background. One of my students surprised me by knowing the name of the Eiffel Tower, that it was in Paris, that Paris is in France, and that France is in Europe. He distinguished himself among his peers, as many of them had no similar sense of geography.

        Parents are in an excellent position to help children become aware of geography and the terms associated with it. For example:

  • When you shop for groceries, look for labels on fruit, vegetables, and other food items to indicate the country or region of origin.

  • Look on the labels in your familyís clothing and other household items.

  • Talk to your child about your familyís country of origin.

  • When you hear people speaking other languages, teach your child to be respectful of this. Most people, if approached in a friendly way, will be delighted to teach you and your child a few words of their native tongue.

  • When communicating with family members who live outside your immediate area, talk with the children about the city, state, or country in which they live.

  • Whether your favorite source for news is television, newspaper, radio, or the Internet, the media is rich with references to other countries.

  • Use direction words such as north, south, east, and west to describe where you are walking or driving. Relate these words to the directions used on maps. The same principles are involved whether you are using a road map or atlas.

  • Use geography terms with your child. Hundreds of them are attached to place names. Children who understand common terms such as bay, delta, foothills, mountain, peninsula, swamp, and woods may enjoy learning less familiar terms such as continental slope, escarpment, isthmus, shoal, and veldt. (On my website, I will include more than 200 terms, from alpine tundra to zone, with this column.)

        When your child shows deeper interest, move from the atlas to books that cover history, language, and customs of other peoples. In so doing, you will have a child who is well prepared for geographic references wherever she encounters them.

These geography terms appear on page 111 of Teach Your Children Well: A Teacherís Advice for Parents, by Jay Davidson.

alpine tundra dell locks reservoir
Antarctic delta lookout ridge
archipelago desert lowland rift valley
Arctic dike marsh river
area district meadow saddle
arm divide meander sandbank
atoll drainage basin mesa sandbar
badlands dune mile savannah
bank elevation mount sea
bay embankment mountain sea arch
bayou escarpment mountain pass sea cave
beach estuary mountain range sea stack
berg field mouth seamount
bitty berg fjord narrows seashore
bluff foothills national park shoal
bog ford oasis shoreline
breakers forest ocean slope
breakwater gap ocean ridge sound
brink geyser ocean trench source
brook glacier oxbow lake spit
butte gorge palisade springs
canal grassland pampas stalactite
canyon growler panhandle stalagmite
cape gulch pass state
capital gulf passage steppe
cascade gully pasture strait
cataract guyot peak stream
cave harbor peninsula summit
cavern headland piedmont swamp
channel headwater pier tableland
chasm highland pinnacle temperate zone
city hill plain territory
cliff hollow planet timber
coast horizon plateau timberline
coastline iceberg point torrid zone
continent inlet polar zone town
continental divide island pole trail
continental shelf isle pond tributary
continental slope isthmus port tropical zone
country junction prairie tundra
county jungle precipice valley
county seat key promontory veldt
cove kilometer province village
crag knob quarry volcano
crater knoll quicksand waterfall
creek lagoon rain forest watershed
crest lake rapids wetlands
crevasse land ravine wharf
dale landing reef whitewater
dam levee region woodlands
This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents. All columns are copyright © Jay Davidson.  Permission is hereby granted for individuals to download and copy them for individual use.  There is a modest charge for printing these columns in any publication.  To receive that permission, contact   Jay Davidson