Back to School

Back to School

Get ideas for incorporating geography into your classroom and helping students get to know one another.


K, 1 - 6



Photo: Mapmaker kits in the classroom.
Photograph by Mark Thiessen, National Geographic

Get ideas for incorporating geography into your classroom. Help students get to know one another at the start of the school year with place-based activities and projects.

idea image
Class Census

Give your students a class census to learn things about them that will be useful throughout the school year. Introduce the concept of a census. Then give students a questionnaire that tells you their name, birthday, the number of people in their family and their names, pets, favorite subjects, hobbies, sports, friends, and favorite foods.

Photograph of antique glass globe.
Open House Activity

At the first open house or orientation, display a large map of the world. Have parents or caregivers mark where they or their ancestors are from. Investigate those places with your students during the school year.

Photograph of a chalkboard in a classroom.
Classroom Treasure Hunt

Help students quickly get to know the classroom and its rules. Create a simple classroom map. Then ask students to do several things, such as "Find the place where you would X." At each area, students can get a sticker and place the sticker on the map in the correct place. Go over students' maps later to see if they found everything

Photograph of a classroom scene.
Classroom Map

Create a simple classroom map showing all the desks or tables in the room. Label each with students' assigned seats. Give each student a copy of the map to help them learn their classmates' names while practicing map skills.

Photograph of woman looking at an inflatable globe.
Countries A to Z

Have students sit or stand in a circle. Throw an inflatable globe to one of the students. He or she should find a country beginning with the letter A and throw it in the air again. Repeat until students have gone through the alphabet. Have a list of countries A to Z handy in case students get stuck.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Christina Riska Simmons
Jessica Shea, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Photo Researcher
Emily Connor
Last Updated

October 19, 2023

For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. They will best know the preferred format. When you reach out to them, you will need the page title, URL, and the date you accessed the resource.


If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media.


Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service.


Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. You cannot download interactives.

Related Resources