Celebrate Geography Awareness Week

Celebrate Geography Awareness Week

This Geography Awareness Week, gather your friends, family, coworkers, and everyone in between to help you celebrate! Use these activity and event ideas during Geography Awareness Week—and the rest of the year—to show your love for geography.

Grades

K, 1 - 12+

Subjects

Geography, Human Geography

Photograph by Mark Fisher
Program
Geography Awareness Week

Your Geography Awareness Week event can be as big as you want it to be. Think about which of the following ideas your audience would enjoy, or be creative and come up with a new, exciting activity. Be sure to tell us about your event and share your photos!

Go Green When Shopping

Outfit your classroom, office, dorm, or home with eco-friendly, “green” accessories and supplies. Most office-supply stores offer items made from recycled and/or sustainable materials.

Volunteer for a Nonprofit Organization

Volunteer with your friends, classmates, coworkers, and neighbors for a day of service during Geography Awareness Week. Some activities you could include are reading to children, cleaning up a nearby park, or planting a community garden.

Organize an International Meal

Use the internet or physical cookbooks to find recipes for food from around the world. Organize a potluck dinner during Geography Awareness Week and encourage your friends, classmates, coworkers, or neighbors to bring foods from their own ethnic or cultural backgrounds.

Organize a GIS Day Event

GIS Day is the Wednesday of Geography Awareness Week. Organize your own GIS Day event to explain what GIS is and the importance of it. If you register your event at GISDay.com, you can receive free resources as well.

Partner With a Local K-12 School

Consider pairing up with a classroom at a local school to participate in a service project or mapping or GIS activity or simply to teach students the value of geography education.

Travel Abroad

College is the perfect time to travel or study abroad, be it for the summer, a semester, or the entire school year. Of course, families travel too! Experience a new culture and natural surroundings, get out of your comfort zone, and learn from others. Catch the travel bug and see where you end up!

Organize a Movie Night

Host a film screening that relates to geography. Invite coworkers, friends, classmates, and neighbors. Check out this geography-themed film list for some ideas.

Host a Speaker Series

Find someone who has done something related to geography that is interesting, inspiring, or just plain cool, and invite them to speak to your class or group. Consider professionals, professors, a local business, authors, and Explorers. If possible, put together a speaker series or panel of speakers.

Go WWOOF-ing

Love to travel? Like volunteering? Why not do both? World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) connects volunteers with owners of farms all around the globe. You select your destination and volunteer on a farm in exchange for room and board for as long as your heart desires. Visit the WWOOF homepage to learn more.

Pursue a Career in Geography

Explore careers in geography and GIS to further your interest in the field. The American Association of Geographers and Esri both provide resources on their websites to get you started, but be creative and find something that truly interests you!

Find an Explorer in Your State

Look for one of National Geographic’s Explorers from your state and find out how you can help with projects in your region.

Organize a Meeting to Increase Geography Awareness

Encourage friends and peers to discuss geography-related topics in the news or projects they are currently working on that relate to geography. Informal settings such as "brown bag" lunchtime discussions and geography-themed snack breaks can provide an opportunity for students to connect and engage one another.

Organize a Field Trip

Organize a class or family trip to a national park or nature center.

Partner With a College or University

Connect with students and professors from one of the hundreds of different college and university geography departments within the United States and Canada. Consider pairing up with a university geography department to participate in a service project or mapping or GIS activity or simply to teach students the value of geography education.

Practice Eco-Friendly Etiquette

There are several ways to decrease one's environmental impact at home. From switching over to eco-friendly cleaning supplies to recycling, people can easily reduce their impact through simple habits. Start by switching out old, energy-inefficient light bulbs and appliances or shopping at a local farmers market, and encourage neighbors and friends to do the same.

Go Geocaching or Earth-Caching

Geocaching is a high-tech scavenger hunt. Players use global positioning system (GPS) devices and clues to navigate to the locations of hidden treasures or “caches.” Earth-caching is similar to geocaching, but rather than searching for hidden stores, participants attempt to identify the coordinates of places—usually unique landscape features such as ponds, rocky outcrops, or other geologic formations. Geocaching and earth-caching are great ways to enjoy the outdoors, explore new places, learn how to use GPS technology, and practice map-reading and navigation skills. To geocache or earth-cache, you’ll need a GPS receiver or a GPS-enabled smartphone. You’ll also need a map of the region you’ll be exploring. Check out geocaching.com to get started.

Explore Local Environmental Change

Rural, suburban, and urban communities all have a history of development and environmental change. Organize students to explore and research the geographic history of their own community. Some suggestions:

  • Ask students to imagine what their neighborhood may have looked like 10, 25, 50, or even 100 years ago and to draw what they think.
  • Have students explore their backyard or local area for clues of past residents, wildlife, and other artifacts.
  • Do students know older people who have lived in the neighborhood for many years? Suggest that the students interview them, asking how the landscape and structure of the town have changed over their lifetimes. Ask if they have any old photographs depicting the community.
  • Have students check local libraries for historical photographs and information. The Internet may also be a good source for information and old photos.
  • Juxtapose old photographs with ones at the same location today, and note the changes.
  • Discuss the different elements of environmental change and development in the community over time. As a class, try to create a narrative throughout history of their town or city.
Organize a Geography Trivia Night

Host a geography quiz night. You could even make it a weekly or monthly event with clever themes for each quiz night, or simply host one yearly event during or around the time of Geography Awareness Week. See our How to Host a Geogaphy Quiz Night guide to get started.

Collaborate With Others Around the World

Partner with another school or classroom to encourage collaboration and cross-cultural engagement. A number of platforms, such as ePals and iEARN, facilitate these connections.

Study an Explorer

Read about National Geographic's Explorers and pick one to research in more depth.

Media Credits

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Writer
National Geographic Education Staff
Producer
Sherilyn Bethoney
other
Last Updated

November 14, 2022

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