Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.


geography education

Mr. Varley’s APHG site

“Welcome to Mr. Varley’s AP Human Geography website. Scroll over ‘AP Human Geography’ located above to find a drop-down menu for each unit.”


There are many great teacher sites; this one has the great unit-specific resources as well as a student-produced “Motherload review packet.”  Consider having your students collaboratively produce their own review packet.


Tags: geography education, APHG.

Geographic Illiteracy and the Rise of Trump

Even the most accomplished American high school student can graduate knowing more about criminal justice in Puritan New England than about the actual injustices going on every day in the United States. Students can learn every step of the process of photosynthesis and yet have never heard of the Kyoto Accords. They can know how nuclear fission works, and yet they don’t know which countries have nuclear weapons and don’t understand the (perverse) logic of mutually assured destruction. They know the Five Pillars of Islam but don’t know what modern-day country Mecca is in.


I know, I know.  This is more partisan than most articles I typically share, but the title is bit misleading and clickbait-ish.  Approximately 7/8ths of the article is a plea for more geographic instruction in the United States and the value of the AP Human Geography curriculum for understanding the world we live in (and 1/8th is a partisan perspective).  The bulleted section of the article is especially good and would be useful to extract for students (as would some other portions).


Tagseducation, APHG, geography education, 

Speaking the “Language” of Spatial Analysis

“Spatial analysis has always been a hallmark of GIS, the ‘numerical recipes’ which set GIS apart from other forms of computerized visualization and information management. With GIS we pose questions and derive results using a wide array of analytical tools to help us understand and compare places, determine how places are related, find the best locations and paths, detect and quantify patterns, and even to make spatial predictions.”


GIS is a key tool in spatial analysis, but it can also be a driving force in using math, science, technology and (yes) geography as interdisciplinary ways of teaching the curriculum.  StoryMaps can be rich with images and videos, but also filled with data at a variety of scales.  ESRI has share a “Maps we love” page with excellent examples of Story Maps and carefully explains WHY these maps work and HOW they were made.  Are you new to using the Analysis tool in ArcGIS Online?  Try this exercise on analyzing flood risk to guide you through some of the steps to learn what is possible for a project of your own.  What stories can you tell in this rich, visual format?  What visual template shown might lend itself best for that sort of project? 


Tagsmapping, GISESRIgeography education, geospatial, edtech.

U.S. Students Are Really Bad at Geography

Your kid has no idea where Saudi Arabia – or maybe even South Carolina – is. Here’s why.


The U.S. government report on 8th grade geography is not a ‘pick-me-up’ but a sobering reminder of the task that lays before us.  This article quotes a few alliance coordinators on the current situation and how to change it. 


TagseducationK12geography education.

Most Young Americans Can’t Pass a Test on Global Affairs—Can You?

A new survey finds that even college-educated Americans have a lot to learn about the world around them. Take our quizzes to see how much you know.


In a joint initiative from National Geographic and the Council on Foreign Relations, they polled college-educated Americans and (not surprisingly) they found that their global literacy was lacking (see the full report here).  This is why geography courses are needed in all general education programs–you can’t be a competent world citizen without understanding the basic geography and global affairs. 


Tagsgeography education, unit 1 GeoPrinciples, National Geographic.

Why I make cartograms with second graders

“There are few sights more heartening than that of an elementary school whose classrooms and hallways are decorated with world maps. Yet teachers should be careful to make sure that the standard depiction of the world map is not the only map their students encounter. Otherwise, they run the risk that children will assume ‘this is the way the world looks,’ rather than the more complicated reality that ‘this is one of many ways of representing our world.’ One useful antidote to this way of thinking is for students to explore cartograms, which are maps that use the relative area of places to present statistical data.  Please check out my cartogram lesson plan.”


I love this post because it shows that–adjusting for mathematical proficiency and cartographic skill–just about any group of students can work on projects to work with data and explore various ways of how to represent that data.  


Tagseducation, K12geography education, statistics, spatial, mapping. 

Map Men: teaching geography through comedy

Mark Cooper-Jones and Jay Foreman, the Map Men, tap into a rich vein of geographical quirks to teach through comedy


Why am I just now finding out about this resource?!?  This new YouTube channel is full of promise for geography teachers…fun, quirky, full of interesting trivia, but most importantly, these videos are rooted in geographic concepts. 


Tags: mappingfun, videoAPHG, geography education, unit 1 GeoPrinciples.

#GeoEdu16 Research from Routledge

As the proud publisher of both Journal of Geography and The Geography Teacher, the official publications of the National Council for Geographic Education, we couldn’t be more excited to join the NCGE in Tampa for #GeoEdu16. We will be offering NCGE members and attendees FREE ACCESS to specially selected content which reflects core themes of this special meeting: AP Human Geography, Race and Ethnicity, Climate Change and Human Migration, Coastal Geography, Geospatial Technology in the Classroom, Electoral Geography, and National Park Service!


The National Council for Geographic Education is having their 101th conference this week (#GeoEdu16).  The Journal of Geography and The Geography Teacher are fabulous resources produced by NCGE for geography educators (and great reasons to become a member of NCGE).  The recent APHG special edition is among the free downloads that will be available through the end of this year, so start downloading!  


Tags: NCGEAPHG, geography education, teacher training.

Keynote Address at the AP Human Geography Reading

“I gave the keynote at the AP Human Geography reading, entitled The Age of Geotechnologies:  Five Converging Forces, available here.  The keynote was given as an Esri storymap!  It was a great honor to give this presentation and interact with some of the world’s finest geography educators!”


TagsAPHG, storymapgeography education, teacher training, ESRI.


Blog at

Up ↑