When preparing for a geography bee, students must extend their studies beyond map locations and into relationships or how one area influences another.
Study Aids for Geography Bee Preparation
The first tool students need is an up to date world map that clearly defines country borders and includes physical features such as mountain ranges, deserts and other major land features like the Canadian Shield. It is helpful if the map is portable, so for example, if the student sees something on the news or in a movie, they can quickly grab their map and locate the area that is referenced. It is also fun to have some historic maps to compare to modern maps, to see where ancient civilizations were located in relation to modern cities.
Current Events Source of Information
The geography bee will include questions related to current events. Therefore, the student needs access to a world news source. This could include such sources as BBC News Front Page, CNN.com (see World link), WorldNews.com or The World News Connection. Whenever a location is referenced, it should be located on a map and the student ought to also consider surrounding areas or political associations that could be affected by the latest developments.
Geography Reference Materials
This could include an up to date textbook that includes definitions of geography related terms. Sources should include statistical data such as population figures including distribution and densities. National Geographic 3D Globe is a good software choice for older students that need quick information on world religions, health, education or other comparative data.
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National Geography Standards
These standards, established in 1994 to guide geography course work in the schools, include five major areas and eighteen sub divisions. All major areas of these standards will be addressed during the bee. In brief, these standards require an understanding of the following:
1. The World in Spatial Terms
Knowing how to use maps
The ability to organize people, places and environments into spatial terms
The ability to analyze the spatial organization of people, places and environments
2. Places and Regions
Physical and Human Characteristics of Places
That People Create Regions to Interpret Earth’s Complexity
How Culture and Experience Influence Perceptions of Places and Regions
3. Physical Systems
Physical Processes That Shape the Patterns of Earth’s Surface
Characteristics and Spatial Distribution of Ecosystems
4. Human Systems
Characteristics, Distribution and Migration of Human Populations
Characteristics, Distribution and Complexity of Earth’s Cultures
Patterns and Networks of Economic Interdependence on Earth’s Surface
Processes, Patterns and Functions of Human Settlement
5. Environment and Society
How Human Actions Modify the Physical Environment
How Physical Systems Affect Human Systems
Changes That Occur in the Meaning, Use, Distribution and Importance of Resources
As one can quickly see, these standards encompass many areas, well beyond location. Nearly every school subject, whether social studies or biology, includes geography related concepts. In fact, geography incorporates so many areas that it is almost impossible to study or memorize everything.
Therefore, kids should strive to succeed in all of their course work especially social studies, government, history and earth science to be successful in geography. The goal is to begin to understand how all of these relationships are related. For example how an environmental change affected migration patterns, economics and resources, population distribution or political influence.
If the student is planning to compete in the National Geographic sponsored bee, it is a good idea if they regularly visit their website and read the “Kids News” and their “Bee Resources” pages.
Geography bees may include much geography related subject areas. To succeed, students must make their map their constant companion as they study current events, world history, social studies and earth science. In addition, once they have mastered their maps they should be able to analyze and organize statistical data into spatial relationships. Lastly, successful geography students are able to see the entire modern and ancient world and its populations in spatial relationships and begin to see the inter connectivity of events.
British Broadcasting Corporation, (n.d.). News Front Page. BBC News Website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/.
National Geographic, (n.d.). Geography standards. Expeditions National Geography Standards in Your Classroom Website:
National Geographic, (n.d.). Study Corner. National Geographic Bee Website: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/geographybee/study_corner.html.
The World News Connection, (n.d.). A Foreign News Service from the US Government. Review Latest Headlines Website: http://wnc.fedworld.gov/.
World News, (n.d.). Breaking News. WorldNews Website: http://www.worldnews.com/.