Students must extend their studies beyond map locations and into relationships or how one area influences another when preparing for a geography bee.
Study Aids for Geography Bee Preparation
The first tool students need 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 referenced area. It is also fun to have some historical maps to compare to modern maps, to see where ancient civilizations were located about 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. The student should 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
Established in 1994 to guide geography course work in the schools, these standards include 5 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 succeed 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, 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 many geography-related subject areas. Students must make their map their constant companion to succeed 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 can see the entire modern and ancient world and its populations in spatial relationships and begin to see the interconnectivity of events.
British Broadcasting Corporation, (n.d.). News FrontPage. 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/.