Geography Bee Preparation

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, (see World link), 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.

In Summary

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:

National Geographic, (n.d.). Geography standards. Expeditions National Geography Standards in Your Classroom Website:

National Geographic, (n.d.). Study Corner. National Geographic Bee Website:

The World News Connection, (n.d.). A Foreign News Service from the US Government. Review Latest Headlines Website:

World News, (n.d.). Breaking News. WorldNews Website: