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Developed vs developing maps

Geography can be difficult to teach – sometimes it can seem like it’s mostly just facts and places. Regions. Types of mining in different places. Weather patterns. Vegetation. Lots of, well . . . boring stuff. It becomes easy to simply present the facts and ask kids to memorize things.

But we can do better. One way to do better is to ask better questions. Let kids discover things on their own. Let them solve problems. One way to do this is ask questions about maps. But not just regular, turn to page 47 in your geography textbook kind of maps. But, you know, cool maps.

So here ya go. A world map using only the locations of the world’s runways, helicopter pads and airports.

airport world map

Here’s another one. A moving world map using 420,000 hacked computers.

hacked computers

How about this one? A map highlighting world wide Facebook usage.

facebook world map

So you got some maps. What questions can you ask?

How about:

  • Where are the developing countries? How do you know?
  • Does location make a difference in who has access to knowledge? Does this matter?
  • How does access to electricity impact how people live?

What questions can you come up with?

17 Comments Post a comment
  1. I worked all summer on revamping my geography unit specifically for the reasons mentioned in your blog. I dreaded this unit every year. Thanks for the great ideas, definitely makes more of an impact by asking questions instead of spitting out facts.

    July 27, 2013
    • glennw #


      Geography is tough! So you might also like some stuff that I wrote that focuses on some very interesting books. Find the post at:

      Good luck! Thanks for the comment!


      July 28, 2013
      • Looks like I am about to make another Amazon purchase. Great book, thanks for the rec. At the rate I am going, I might be teaching geography all year!

        July 30, 2013
      • glennw #


        You won’t be sorry! Awesome book. I’d love to hear how you use it!


        July 30, 2013
  2. jacob benner #

    I agree geography needs to be looked at from different views for not only kids to learn easier, but for teachers to have more than one way to teach geography if one way does not work. The different types of maps is a good idea, but I think we should expand our options and be more creative with it.

    September 8, 2013

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