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What We Can Learn During Geography Awareness Week

by Andrew Roush
geography awareness week

Building a robust and useful understanding of the world around us involves understanding people, both as individuals and as groups, topics we uncover through social studies subjects. It also requires an understanding of the physical world and the processes that drive it, ideas we explore through math and science subjects. Often, these understandings of the world come together in geography, a subject that can help transcend subjects and connect them.

Educators can help build understanding of complex systems of people and environment, both locally and globally. But traditionally, students in the U.S. have struggled with geography. That’s one of the reason educators, organizations, and individuals celebrate Geography Awareness Week, observed November 15–21 this year.

Mapping Awareness

The American Association of Geographers works to build geoliteracy, or an understanding of geographic concept. They note that tumultuous times make geoliteracy as vital as ever:

This proliferation of maps, visualizations, and storytelling about space and place in 2020 has informed public policies and personal choices, opening a window on how geoliteracy—the understanding and application of geographic concepts and reasoning—can support complex, relational perspectives and decision making for the Earth’s future.

Geography Awareness Week: November 15-21, 2020. AAG.

Geographic knowledge can help build engaged citizens in many ways. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau compiles many resources, data tools, and maps on related social and economic topics, with key statistics and information on tech topics like geographic information systems or GIS.

Exploring Resources

The National Geographic Society, dedicated to “exploring and protecting our planet,” has a number of resources to build geography awareness:

  • Find planning resources and frequently asked questions about Geography Awareness Week here.
  • Dig into NetGeo’s full Geography Awareness Week library, with tips for films to watch, geo-caching activities, and much, much more, as well as the chance to sign up for the National Geographic education newsletter.

The American Association of Geographers also shares a number of tools:

Other resources from AAG include:

More Resources from TechNotes

Celebrating Around the World

Will you and your students take part in Geography Awareness Week? What tools will you use and what topics will you cover? Let us know in the comments!

Photo by slon_dot_pics from Pexels

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