We live in a global society, and now more than ever it's crucial we educate our children to be conscious of the world as a whole, as well as their place in it as individuals and as part of communities. Evan-Moor's geography products are an excellent first step in this process, helping students to navigate the often-difficult terrain of the nations. These supplemental texts cover everything from reading a map, to learning facts about African countries, to identifying all types of land forms.
A particular strength of these titles is their usefulness to parents whose children are not homeschooled. If your kids are in public, private, or charter schools, the Evan-Moor geography books are great ways to make sure they're up to speed and comprehending at their grade level. These are also excellent titles for teachers who want to supplement their curriculum with extra homework or in-class practice, or who simply need more ideas for instruction.
Beginning Geography is intended for K-2 grade students, and starts at the very beginning (as the name implies). Students start by discerning between up, down, right, and left, progress to reading more complex maps, learn about habitats and landforms, and get a general idea about the globe and its continents. All 93 activity pages are reproducible and integrate hands-on with writing and memorization; two full-color foldout maps are included.
For grades 1-6+, the Daily Geography Practice series takes students from the most basic elements (reading and understanding simple maps, discerning direction, etc.) to fairly complex knowledge (such as in-depth country-specific information and translating more difficult maps). Each volume is broken into 36 weekly units, with daily assignments all built around a central theme. Every unit is accompanied by a map of some kind, daily questions, teacher notes, and an overhead transparency of the map.
None of the assignments should take too much time, but cumulatively they should foster an interest in and knowledge of the external world, along with its terrain, climates, populations, and so forth. Daily Geography Practice is a supplemental course rather than an independent curriculum, but it really could suffice for elementary students; the information learned here will provide a solid foundation for more in-depth study in middle and high school.
If you're looking for something less broad, The 7 Continents may be the series you want. Each volume is a worktext based on one of the seven continents, and including sections on that contintent's global context, political divisions, physical features, resources, and culture. Assignments are one page each, and contain content to read, maps to study, and written activities; answers to all activities and questions can be found in the back of the book.
Simply doing map activities is one of the primary ways kids learn geography. Maps of the USA for grades 1-6 includes fifty state maps along with fifty pages of fun facts. Larger regional maps and several educational activities help them understand our nation's layout. For grades 3-6, The World Reference Maps & Forms provides 92 physical, political, and blank maps for students to color, study, and fill in, getting a feel for the earth's surface as they do so.
None of these activity books exist primarily to entertain (though most kids will probably enjoy the map assignments and the activities); instead, they're intended to help students understand the world as it physically exists, and as governments have sectioned it off. Such knowledge is essential, not only for creating good citizens, but also for making students who are able to understand history, literature, science, and all kinds of other geography-dependent disciplines.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.
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