Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Geography Club

I host a Geography Club at my house twice a month for some families in my homeschool support group. There are about 15 kids between the ages of 7 and 14, plus parents, who gather for 2 hours every other Thursday afternoon for geography games & quizzes, presentations, and refreshments. We focus on a different continent each month for our refreshments amd presentations. 

This all started because my friend Faye used to host a similar Geography Club once a month back when my older kids were elementary/middle school age, and they always enjoyed that.  I like looking at maps and books and learning about different places in the world; we have several geography games sitting on our shelves; J is always up for getting together with a bunch of other kids ~ so voila!   Geography Club has been resurrected and is going strong! I actually had so many responses when I put a note out on our email loop that we wouldn't have all fit in my house, so I recruited another mom to host a 2nd club at her house on the same afternoons! 

What do we do at Geography Club?

First, the kids all gather in the living room ( on the couches, chairs, floor...) for presentations. Anyone can volunteer to do a presentation - usually just a very short talk on a certain aspect of the continent of the month.  This offers great experience in talking in front of a group and provides an opportunity to practice public speaking skills like enunciating, making eye contact, using visual aids. We have had presentations about animals of the Amazon rainforest, traditional food of North America, and a Christian missions organization that drops Bibles into remote & dangerous areas of Colombia via parachute! 

After the presentations, I give a brief overview of geography facts pertaining to that month's continent, maybe pointing things out on a map or in a book.  Then the kids break up into groups to play various geography games & quizzes, with parents spreading out to help.  I print off worksheets from Enchanted Learning
and giant maps of the continents (3 x 3) from Mega Maps. 
I tape the giant maps together,draw on mountains and rivers and color in the bodies of water, and then laminate them with clear contact paper. Then I print out small labels on white cardstock, laminate them, and attach to the maps with Velcro Dots.  The kids have fun taking the labels off the map, and then using a digital timer to see how fast they can relabel the map. The older kids write down their times and see who can do it the fastest! ( make it a game/competition and they can't wait to play!)  

I created a Landforms BINGO game by making a list of 24 geographic landforms and using Google Images to find pictures that I could print off and glue to a Bingo Card I drew on four 16 x16 pieces of poster board.  I wrote the description of each landform on an index card. To play, a parent reads the description and the kids have to find the correct landform on their card and cover it with a marker( we use Skittles!)  The kids get lots of help finding the correct picture - this is all about learning! Whoever gets 5 in a row first is the winner, everyone gets to eat a few Skittles, and then play again. :-)

Jeopardy is another game the kids love! Come up with 5 or 6 categories -  Capitals, Physical Geography, People, Superlatives ( biggest, smallest, coldest, etc), Famous Landmarks, etc.  Then make a poster with the Jeopardy categories and amounts listed. Come up 5 questions for each category, ranging from easy to hard, and write them on index cards. To play, the kids can either play is individuals or as teams ( depending on how many kids you have), and take turns choosing a category and point amount. If they answer that question  correctly, they get the points and play moves on to the next team. If they don't, the parent reads the correct answer and goes on to the next team. Everyone hears the correct answer so they are learning as they play!

Some of the other board games and card games we have are Great States, Where in the World?, GeoSafari, Professor Noggins card gamesWorld Map Game.  I also have several maps on my dining room table, under a clear vinyl sheet ( sold by the yard at fabric stores), atlases and library books on the various countries, continents, regions - which the kids can use as reference.  We play games for about an hour to an hour and a half, then have refreshments, and clean up! 

Everyone has been having a blast so far. The kids are making some new friends. And I have another motivation to get the house picked up twice a month!


Alex Johnson said...

I love it! It sounds like a lot of fun! :)

GrammaJelly said...

Again, wish A was so much closer...she is very competetive and would LOVE this! Keep it up, my child! ! ! ! !