The ancient Greeks used a word meaning “earth description” for the discipline we refer to today as geography. Students study the Earth, its features, and its people — world geography — to understand the relationship between people and places, to appreciate the Earth as a resource to be wisely managed and to become better stewards of our planet.
Geography Awareness Week, Nov. 16 through Nov. 22, helps raise awareness about the importance of studying the Earth and gets students excited about the discipline of geography. More than 100,000 Americans participate in the event and a presidential proclamation established Geography Awareness Week more than 25 years ago.
Around the world, people recognize the week with events, including classroom lessons, games, and meetings with business leaders and lawmakers. A variety of materials and resources are available from Sunburst Digital to bolster geography curriculum and social studies curriculum in the classroom.
Through this year’s exploration of “The Future of Food,” Geography Awareness Week explores how the Earth’s people are connected through what they eat. Lessons teach students that their food results from many resources, including the sun, water, and land.
Another focus of the week is geographic information systems, computer systems that store, manage, and present geographic and spatial information, including mapping content. Since 1999, “GIS Day” has been part of Geography Awareness Week. The systems can help improve students’ knowledge of geography and their resulting ability to help solve some of the planet’s problems addressed by GeoWeek.
As part of Geography Awareness Week, educators can consider organizing events at the community and school level. The National Geographic Network of Geography Education Alliances provides a listing of events through its local chapters.
Geography helps students understand the physical systems — wind, ocean currents, the action of the sun, and more — that impact our lives. Geography Awareness Week provides an opportunity to get students excited about the discipline of geography and the role it plays in our world and Sunburst Digital is proud to support in its efforts!