As a Social Studies teacher in the middle and high school grades, you are often asked why your course is important. In Geography courses, it used to be very easy to explain with skills like map reading and cultural investigations being relevant requirements for anyone that wanted to travel in their lives. Then came GPS and the Internet. But, believe it or not, the explanation is still the same... we need these skills, and we use them every day.
We travel full time. Over the last two years, we have gone from the Northeast to Florida, across the South through Texas to Southern California, up the West Coast to Seattle, through the ocean to Alaska, back into the interior through Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Nevada and the heartland, up to the Great Lakes region back into Canada, to our Nation's Capital, and now we are heading down the East Coast to Florida. And we have applied so many Geography Lessons all along the way!
Traveling with a house on wheels, we must be very careful about where we go. Roads have weight restrictions, overpasses create height issues, and some passes are just too narrow for us to navigate. Our GPS will guide us fairly well, but at times, she fails us, and leaves us pulling out the trusty atlas to find our way to our next home.
More importantly, my GPS cannot tell me where I WANT to go! She does not have the knowledge I do about different locations, things to see, places to visit, people to meet. She cannot tell me the exact spot where I will see the most awesome of sunsets or sunrises. And she definitely cannot tell me where to park my big rig for the least cost. Those are all skills I learned in my Geography lessons that I now apply on a daily basis.
And knowing what I know about U.S. and World Geography, my travel list is a very long one. It's such a good thing that we started this trip in our 40s... I have a feeling we will be out navigating our country and the world for many, MANY more years (and decades) to come!
Need to learn (or teach) the basics of Geography so you can navigate your way around the world? Take a look at my Geography Introduction Unit.
Or, if you truly want to investigate what is out there in our world, teach my Complete World Geography Course! It will help you create that very long list for your next adventure in life!