There are a number of excellent opportunities for middle school geography classes. This list is for Michigan 6th grade classes studying Western Hemisphere and 7th grade classes studying Eastern Hemisphere. However, the ideas apply to other grade levels if your school studies geography in a different grade level.
- MysteryQuest: World Geography. We run this project every year with sessions for Western Hemisphere, Europe, Asia, and Africa. It has been in the fall, but due to state testing moving to October, we’ll be running this in late January, early February. My teachers pick the dates & times, then we open up registration for all the rest of you! There’s no way we could run enough for everyone interested, so you’ll find information on running your own there as well if you want to do that. MysteryQuest is free for my teachers and the rest of you too!
- For my local teachers, you could connect with a class in another country! I’ve been collecting contacts and could set you up with a class in Alberta or Ontario, Canada, or in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mexico, Pakistan, or Taiwan. We could possibly find other partner classes too. These are free!
- I would really like to do an Around the World project like I’ve seen online a few places. I don’t really want to stay up all night, but we could do a morning to evening time frame. Also we could focus on just one hemisphere as well. This idea would be free and we could have lots of local classes participate. Here are links of websites who have done this: Around the World in a Day, Boston, 2002; NJEdgeNet 2003, 2004 and a press release.
- There are a few good content provider programs on Canada: Inuit: Survival in the Canadian Arctic, and Kigluait Adventures has some programs that mention Canada.
- Another good one would be the Cleveland Institute of Music’s new Musical Geography of the World. I really want to see this one, so to my teachers: write a mini-grant for this one!!
- For Central and South America, tying in with science and doing something on the rainforest might be good.
- For Eastern Hemisphere, try programs on Africa or Asia.
- Searching geography in the standards field also will bring up a good list. You’ll have to sort through the U.S. geography ones, though.
This should give any middle school geography teacher a good start at the possibilities!
To my local teachers, email me or visit www.remc11.k12.mi.us/dl to schedule any of these videoconferences.