Obviously we read this book. It's like a no brainer when it comes to getting little ones to think about how they can locate themselves on a map.
And then we did this little project. We started with my planet, my continent, my country, my state, my town, and last my house.
We talked about landforms and what they look like on a map too! First we watched an amazing brainpopjr video, then we made our own landforms out of Playdoh. We labeled our landform and took a museum walk of the landforms that we created. There is also a great idea floating around on pinterest of doing this same idea with sand and a table cloth, but I wasn't feeling that brave. Maybe next year. (or maybe not!!!)
We related what we knew about landforms and found them on our big classroom map of the country. Then we found and labeled our own on these fabulous maps. My coworker came up with this idea. Isn't she fabulous?
You can't talk about maps without the compass. We learned how to label a compass, and then we labeled our classroom. To reinforce the compass we played a fun game called four directions. It's just like the game four corners, except the person who is it has to call out a direction. The kids standing at that wall have to sit down. They LOVED it. We play it a lot. It's also a great brain break activity!!
After we learned all about geography, we hit another essential standard by looking at culture on different continents. We explored what they eat, animals that live there, how they dress, what school is like, what language they speak, and much much more. Our students are learning about culture in Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America!
We did lots and lots of more amazing things with this unit but of course I don't have pictures of them all. I would love to hear what you do with geography in your classroom!