A r c h i v e d I n f o r m a t i o n
Helping Your Child Learn Geography - October 1996
Movement: People Interacting on the Earth
People are scattered unevenly over the Earth. How do they get from one place to another? What are the patterns of movement of people, products, and information? Regardless of where we live, we rely upon each other for goods, services, and information. In fact, most people interact with other places almost every day. We depend on other places for much of our food, clothes, and even items like the pencils and paper our children use in school. We also share information with each other using many methods of communication--telephones, computers, books, newspapers, radio, and television--to bridge the distances.
- Give your children opportunities to travel by car, bus, bicycle, or on foot. When possible, take other forms of transportation such as trains, subways, airplanes, ferries, barges, and horses and carriages.
- Use a map to look at various routes you can take when you use different methods of transportation.
- Watch travel shows on television.
- Play the license plate game. How many different states can you identify by looking at the plates, and what does the license plate tell you about each state? You don't have to be in a car to play. You can look at the license plates of parked cars. Suggest your children keep a record of the states whose plates they have seen. They can color in those states on a map and illustrate them with characteristics described on the license plates. Some states have county names on their plates. If you live in one of these states, your children may want to keep track of the different counties.
- Go around your house and look at where different things come from. Examine the labels of the clothes you wear. Talk about where your food comes from. Why do bananas come from Central America? Why does the milk come from the local dairy? Perhaps your climate is too cold for growing bananas, and the milk is too perishable to travel far. How did the food get to your house?
- Tell your children where your ancestors came from. Find your family's countries of origin, and chart the birthplaces of relatives on a map. You can plot the routes they followed before arriving at their present locations. Why did they leave their previous home? Where do all your relatives live now?
- Have your children ask older relatives what their world was like when they were young. They can ask questions about transportation, heating and refrigeration, the foods they ate, the clothes they wore, and the schools they attended. Look at old pictures. How have things changed since Grandma was a child? Grandparents and great aunts and uncles are usually delighted to share their memories with the younger generation, and they can pass on a wealth of information.
Ideas come from beyond our immediate surroundings. How do they get to us? Consider communication by telephone, letters, electronic mail, television, radio, telegrams, telefax, and even graffiti, posters, bumper stickers, and promotional buttons. They all convey information from one person or place to another.
- Watching television is a major way that many children receive ideas from the outside world. Look for programs that will stimulate their interest in the Earth--shows on wildlife, natural history, and science. Talk about what they're watching and where it takes place.
- Ask your children how they would communicate with other people. Would they use the phone, post a letter, or use electronic mail? Encourage them to write letters to relatives and friends. They may be able to get pen pals through school or a pen pal association. (See listings below.)
- Talk with your children about the Information Superhighway. Many schools now have computers in classrooms, and many households have personal computers. However, you don't have to have a computer in your home to understand the idea of the Internet or the Information Superhighway. This global system connects millions of computers, just as roads connect towns and cities--only the connections are made via telephone lines, fiber optic cables, and microwave transmissions. Check at your local public library for interesting reading materials and, if possible, go on-line with your child. You may be able to get computer access through the library or your child's school.
[Relationships Within Places: Humans and Environments]
[Regions: How They Form and Change]