The recent National Geographic - Roper 2002 Global Geographic Literacy Survey has shown us that only 36% of young American adults know which two countries are fighting over the region of Kashmir. And about 11% of polled Americans (ages 18 to 24) couldn't even locate the United States on a world map. If these statistics concern you, it's time to integrate more geography into our classrooms and homes. Here are some online games that make fun out of studying geography.
Nestled among dozens of educational games for upper elementary students are five geography games. On this page, you'll find Capital Field Trip, Capitals, Flag Flags, Where in the World Is? and U.S. State Detective ("Where is Illinois? No, that's Wisconsin.") Fourth, fifth and sixth grades can race against the clock, as they learn the capitals, flags, countries and states. Younger kids can select the first or second grade category to play Geography Jumble where they can rearrange the virtual alphabet magnets to spell geography-related words.
"Come on out and play in the new GeoBee Quiz! Show your geography smarts right here online. Each day we'll post five new questions from the National Geographic Bee. Some of the questions are real stumpers, but it's okay if you miss a few you can play as often as you like." To visit the rest of National Geographic for Kids, look for the small "KIDS" link in the top left-hand corner.
Quia is a subscription site with tools for creating interactive games and learning activities such as concentration puzzles, quizzes, flash cards, and word searches. Although it costs to create the activities, playing them is free. This page lists the twenty most popular Quia geography quizzes and activities. Topics include U.S. State Capitals, European Countries/Capitals, World Currencies, and Capitals of Spanish Speaking Countries. Quia warns that because there is no fact-checker proofing each activity, some errors might exist.
Start your geography lesson by choosing a region of the world, and studying the interactive maps which name each country as your mouse passes over it. When you're ready for the games, each region has three to choose from: Find Game ("Where is Finland?"), Quiz Game ("This country is famous for its clocks.") or Word Game (a hangman-like word guessing game). My favorite click is Quiz Game; but remember you must choose a region before you'll see the game choices.
"The game where your mind is your map." Choose from seven maps and five levels of difficulty. Level one starts with multiple choice questions ("Is this France, Russia or Germany?") Level five means spelling the country or state AND its capital city. Want to play against a buddy? Hats off to Funbrain for including a two-player version, where each player can choose his own level of difficulty. And this marvelous game is Java-free, so it's compatible with older browsers and WebTV.