The Geography Book: Activities for Exploring, Mapping, and Enjoying Your World

The Geography Book: Activities for Exploring, Mapping, and Enjoying Your World


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Get to Know the Earth's Many Forms with Dozens of Fun and EasyProjects

From finding directions by the stars, to mapping your neighborhood,to making an earthquake in a box, you'll have a great time learningabout the world with The Geography Book. You'll find out how todetermine location on the Earth, how maps can provide us with awide range of information, how different landforms were created,how water has helped shape the Earth, and much more.

Using simple materials you'll be able to find around the house orin your neighborhood, you'll be able to create things like a giantcompass rose, a balloon globe, a contour potato, a map puzzle, anda tornado in a jar. So get ready for a fascinating trip around theglobe.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780471412366
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 11/19/2001
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 525,841
Product dimensions: 8.30(w) x 10.40(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

CAROLINE ARNOLD is an award-winning author of many children's books, including Australian Animals, South American Animals, and Easter Island.

Read an Excerpt

Note: The Figures and/or Tables mentioned in this Sample Chapter do not appear on the Web.


What Is Geography?

As you look out the window, you may see rolling hills, broad plains, mountains, a river valley, or perhaps the ocean. You also may notice what kinds of plants are growing, the weather, and what people are doing. The combination of landforms, vegetation, weather, and natural resources makes each place on Earth unique.

Geography is the study of the Earth and the processes that form it. It identifies places on the Earth, describes their physical features, and shows how they are connected to one another. It is also the study of people and how they influence and are influenced by their environment. Physical geography studies features of the Earth such as rivers, rocks, oceans, and the weather. Human geography studies how people use land for such things as settlement, farming, shipping, and transport. Tools that geographers use to gather information include maps, photographs, and computer databases.

Geography is one of the oldest sciences. Ancient Greeks who lived more than 2,000 years ago were among the earliest geographers. They gave us the word geography, which means "writing about the Earth." Descriptions of the Earth-- both in words and in pictures-- were particularly important in the past as early explorers, mapmakers, scientists, and others learned about new areas of the world. Their maps and writings about their travels helped establish trade routes and made it possible for people to travel and settle in many parts of the world.

The study of geography often overlaps with other scientific fields, including geology, biology, anthropology, and history. The special emphasis of geography that makes it different from other sciences is that it focuses on where things are. It also focuses on the human and environmental factors that help explain the ways that people, places, and things are distributed over the surface of the Earth.

Through the activities in this book, you will learn some basic facts about maps, one of the tools that geographers use to describe the Earth. You also will learn about the physical features of the Earth-- its landmasses, bodies of water, and atmosphere.

Geography is part of our everyday lives. From road maps that help us get from one place to another to daily weather reports that help us decide whether to carry an umbrella, we depend on our knowledge of geography to get along in the world.

Which Way Is North?

If you imagine Earth rotating around a rod as it spins in space, the ends of that rod would stick out at what we call the North and South poles. The imaginary rod is Earth's axis. The poles are imaginary points used as references for measuring the location of places on Earth. The actual location of the North Pole is in the middle of the Arctic Ocean and is permanently covered with ice. The South Pole is just about in the center of the continent of Antarctica.

The North Star

The North Star, also called Polaris, is always directly over the North Pole. As Earth turns on its axis, other stars are seen in different places in the sky, but Polaris stays in the same spot. If you live in the northern hemisphere, you can figure out which direction is north by finding the North Star.

The North Star is in a constellation called Ursa Minor, which means "Little Bear" in Latin. Many people call this group of stars the Little Dipper because when the stars are connected like dots in a dot-to-dot picture, they look like a drinking cup with a long handle. It is close to another constellation called Ursa Major, the Big Bear, commonly known as the Big Dipper. As you may have figured out, the Big Dipper is shaped like the Little Dipper, only bigger. The Big Dipper is easy to spot because its stars are bright.

You will need:

a clear night and a place where you have a good view of the sky

1. Find the Big Dipper. Look for the two stars at the right side of the Big Dipper's cup. They are called the pointer stars.

2. Follow the path of these two stars up from the Big Dipper and you'll find the North Star, which is at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper.

Our names for the constellations come from the ancient Romans, who thought the groups of stars looked like the shapes of animals. Can you see the bear shapes of the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper? You will need to include some other nearby stars. What other shapes can you see in the sky?

The Big Dipper is also sometimes called the Drinking Gourd. Before and during the Civil War, it was an important guidepost for slaves from Southern states who were trying to escape to freedom in the North. When traveling at night, they looked for the Drinking Gourd and the North Star to know which way to go.

The Southern Cross

If you live in the southern hemisphere, you cannot see the North Star. Instead, you can find your direction by looking for a constellation called the Southern Cross, or Crux, its Latin name. It looks like a large cross in the sky. The Southern Cross is not at true south, but it is used as a reference that points to a much dimmer star, Sigma Octantis, that is almost exactly at true south. If you extend a line from the top to the bottom star of the Southern Cross and then continue the same distance four and half times, you will reach Sigma Octantis. The Southern Cross is visible on the horizon in the northern hemisphere as far north as Florida.

For thousands of years people all over the world have gazed at the stars and made up stories about them. Aboriginal people of Australia have several stories about the Southern Cross. Some believe that the pattern created by the stars is the footprint of a wedge-tailed eagle. Others believe that it is a stingray being pursued by a shark. Still others believe that the stars represent a clever man named Mirrabooka. What do they look like to you?

Table of Contents

Introduction: What Is Geography?


1. Which Way Is North?

Activity: Star Directions.

2. The Magnetic Poles.

Activity: Using a Compass.

3. Compass Rose.

Activity: Make a Giant Compass Rose.

Activity: Compass Rose Race.

4. Latitude and Longitude.

Activity: Exactly North, South, East, and West.


5. The Earth Is Round.

Activity: A Balloon Globe.

6. Making the Round Earth Flat.

Activity: Orange Peel Experiment.

Activity: Stretching the Globe.

7. Time Zones of the World.

Activity: Make a World Clock.

8. Maps to Scale.

Activity: Make a Room Plan.

9. Photo Maps.

Activity: Make a Panoramic Photo.

10. Map Keys Unlock Map Secrets.

Activity: The Key to Your Neighborhood.

11. Relief Maps.

Activity: Make a 3-D Map.

12. Color-Coded and Contour Maps.

Activity: Contour Potato.

13. Road Maps.

Activity: Planning a Trip.

14. Weather Maps.

Activity: Weather Magnets.

15. Dot Maps.

Activity: State Population Map.

16. Old and New Maps.

Activity: Buried Treasure.


17. The Continents.

Activity: Map Puzzle.

18. Earthquakes.

Activity: Earthquake in a Box.

19. Volcanoes.

Activity: Frosting Lava.

20. High Places and Low Places.

Activity: Mountains of the World.

21. How to Measure a Mountain.

Activity: How High Is It?

22. Valleys and Canyons.

Activity: Preventing Erosion.

23. Where the Land Meets the Sea.

Activity: Islands in a Tub.


24. Oceans, Seas, and Lakes.

Activity: Making Salt Crystals.

25. Rivers and Streams.

Activity: How Does the Water Flow?

26. Waterfalls, Rapids, and Other Fast Water.

Activity: Water Wheel.

27. Hit the Beach.

Activity: Sand Pictures.

28. Dams and Reservoirs.

Activity: Building a Better Dam.

29. The Water Cycle.

Activity: Make a Rain Gauge.

30. Glaciers, Ice Sheets, and Icebergs.

Activity: Icebergs and Sea Level.


31. Atmospheric Pressure.

Activity: Collapsing Bottle.

32. The Sun Keeps Us Warm.

Activity: Angle of the Sun.

33. Energy from the Sun.

Activity: Solar Water Heater.

34. The Greenhouse Effect.

Activity: Mini-Greenhouse.

35. Rising Air.

Activity: Twirling Snake.

36. The Wind.

Activity: Weather Vane.

37. Hurricanes and Tornadoes.

Activity: Tornado in a Jar.

38. Using the Wind.

Activity: Pinwheel.


For Further Reading and More Projects.


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