Learning Geography

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Learning Geography

Postby Grace » Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:07 pm

How should I go about learning geography? Do I just...look at maps? I know Sporcle does have geography quizzes, but I don't think they give me a good idea of the physical geographic characteristics within each state/country.

Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
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Re: Learning Geography

Postby Chandragupta Maurya » Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:31 pm

Looking at maps and atlases definitely helps, as does Wikipedia.
Also, reading questions can also help enormously with geography.
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Re: Learning Geography

Postby The Predictable Consequences » Sun Feb 26, 2012 8:09 pm

Chandragupta Maurya wrote:Also, reading questions can also help enormously with geography.


Yeah, I feel like unless you're a former Geo Bee contestant (which a decent number of high school quizbowlers are), you won't be able to get the depth and breadth of real knowledge that's necessary to be a very good geo player in any reasonable amount of time. Learning stock clues won't make you a lockdown player, but it will get some points against good teams, and doing a bunch of Sporcle quizzes (especially those on cities and rivers), can get you enough knowledge to be decent.
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Re: Learning Geography

Postby Mr. Joyboy » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:45 am

AS a former Geo Bee contestant, i can say that reading up on international sporting events (specifically soccer) and elections on wikipedia really helped me with world geography. I learned US geography from looking at train maps and reading the wikipedia articles for minor leagues.
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Re: Learning Geography

Postby deserto » Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:33 pm

I, too, am a former Geo Bee contestant. I've been able to retain most of what I learned in studying for the Geo Bee, but I like to refresh my memory by opening an atlas occasionally. If you are serious about learning geo, I would suggest getting this book: http://www.amazon.com/Geography-Bee-Complete-Preparation-Handbook/dp/0761535713/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1330453412&sr=8-1; it's a little outdated but still a wonderful resource. If you're looking for more simple ways to improve, memorizing capitals and geographical extrema, such as highest, lowest, westernmost, easternmost, southernmost, and northernmost points of continents, as well as learning the largest water bodies in various regions, can also be immensely helpful. Knowing national languages and former names of countries (e.g. Gold Coast = Ghana; Ceylon = Sri Lanka; Formosa = Taiwan; Southern Rhodesia = Zimbabwe) has also won me some good buzzes over the years.
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Re: Learning Geography

Postby Wackford Squeers » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:15 pm

I think I once heard of a magazine dedicated to the subject.
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Re: Learning Geography

Postby cchiego » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:26 pm

I've had success with the map approach and the physical extremities approach, but what you need to do is start asking "why" to everything you see and read. Why does this mountain range exist? That peninsula looks funny- I wonder who lives on it? This border is weird, I wonder if there's a history behind it? Is there a pass over this mountain range? Why is the capital of country X there and not in the middle of the country? Where are there geysers in the world and why are they in those places?

When you start looking at the "why," you'll learn a bunch more real knowledge things and have a much more enjoyable time studying than just memorizing lists. Plus you'll probably pick up some history and geology clues too.
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Re: Learning Geography

Postby MLafer » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:38 pm

If you also like history, open Google Earth while reading history books and when you see an unfamiliar city or geographical feature mentioned, look it up and see where it is. Put a pushpin on the map and you'll soon get a good idea of where everything is in relation to each other. For rivers you can add 'paths' to your map -- tracing the route of the river in this way should help you remember which countries/cities it flows through.

Here's my map of (ancient) Greece in Google Earth, for example:

http://i.imgur.com/tWTWg.jpg
Last edited by MLafer on Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Learning Geography

Postby Francis the Talking France » Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:02 pm

When I read books, I like to look up places that I've heard of, but that I'm not sure of their exact location. This also leads to me learning about other obscure locations. When I was in elementary school, I read the World Almanac religiously. That's where my basic geography knowledge is derived from.
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Re: Learning Geography

Postby ACPackers » Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:15 pm

A good place to start learning about geography is Ilike2learn.com. They have quizzes on capitals, countries, rivers, mountains and they give you the map to look at (without the answers of course). For example if you're taking the capitals of Europe quiz and they ask you what country is Bern the capital and you click on Romania, it will be counted wrong, but they give you the capital of Romania, so either way it's a win-win learning experience. In general though I suggest getting a feel as to where countries are and then you can start to learn history, rivers, mountains, capitals, etc...
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Re: Learning Geography

Postby Chandragupta Maurya » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:25 am

cchiego wrote:I've had success with the map approach and the physical extremities approach, but what you need to do is start asking "why" to everything you see and read. Why does this mountain range exist? That peninsula looks funny- I wonder who lives on it? This border is weird, I wonder if there's a history behind it? Is there a pass over this mountain range? Why is the capital of country X there and not in the middle of the country? Where are there geysers in the world and why are they in those places?

When you start looking at the "why," you'll learn a bunch more real knowledge things and have a much more enjoyable time studying than just memorizing lists. Plus you'll probably pick up some history and geology clues too.
.

As a former GeoBee contestant as well, I must say I really do like this approach - it makes the studying fun and also helps out quite a bit. Also, surfing through Wikipedia articles on cities, countries, lakes, rivers, or mountains you find interesting will help as well, since they are likely to come up (there are a very large number of potential geography answer lines, so it is bound to come up at some tournament).
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Re: Learning Geography

Postby Chandragupta Maurya » Sun Mar 04, 2012 10:26 am

Antonio Sant'Elia wrote:I think I once heard of a magazine dedicated to the subject.

Also, National Geographic Magazine (or channel) probably will not help that much, certainly not as much as their atlases
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Re: Learning Geography

Postby Wackford Squeers » Mon Mar 05, 2012 2:36 am

Chandragupta Maurya wrote:
Antonio Sant'Elia wrote:I think I once heard of a magazine dedicated to the subject.

Also, National Geographic Magazine (or channel) probably will not help that much, certainly not as much as their atlases


I beg to differ; my teammates and I have noted getting several early geography buzzes from things we've read in Nat Geo. The features are mostly of a current events or human interest nature, but always include maps and accurate geographic information.
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Re: Learning Geography

Postby Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! » Mon Mar 19, 2012 11:17 pm

Interested in soccer?

Most of my geography knowledge came from following the UEFA Champs league, and was the most helpful in studying geography...at least the most helpful with European geography.
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Re: Learning Geography

Postby MahoningQuizBowler » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:06 pm

Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! wrote:Interested in soccer?

Most of my geography knowledge came from following the UEFA Champs league, and was the most helpful in studying geography...at least the most helpful with European geography.


Additionally, if you dig a bit deeper into the domestic leagues of each country, you'll probably pick up some major non-capital cities. I think it's a bit more interesting to check standings each week than opening an atlas, but your experience may vary.
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Re: Learning Geography

Postby Sniper, No Sniping! » Tue Mar 20, 2012 3:44 pm

MahoningQuizBowler wrote:
Adm Akbar says It's a Tarp! wrote:Interested in soccer?

Most of my geography knowledge came from following the UEFA Champs league, and was the most helpful in studying geography...at least the most helpful with European geography.


Additionally, if you dig a bit deeper into the domestic leagues of each country, you'll probably pick up some major non-capital cities. I think it's a bit more interesting to check standings each week than opening an atlas, but your experience may vary.

While its still in the general realm of "non academic ways to learn academic things", playing FIFA is an even funner way of going about this. I found this is a decent way to learn some major cities of countries you don't know so much about, for example I learned a good list of cities of Austria and Germany by playing the teams from their respective "Bundesliga"s in FIFA.
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Re: Learning Geography

Postby jessbowen » Sat Apr 14, 2012 1:36 pm

Although it will only help with basic levels of knowledge, shepperd software site is great because it has interactive games - not just reading atlases. I like to use it on my smartboard with my students - kids like having to touch the country or feature being asked for. There are various levels of difficulty from beginner up to cartopgrapher and include countries, capitals, and physical features too. http://sheppardsoftware.com/Geography.htm
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