Hello and welcome to the 4th episode of Learning Treasures of the Internet, where we present you little gems we find while curating our TeachPitch library. Today we have Lu Yin, the Comms Manager of TeachPitch, joining us to talk about her favourite teaching and learning materials – from National Geographic.
Hello Lu, are you a geography lover?
Lu: Well, I have to say geography was my absolute favourite subject at school. It was a shame I couldn’t choose it as my major at university, because of the complicated programme application requirements in my country. But I have very fond memories of learning geography and that’s why I’m a great fan of National Geographic.
Why you find National Geographic interesting? In what ways it is special?
Lu: Geography is usually divided into two parts – physical geography and human geography. When it comes to National Geographic, the first thing that comes into your mind probably is a series of fascinating pictures of beautiful landscapes. Well, as it’s called National Geographic, of course it has something to do with geography – but, their teaching and learning content consists of much more than breathtaking pictures.
A lot of their content is cross-curricular. For example take “European Borders Through History”. This lesson plan aims at letting pupils discover how European political borders have changed across three points in history and compare changes in political borders to physical and cultural features of Europe. I like this kind of content as it doesn’t just teach pupils typical geographical skills such as map-reading, but they gain a better understanding of history and politics in a specific period of time and learn that politics and geography are closely linked.
Why do you think the platform is useful for teaching geography?
Lu: It gives you a broader, more open perspective on geography – it can be taught as an independent subject, but it can also be introduced as a good combination of several other subjects. In the end, the knowledge and skills are interlinked and transferrable. Also, you can find resources related to biology, physics, sociology, design and technology, etc from National Geographic that suit pupils in secondary/high school. This shows that geography can be used to combine a large range of traditional school subjects. The types of resources varies too, including professional development, activities, units, lesson plans, educator guides, etc, which indeed give you a lot of ideas of how to spice up your geography teaching.
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