We're working our way towards the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict, and just finished up the Arab Spring, so I had my students play some online geography games in class today - mostly The Middle East.
Tomorrow, we'll play again, but this time we'll look at some different geography games from around the web. Here's a list of some good ones - you can get a head start by playing some tonight.
(Sorry if you have an iPhone... iPhones don't support JAVA, so some of these games won't work.)
Here is the mainstay. It's the website I've used for years. It has political maps by continent and region, landscape maps, maps with capitals. It's also how I learned the world when I was in college. It's been around for a while. Tried and true: Sheppard Software.
I like this one, because it expands the Middle East to include Afghanistan and Pakistan. (However, it also includes Georgia and Azerbaijan - which fit, but lets see if my 7th graders can figure out the others, first. I'm linking directly to the Middle East game, but the website has a lot of other good ones as well. Just hover your mouse over the bar at the top. Here is the link: Lizard Point. (For instance, it's the only one I've found that has a U.S. Governor's game... not that that falls under my standards... but still...)
If you search for "world geography games" this site is bound to be the first to come up, and it's pretty good. I especially like the rivers, deserts, and mountain range games. For myself, and I would assume for my students, the countries are a little overwhelming because it is only broken down into continents, and not by region. Still, it's worth checking out: World Geography Games.
I like these minefield games, and while they are a little difficult for 7th grade, my students enjoyed them in the class. It is a bit overwhelming going to the website, because there are so many games - most of which do not apply to my class. But we have talked about population density, and the difference between population and population density. Playing this game with the class is a quick way to reinforce that - as China doesn't make the cut for the top 50 countries with the highest population density - but currently has the world's highest population. Feel free to give it a shot: Sporcle.. (I bet this one will work on your phone... Don't feel guilty about googling the answers... I didn't.)
It's been a while since we've studied latitude and longitude, so it's worth reinforcing. If my students mastered the layout of the Middle East, they could play this one. It's pretty good. Just make sure the volume is down. Here's the latitude and longitude game: Kidsgeo.
A lot of the geography games out there are very similar - click on the correct country, drag the country to the correct location... But if students want a change of background, they could check out this one: Your child learns.
Some are quite different. I really liked this global development game from The Guardian. It was a good way to reinforce some concepts I've taught throughout the year - like GDP, standard of living, "developing nations," industrialization, etc... This comes from the "Round 2 Games." But it also gave me a way to bring up some of the international organizations I've always wanted to bring up but never have. When students play the Round 3 games, I get them to ask themselves, "why is this question on here? What does it have to do with social studies?" And even if they've never heard about the people in the game, it gives them a reference point for lessons and discussions later on down the road.
If you know of any geography games that you use, or that you like more than these, email me or let me know in the comments.
If you're here for extra credit, play a game or two and tell me what you think. Write a note telling me which was your favorite, and have the adult you read and discussed the blog with sign the note. Turn it in to me tomorrow.