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Studying the Earth: Popplet Ideas For The Geography Classroom

Geography is the science which encompasses the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of our planet. Like other subjects that kids study at school, it is highly intuitive, in that youngsters begin amassing geographical knowledge from a very early age: where they live, where their ancestors were from, what route they take to school as well as an awareness of the sea, forests, mountains and other landmarks.

Learners become curious about what they see, and the visual nature of Popplet makes it a powerful tool in the Geography classroom. It allows students to classify and arrange information; add text, images, and video; share and collaborate – with their classmates or globally. By studying Geography students learn about the world we live in and its incredible diversity, giving them a sense of where they are, and who they are.

Popplets about Places
Globalization has not demystified the Earth completely, and by the looks of things it never will – we certainly hope not anyway! In fact, there are those who claim it’s adding confusion rather than harmony. Either way, there is still a lot that the inhabitants of planet Earth don’t know about each other. We still have a lot to learn, which is why lessons about lands, countries, and cultures different from our own are important.

Check out the work of Year 3, from The Dell School in Wales, who shared their Popplet work about Cambodia recently on Twitter:

What about sixth-grade Science and Social Studies teacher, Erin Emmons of Diley Middle School, who took her students to Egypt without them even leaving their seats using Reality Goggles and Popplet:

It’s also important to learn about the place where we live, and that’s what the Year-2 students from Ysgoly Wern School, also in Wales, did just that with the help of Popplet:

If you’re looking for ideas about how to make popplets that contain information about the country you live in, you may want to check out the Twitter feed of Cindy Loop Snyder, whose students recently created an excellent series of Popplets all about the different regions of Canada. Here’s an example of a popplet of The North West Territories:


Popplets about Landforms
Landforms are natural features of the Earth such as mountains, valleys, rivers, seas and shoreline features. In saying that, some there are some manmade landforms, but very few.

The forests of the Earth are one of the planet’s most valuable resources, and their systematic removal for profit over the last few decades is causing much concern and debate. This excellent “deforestation” popplet from Kelly helps visualize and understand the issue:

Primary school teacher, Heidi Moeller from Salem, Massachusetts,  had her class demonstrate their knowledge of Watersheds using popplet:

And most of the time, the water from a watershed flows into the oceans, which are well represented below in Katie’s popplet:


Popplets about People and Places
Why study geography at all? Well, it would be practically impossible to exist anywhere on the Earth without at least knowing some local geography: we need to interact with those around us, go to school or the supermarket to buy food –  we have to know how to get to places! But what about the bigger picture? We love this activity from New York teacher, Wendy Rossberg, in which she encourages her students to reflect upon “where they fit into the world?”:

  • ME
  • TOWN

Wendy kindly posted images of the worksheets she used with her students:

Wendy also shared some of her students’ completed popplets with us – this one includes some excellent images and a very nice photo of Kate and Danny of course! Popplet really is a lot of fun, especially for young learners.

Remember, you can always print off your popplets and display them – that’s what Wendy’s class did:

There are a lot of aspects of human behavior that are of interest to geographers, and one of the most important of these is language. The variation of languages which are present in a particular region or country often provides valuable social and historical information about an area’s inhabitants, both past, and present.

Below is a Popplet of the main Spanish-speaking countries and their capitals. We found “Las Países” on Public Popplets, a great place to search for Popplet ideas. We like how the popplet’s creator has added map images of all the different countries:

And here is a popplet of the five continents and their main English-speaking countries. It was originally published by SchoolNet South Africa as part of a lesson plan. It also comes with an excellent Popplet tutorial and a lot of other activity ideas.

Popplets about Maps and Globes
Where would be without maps? Well, truth be told, we might not have a clue. Sure, we would know where to get food and water, and possibly the location of our nearest neighbors, but other than that, chances are primitive peoples might never have ventured far from their caves! New technologies have made maps a ubiquitous and vital tool, so knowing about maps has become a core skill. That’s why these happy students from Chesterbrook Academy are getting busy with Popplet and Nearpod:

Arguably, we have definitely come a long way as a species, so far in fact that the great debate over whether the world is flat, as it is depicted on a map, or spherical, as represented by a globe, is no more. Maps are monumentally useful tools, but like all things scientific, they are but an abstraction. So, it’s important to learn the differences between maps and globes. First-grade teacher, Jane Simmons, had her class show their research on this very subject by creating Popplets:

Whoever you are, wherever you are and possibly even whenever you may be – just some of the things Geography can teach you – we hope you are ready to make your own maps, mind maps on Popplet. Share what you create with the Popplet community, by publishing your work on Twitter, or on our Facebook page.

Searching for more ideas? Check out some of the other articles contained in the Popplet blog, or sign up for a free Popplet account and get access to Public Popplets.