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What Are Themes Of Geography

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Humanenvironment Interaction: Altering The Environment

Five Themes Of Geography (AP Human Geography)

Human-environment interaction describes how people work together and how they function in their environment. This interaction contains three key areas: human dependence on the environment, how humans alter the environment, and how the environment changes humans. Dependence refers to a need for something like natural resources from the environment. Humans alter the environment by, for example, building roads through wildlife areas. The environment also changes humans: For example, people in cold climates wear coats in the winter to shield themselves from the cold.

Learn More About Geography

Geography is a fascinating subject that can be explored from many angles, though it’s most often organized in the context of the five themes discussed here. If learning about the five themes of geography has piqued your interest, continue learning even more. Start by building a strong vocabulary of geography terms.

Examples Of Relative Location

The relative location of a place changes based on how its location is being described in terms of its relative position to another location.

  • The White House is approximately nine miles from Ronald Reagan National Airport in the District of Columbia.
  • The White House is approximately 30 miles from Dulles International Airport in Chantilly, Virginia.
  • Washington, D.C. is around 40 miles from Baltimore, Maryland.
  • The Port of Baltimore in Maryland is 197 nautical miles away from the Port of Norfolk in Virginia.
  • AIM Mail Center is in the shopping center located at the intersections of Grelot and Hillcrest roads in Mobile, Alabama.
  • The fourth grade classroom is in the second building past the gymnasium.
  • Interests along the eastern coast of the Gulf of Mexico should closely monitor the storm’s progress.

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Teaching The Five Themes Of Geography

As many of my long-time readers know, I spent time as a K-12social studies teacher and as a professor of social studies education. Duringthis time, one of my favorite things to teach was thefive themes of geography. The five themes of geography are location, place,human-environment interaction, movement, and region.

These themes were developed in 1984 by the National Councilfor Geographic Education and the Association of American Geographers to organizeand facilitate the instruction of geography in K-12. While they have been replacedby the NationalGeography Standards, I still think they provide an excellent way to promotethe teaching of geography. If I were still teaching social studies, I would useboth. Since come of you may not be familiar with the five themes of geography,lets discuss them.

A brief discussion of each the five themes of geography

Location Location pertains to a place or position.The instruction of geography usually begins with location. Location can be twokinds: absolute location and relative location. Absolute location is defined usingits exact address . Relative location describes where aplace is in relation to other locations.

Place Place pertains to the physical and human attributesor characteristics of a location. This concept allows us to compare andcontrast two places on Earth. The place theme of geography illustrates clear imageof a place in the minds of the learners.

Why do students need to learn the five themes ofgeography?

Examples Of The Five Themes Of Geography

5 Themes of Geography Classroom Variety Posters, Set of 6, 12 x 18 ...

The five themes of geography include location, human-environment interaction, place, region, and movement. These five concepts help educators explain how and why humans map the Earth, as well as the ways in which people affect and are affected by the Earth. The five themes of geography help students comprehend the concepts of geography and apply them to their daily lives.


Geography has five themes that help humans comprehend different aspects of the field and how they relate to human life. The concepts of location, human-environment interaction, place, region, and movement make up this list.

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Five Themes Of Geography

The five themes of geography are an educational tool for teaching geography. The five themes were published in 1984 and widely adopted by teachers, textbook publishers, and curriculum designers in the United States. Most American geography and social studiesclassrooms have adopted the five themes in teaching practices, as they provide “an alternative to the detrimental, but unfortunately persistent, habit of teaching geography through rote memorization”. They are pedagogical themes that guide how geographic content should be taught in schools.

Examples Of Absolute Location

The absolute location of a place does not change. The broadest example of a place’s absolute location is its combined latitude and longitude. The place’s position on a map and its address are also examples of absolute location.

  • The White House’s latitude is 38.8977° N and its longitude is 77.0365° W.
  • The White House’s address is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.

These examples hold true for any place, from your home to your school to your favorite places to visit and beyond.

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The Five Themes Of Geography Are Still Useful

The Five Themes of Geography are a way to give school-aged children a coherent framework for learning about geography.

They allow them to learn how to use concrete devices like latitude and longitude, maps, and atlases to locate specific places, as well as how to develop mental maps of their world, and all of the people and places in it.

Though the themes have effectively been replaced, they still have value when it comes to instilling children with a working knowledge of geography.

Examples Of Physical Place Characteristics

Five Themes of Geography

Physical place is represented by the physical features of a location.

  • Islands are above water and surrounded by it.
  • Mountainous terrains can be steep, jagged or gently sloping.
  • Terrain can be flat, rocky, even, or uneven.
  • An area can be heavily forested or free of vegetation.
  • Arctic climates are extremely cold.
  • Tropical climates are extremely hot.
  • Soil can have varying levels of acidity.

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Place: Human And Environmental Differences

Place refers to a description rather than a location. Place is divided into two categories: human differences and physical differences. The concept of human differences refers to the ways in which people change and develop a place. These changes may be concrete, as in building construction or cultural. The concept of physical differences describe the ways in which a part of the world is characteristically different from others. For example, some places have mountains, while others have desert terrain.

How Geography Shapes Our Lives

Geography is defined as the study of landscapes, people, places, and environment on Earth. It informs us about our world and bridges natural sciences and human or social sciences. Humans can influence geography as Earths natural processes can influence geography. They both act to shape civilizations and history.

The word geography is derived from the Greek word geographia, meaning Earth description. Geography is partitioned into two categories: human geography and physical geography. Both interact to influence the spatial aspects of human populations, relationships of humans with plate tectonics, climate impacts on political borders, etc.

Geography Informs Our Lives:

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The Five Themes In Geography

The subject of geography is actually the convergence of multiple educational disciplines. Due to the complexity of the subject, there is a need to organize it into themes in order to facilitate the teaching of geography in the worlds schools, colleges, and universities. In 1984, a comprehensive educational tool was devised that divided the subject of geography into five themes. This division was done with the aim of aiding the educational organizations to teach Geography in a more structured manner. The National Council for Geographic Education and the Association of American Geographers formally adopted the five themes and formalized them in the Guidelines for Geographic Education, Elementary, and Secondary Schools by NCGE/AAG.

The five themes of Geography are Location, Place, Human-Environment Interaction, Movement, and Region.

Location: Coordinates And Relative Distance

5 Themes Of Geography Projects

Two distinct but related parts the specific and the general make up the idea of location. Specific location refers an actual address, like “123 Main Street,” or a set of geographical coordinates like “40.7128° N, 74.0060° W.” General location describes where a place is in relation to another place. It does not give a direct address but indicates a place’s relative location and its relative distance. For example, the general location of a certain store could be “20 minutes away by car, next to the bank.”

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Examples Of Human Place Characteristics

The human characteristics of place refer to cultural features introduced and maintained by humans.

  • Land in rural areas may predominantly be used for agricultural purposes, with locals primarily earning a living from the land.
  • The architecture in New Orleans reflects the city’s unique blend of French and Creole culture.
  • New Orleans is also known for its distinct cuisine, including crawfish, muffulettas, etouffee, and jambalaya.
  • The United Kindom’s system of government is a constitutional monarchy with a royal family and elected officials .
  • In large cities with extensive public transportation, such as New York City, it’s not as common for people to own cars as in other types of locations.
  • In Amish communities, transportation via horse and buggy is the most common means of transportation.
  • In India, more than 80 percent of the population practices the Hindu faith.

What Are The 5 Themes Of Geography Simple Examples

  • geography themes student world map
  • PERMISSION Used under Getty Images license

Geography is a huge subject. Since teaching such an expansive topic can be overwhelming, the topic is organized under five separate themes. Discover what are the 5 themes of geography, and use them as a tool to help effectively structure and organize your approach to teaching geography.

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Guidelines For Geographic Education Elementary And Schools

The guidelines were a way for geography experts to share an improved method for teaching geographic education. The goal was to combat under the teaching of geography to U.S. children and a result of Americas poor understanding of geography.

War is Gods way of teaching Americans geography. Ambrose Bierce

As a preface, the guidelines present the methodological way geographers conduct scientific inquiry, the tools of the trade, and the rationale behind their conclusions. The guidelines then lay out the foundation of the 5 themes of geography: location, place, human relationships and interactions, movement, and regions.

Today, geography has the advantage of satellite imagery to better understand how our world interacts with humans and vice versa. Sequential satellite images over time present a picture as to how humans have destroyed environments through deforestation or dams. Software programs such as Arc GIS provides geographers to track droughts as they spread across continents and flooding from record rainfall.

Overall geography has seen a step-change in recent decades with the introduction of satellites and their ability to image the Earth through time. Satellite imagery can also be used to determine vegetation speciation, biodiversity, wars, urbanization, etc. It is today, commonly used by every government on Earth to inform on the themes of geography. This provides a way for governments to protect their interests and understand how to respond to external forces.

The 5 Themes Of Geography:

Five Themes Geography 2
  • Place: Physical Characteristics, Human Characteristics.
  • Regions: Formal, Functional, and Vernacular 3 types Region.
  • Movement: People Mover, Goods Move, Ideas Move.
  • Location: Absolute and Relative Location.
  • Human/Environment Interaction: People Adapt on Environment, People Depend on Environment, and People change Environment.
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    Iii Human/environment Interaction: Shaping The Landscape

    The physical and human characteristics of a place provide keys to understanding theinterrelationships between people and their environments. This geographic themeaddresses this question: What is the relationship between humans and theenvironment? Three key concepts underlie human/environment relationships:– Humans depend on the environment: The natural environment is made up of living things and non living things. Humans depend on the natural environment for their basic needs food, shelter, and clothing.– Humans modify the environment: People modify the natural environment to meet their needs. For example, they build dams, plow and irrigate fields, and dig mines. They build houses, schools, and shopping centers on land.

    – Humans adapt to the environment: Humans have settled in virtually every corner of the world by successfully adapting to various natural settings. For example, people who live in the northeastern United States use heating units to keep their homes warm in winter People in the southern part of the country use air conditioning much of the year to stay cool in the heat. The ways people choose to adapt to their settings reflect their economic and political circumstances and their technological abilities. Studying geography furthers appreciation of our natural environment and of our cultural differences.

    The 5 Themes Of Geography


    The 5 themes of geography are location, place, human, movement, and regions. These themes provide an educational resource for teachers to categorize and summarize geography. The five themes were initially approved and included in curriculums in 1984 by the Association of American Geographers. The association saw these main tenants of geography as a way to provide best practices to teachers in their classrooms.

    If geography is prose, maps are iconography. Lennart Meri

    Today, most geography classrooms have in fact adopted the 5 themes of geography as published in the NCGE/AAG publication titled Guidelines for Geographic Education, Elementary, and Schools. The guidelines are no longer in print however, they have been republished several times with updated content and can be accessed from most major libraries.

    Before jumping into the history of the 5 themes of geography and the details therein, lets cover what exactly the 5 themes are:

    These five categories were based on experts in the geography field as a way to distill information taught at a number of school grades. They are the basis of standardized teaching in geography.

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    What Are The Themes Of Human Geography

    Human geography has been around as long as, well, humans. But our study of âhuman geographyâ as a concept is relatively new, especially among the geospatial/GIS community.

    As kids in school, we learned about physical geography â mountains and lakes and rivers and such. We even learned about political geography â countries and their capitals, and the wars and agreements that lead to the creation of their borders. But human geography, while a foreign concept for many, provides us with a means of better understanding the complexities of the world and our place in it.

    Human geography is a social science . It helps us understand why people do what they do, and where. And that comprehension gives us a deeper understanding of cultures and helps us anticipate human behavior, which gives us a solid base for promoting human security.

    Because itâs such a fascinating and important topic â and at the core of who we are as a company â we want to share this primer on the main themes of human geography. These categories were designated, after years of study and classification, by the World-Wide Human Geography Data Working Group , a partnership of scholars, geographers, and government entities from around the globe.

    So without further ado, here are the main themes of human geography and some of the questions they seek to answer:

    Todd Pollard contributed to this post.

    I Location: Position On Earth’s Surface

    Five Themes of Geography

    Absolute and relative location are two ways of describing the positions anddistribution of people and places on the earth’s surface.

    Absolute location answers the questions: Where is it?

    Absolute location is nothing more than a simple dot–often identified as a gridcoordinate on the surface of the earth. Latitude and longitude can be used topinpoint a location. For example, the absolute location of New Orleans,Louisiana, is 30 degrees north, 90 degrees west. Finding absolute location isthe starting point for geographic research.

    Relative location is the relationship of a place to other places.

    For example, New Orleans is located at the place where the Mississippi Riverempties into the Gulf of Mexico, which gives it easy access to ocean and rivershipping. Your home has a relative location. Where is it located in relation toschools, stores, and convenient transportation?

    Location is only one piece of the framework of geography, yet it is an importanttheme because it helps us know and express where things are.

    Discuss answers to these questions about your location: What are the latitude and longitude coordinates of your absolute location. What is your relative location and the relationship of your location to other locations? How does the importance of your location change over time?

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    What Are The 5 Themes Of Geography

    If you are a student of geography, you may have heard the words geography and themes of place. You may also have seen maps that use these same themes to show different parts of the world. What are these 5 themes of geography? What do they mean? What do you use them for?

    5 Themes of Geography

    The Five Themes Of Geography

    Geography is more than memorizing names and places. Geographers organize space inmuch the same way that historians organize time. To help organize space, geographersare concerned with asking three important questions about things in the world: Where is it? Why is it there? What are the consequences of its being there?

    The five themes of geography help answer these questions: Location: Where is it located? Place: What’s it like there? Human/Environment Interaction: What is the relationship between humans and their environment Movement: How and why are places connected with one another? Regions: How and why is one area similar to another?

    No one theme can be understood without the others. The themes are connected with oneanother, as are all components of our world. No part of our world can be understood inisolation.

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