Canadian Geographic – Classroom Contests

The beginning of the school year also means the beginning of Can Geo Education’s contests. This year, get your class excited about geography by signing up for one (or all) of our free contests!

Canadian Geographic Challenge
The Canadian Geographic Challenge is Canada’s national geography bee. It’s a great way to highlight how fun and diverse geography is. Sign up any grade 4-10 class this fall.

Classroom Energy Diet Challenge
Teach your students about energy using this fun and engaging program. Available to all K-12 classrooms.

Canada’s Coolest School Trip
This year, one lucky grade 8/secondaire 2 class will embark on an all-expenses-paid trip to number of Parks Canada places.

Visit to find out where the lucky winners will be heading and register in September.

Grade 8 Geography: Disappearing Forests: Google Map changes since 2000

Using Landsat imagery and cloud computing, researchers mapped forest cover worldwide as well as forest loss and gain. Over 12 years, 888,000 square miles of forest were lost, and 309,000 square miles regrew.

Global view of problems … and fixes
Applications for the new global forest map range from calculating how much carbon is stored in the world’s forests to identifying what countries are logging trees most ravenously. “Whether you are a tree hugger or a logger, this map could be useful to you,” Hansen noted.

The map does bring a new level of transparency to forestry accounting, he added. It opens up for the world to see the impact of Brazil’s conservation policy, for instance, where the rate of forest loss was halved to 8,000 square miles a year over the course of the decade.

The map also shows that Brazil’s deforestation reduction is more than offset by increased forest loss in places such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Paraguay and Bolivia. Overall, the forest loss in the tropics is increasing by 811 square miles a year, according to Hansen and colleagues, who discuss the map in a paper published today in the journal Science.

Grade 8 Geography: World Population Pyramids & World Violence

Answer these questions on this Word document: World Population Pyramids

Click on several countries of the world and notice the different shapes of population pyramids. For example, check out Azerbaijan. Quickly scan the recent history of the country to see a possible explanation for it’s shape.

Currently, Zimbabwe has the largest youth bulge in the world.  As of 2012, the largest youth bulge is found in Zimbabwe, which has a population structure with 56.57% between the ages of 15 and 29. Briefly skim the article: Human rights in Zimbabwe.  Summarize in one or two sentences that might explain Zimbabwe’s youth bulge.


On the World Violence map, answer the following questions:

  1. True or False: the USA is more violent than Haiti?
  2. True or false: Egypt is more violent than Canada?
  3. Where does Canada rank, in terms of suicide?
  4. In gener1al, suicide is more prevalent in the  _______________ hemisphere.

Life Expectancy:

  1. Longest living country in the world is?
  2. Canada’s longevity ranking is?
  3. What is Haiti’s average life expectancy?
  4. Which country has an average life expectancy of 66.2?

Causes of Death:

  1. What are the top three causes of death for Canadians?
    1. Where is suicide on the list?
  2. What is the #2 cause of death in Guatemala?
  3. What do you notice about Haiti‘s life expectancy?
    1. What is the number one killer of Haitians?
    2. What is surprising about #4 and #6 on the list?

Inquiry-based Grade 8 Geography Unit – By Karisa Sharpe

gril2The following document was written by Karisa Sharpe / Huttonville Public School / PDSB

Geography Unit Overview

Grade 8 Geography

Geography Unit Overview – K Sharpe.pdf

Geographical Thinking

  • Spatial Significance
  • Patterns and Trends
  • Interrelationships
  • Geographic Perspective

Geographic Inquiry

  • STEP 1 – Formulate Questions
  • STEP 2 – Gather and Organize
  • STEP 3 – Interpret and Analyze
  • STEP 4 – Evaluate and Draw Conclusions
  • STEP 5 – Communicate

Unit A – Global Settlement: Patterns and Sustainability

  •  Analyze some significant interrelationships between Earthʼs physical features and processes and human settlement patterns, and some ways in which the physical environment and issues of sustainability may affect settlement in the future.
    • Physical environments (climate, landforms, soil types, vegetation, natural resources)
    • Types and trends of settlement patterns (linear, scattered, clustered)
    • Possible features of a sustainable community in the future and challenges in creating it
  • Use the geographic inquiry process to investigate issues related to the interrelationship between human settlement and sustainability from a geographic perspective.
    • Issues between human settlement and sustainability (social, economic and environmental perspectives)
    • Construct maps to indicate population density/distribution and the loss of green space
    • Look at photographs of potential land-use conflicts
  • Demonstrate an understanding of significant patterns and trends related to human settlement and of ways in which human settlement affects the environment.
    • Identify significant land use issues (competition for land for agriculture, industry, housing, transportation, recreation, wilderness areas, land claims by indigenous groups, development in ecologically sensitive areas)
    • Describe ways in which human settlement has affected the environment describe various ways in which human settlement has affected the environment (e.g., water pollution from industry, agriculture, human waste; air pollution from vehicle and industrial emissions; soil contamination from pesticides, industrial byproducts, garbage dumps; deforestation and loss of habitat from expanding settlement; loss of agricultural land to urban sprawl; light pollution from large cities; disruption of migratory routes of different species; desertification from unsustainable agricultural practices)
    • Describe ways to make human settlements more sustainable (e.g., reducing water use, increasing recycling and composting, limiting the construction of housing on land that could be used for agriculture, using public transit, planting and maintaining trees)

Unit B – Global Inequalities: Economic Development and Quality of Life

  • Analyze some interrelationships among factors that contribute to global inequalities, with a focus on inequalities in quality of life, and assess various responses to these inequalities
    • Factors that contribute to the quality of life (lack of access to clean water leads to an increase in water-borne diseases and to high death rates overall as well as high infant mortality rates; a country that has equal access to education for all will have higher literacy rates and will most likely have higher employment rates, a lower fertility rate and birth rate, and better maternal health)
    • Factors that have affected the economies of developed and developing countries around the world
    • Examine programs and policies aimed to improve the quality of life in various countries (governmental and non-governmental programs to provide clean water, improve literacy rates, provide drugs for people with HIV/AIDS, reduce the spread of malaria, reduce violence against women, reduce child labour or the use of child soldiers, promote fair trade, or develop alternative income programs)
    • Look at media sources to see their affect on changing the quality of life
  • Use the geographic inquiry process to investigate issues related to global development and quality of life from a geographic perspective 
    • Global development vs. quality of life – Construct digital and print maps as part of their investigations into issues related to global development and quality of life 
    • Examine photographs to discuss quality of life (“What do these photographs tell you about the quality of life of the people in the picture? What are the social and economic implications of what you see? Are these implications supported by information or data you have obtained from other sources?” “What does this population pyramid showing a rapidly growing population suggest about quality of life issues for this country?)
  • Demonstrate an understanding of significant patterns in and factors affecting economic development and quality of life in different regions of the world
    • Identify indicators of the measure of quality of life (ex: national literacy rate)
    • Create scatter graphs to display correlations of global development and quality of life 
    • Identify groups that attempt to better quality of life
    • Identify different types of economic systems (e.g., traditional, command, market, mixed), and describe their characteristics
    • Explain how the four main economic sectors (i.e., primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary) are related to global development
    • Describe various factors that can contribute to economic development

Geography Assignment Overview:

  • 1) Inquiry Project #1 – Where Would You Want To Live? Written Report (individual)
  • 2) Map In-Class Assignment (individual)
  • 3) Mid Term Test (individual)
  • 4) Inquiry Project #2 – Future Sustainable Community – Creative Design Project (group)
  • 5) Inquiry Project #3 – Quality of Life – Inquiry Circle Roles (group)
  • 6) Top 10 List OR Geography Trading Cards? TBD (individual)

Unit A – Global Settlement: Patterns and Sustainability

Geography Inquiry #1 – Where Would You Live . pdf


Choose one of the following prompts to guide your inquiry:

  • a) “If you could establish a settlement anywhere in the world, where would it be? What criteria would you use to select the location?” OR
  • b) “If you could choose anywhere in the world to live, where would it be? What criteria would you use to select the location?”

Inquiry Steps

  1. Formulate questions to guide your research
  2. Gather and organize your research and data from a variety of sources
  3. Describe the connection between the physical environment and why you are drawn to this location
  4. Analyze how the following factors impact your decision:
    • Trends and patterns in human settlement
    • Population
    • Physical environment
    • Weather and natural climate
    • Employment
    • Education
    • Food
    • Housing
    • The Cost of Living
    • Safety
    • Health Services
    • Pollution
    • Transportation
    • Technology
    • Personal connection
  5. Complete a two page (one paper, double sided) written report outlining your findings. You are encouraged to use headings to organize your writing.

Inquiry Process Steps

Geography Inquiry Process – Steps.pdf


Formulating Questions Inquiry Project #1 – Global Settlements

STEP 1: ‰Formulate questions to guide your research.

You have been given two prompts to inspire your specific questions that will guide your inquiry. Come up with as many specific questions that you can think.

Based on the prompt you have chosen, finish the following sentences.

  • I wonder if…
  • I wonder how…
  • This topic makes me think of…

Step 2: Gathering & Organizing Research

  • Collect research from a variety of sources. ‰
  • Put the research into your OWN WORDS (this means making your own notes!) ‰
  • Organize your research and data from a variety of sources. You may start to organize it into headings as you will have to for step 4. ‰ Place all of your research notes into your duotang for Ms. Sharpe to review. ‰
  • Begin your draft list of sources that you are using for research. You must have at least 5 sources from the following categories. Check that you are writing down your sources in correct bibliography form.
    1. (book)
    2. (website)
    3. (website)
    4. (media)
    5. (choice)

Step 3: Making Connections

Describe the connections between the physical environment and why you are drawn to this location. You may want to use the Venn diagram to outline the physical features of your location vs. what you are looking for in a location . Anything that matches can be written in the middle

  • What personal connections can you make to this location?
  • Why do you feel this is the best choice for yourself?

Step 4: Analyzing Your Decision Factors

Analyze how the following factors impact your decision:

  • Trends and patterns in human settlement
  • Physical environment
  • Weather and natural climate
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Food
  • Housing
  • The cost of living
  • Safety
  • Health services
  • Pollution
  • Transportation
  • Technology
  • Personal connection to this place

‰ Use one of the attached graphic organizers OR create your own and attach it to your rough drafts. You may find it helpful to make a bubble for each heading.  You may choose to merge some of the topics above into one bubble.

Step 5: Complete

  • Complete a two-page (one paper, double sided) written report outlining your findings. ‰
  • You are encouraged to use headings to organize your writing. ‰
  • Use the space below to work on a rough draft. ‰
  • Have at least 1 peer review your writing before you begin your final draft.

Grade 8 Geography: An Interactive Map of Global Ecological Land Units: bioclimate, landforms, rock type, vegetation

An Ecophysiographic Stratification Approach

A New Map of Global Ecological Land Units booklet

The United States Geological Survey (USGS), Esri, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO), and the Association of American Geographers (AAG) are pleased to present A New Map of Global Ecological Land Units – An Ecophysiographic Stratification Approach. This paper describes the concepts and methods for delineating ecological land units (ELUs) as distinct physical environments and associated land cover. Detailed and accurate maps of ELUs are presented for the Earth and the continents, as well as regional examples.

The ELUs were developed in response to the need for a high resolution, standardized, and data-derived map of global ecosystems for use in analyses of

  • climate change impacts,
  • assessments of economic and non-economic value of ecosystem goods and services,
  • biodiversity conservation planning, and
  • natural resource management.

The work was done in a public/private partnership between USGS and Esri, and was commissioned by GEO as part of an intergovernmental protocol called the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). With this special publication, AAG recognizes the work as a contribution to understanding the physical and ecological geography of the Earth.

Interactive Map

The United States Geological Survey has published a new global ecosystems map of unprecedented detail.

The map was produced by a team led by Roger Sayre, Ph.D., Senior Scientist for Ecosystems at the USGS Land Change Science Program. It is a mosaic of almost 4,000 unique ecological areas called Ecological Land Units (ELUs) based on four factors that are key in determining the makeup of ecosystems.

  • Three of these—bioclimate, landforms, and rock type—are physical phenomena that drive the formation of soils and the distribution of vegetation.
  • The fourth, land cover, is the vegetation that is found in a location as a response to the physical factors.
  • You can read more about the research in this blog post.

This Story Map Journal has two main features, an ecosystems browser and an ecosystem tour.

In the ecosystem browser, opposite, point and click at any location on the map and the name of that ecosystem appears in a pop-up box. In general, tans are deserts, yellows and light greens are savannas, darker greens are forests, mountainous regions have texture, reddish is warm and bluish is cold. The browser includes pan and zoom functions.

Download the high resolution PDF booklet (33.8MB)

Download the low resolution PDF booklet (1.9MB)