When you study geography, you study Earth. Geography divides into two separate sections: the study of the physical planet and the study of how humans interact with each other and the environment. Perhaps someday you will travel to distant lands to see different regions in person. Airline flights can be expensive, though: Grab a globe and a computer for a fascinating tour around the world instead.
What Is Geography?
A geography class might mean memorizing the names of countries, cities, oceans, and mountain ranges. However, in-depth study of geography involves much more than just memorizing facts. Geographers can study a combination of geographic locations and historic events. Maps are an important tool for studying geography. Using maps, geographers study physical places, how people use them, how places have changed over time, and how places impact people's lives. In the course of this study, scientists look closely at nature to notice environmental events. They are curious about how human and animal life is impacted by the environment and vice versa.
Exploring the World
World geography involves the study of all different regions of the globe. Maps of Earth are laid out on a grid with lines of latitude and longitude. Latitude lines are horizontal on the globe, running parallel to the equator, which spans the center of the Earth. Longitude lines are vertical, running north to south on the globe. Each line of latitude and longitude has a number, making it possible to use this grid to pinpoint any location on the Earth. Continents, oceans, rivers, lakes, islands, mountains, and volcanoes are just some of the natural features on the Earth. You can use maps to help you locate these physical features. Visiting different countries and regions can be an educational process because you can explore different areas. Even if you can't visit countries in person, you can explore them with videos, pictures, and informational websites on the Internet.
Once you begin exploring the world, you might be amazed at the fascinating features you will find. Scientists call different regions "biomes." Craggy mountain ranges exist on every content on the globe. Mountains usually exist in chains or groups. Because of their high altitude, mountains are usually windy and cold, without a lot of animals and plants at the highest peaks. The animals and plants that do live there have adapted to the harsh conditions. Deserts are another biome to explore. Deserts have little life due to the dry conditions. As much as one-fifth of Earth is desert, and every continent except Europe has a desert. Reptiles and amphibians are well-suited to desert living. Grasslands tend to be hot, but they get enough rain to allow plants and crops to grow well. Prairies are perfect for growing wheat and corn. In North America, cattle graze in prairies, and farmers grow crops there. In Africa, wild animals such as lions and zebras live freely on prairies. Many continents have rainforests, including South America, Asia, and Africa. Rainforests in tropical regions might get as much as 70 inches of water every year. With all of this rainfall, plants are abundant in these regions. Building and construction have threatened rainforests, so many countries are trying to protect this type of natural biome. Forests are found all over the world, and they can have deciduous or coniferous trees. Deciduous trees lose their leaves in the winter and coniferous trees don't lose their leaves.
Learn about the world online with a computer or a mobile device. Games, apps, and websites can help you see and explore different countries and biomes. Test your knowledge with quizzes. Play games against a computer or with your friends. Go on a virtual scavenger hunt to scour the globe for specific items or animals. You can even watch educational videos to see live footage of people and animals from around the world.