Teaching the Five Themes of Geography - Movement

Movement is how people, things, and ideas get from place to place on Earth. It is a simple theme to teach because it is so concrete. Afterall, all my students got to school today somehow didn't they? Their lunch was made from ingredients that were transported from somewhere. And when I write information on the board or the principal makes an announcement on the school PA system, we are "moving" ideas aren't we?

A Few Teachable Examples of Movement in History


From the first human migration out of Africa to Cuban, Vietnamese, or Cold War refugees, history is full of examples of the movement of people.


My personal favorite is railroads. When teaching ancient world history, however, I use the invention of the wheel, seagoing vessels, and the domestication of beasts of burden to reinforce the theme of movement.


The Silk Road, the Columbian Exchange, the slave trade, and the e-commerce revolution are but a few examples of the geographical theme of movement as it related to trade.


The Sumerians invented writing. This was key, of course, in beginning to optimize the transmission of ideas from person to person and culture to culture. The evolution of languages and great speakers in history are other great ways to include the theme of idea movement in the social studies classroom.

Update - 8/15/16 - I just finished a new post on the 5 Themes.  It's got lots of pictures and an infographic.

Thanks for reading!

Mr. West

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