Where Is Iraq on the Map?

POSTED ON BEHALF OF EMILY FLEITZ

Where is Iraq on the map?  This question haunted me as a middle and high school student.  Post September 11, Iraq and Afghanistan were all over the media, yet most Americans could not point them out on a map.  Seventh grade US History was spent memorizing the countries of the world and their capitals so that we would at least be able to point out the general vicinity of where US soldiers were stationed.  I did a good job on these tests, but without any context for my knowledge I quickly forgot the capital of Hungary and the location of Taiwan.

ProjectExplorer.org works to solve America’s geographical incompetence.  It is a nonprofit organization developed by Jenny M. Buccos in 2003 that produces free, online global travel series. Designed for family and classroom, ProjectExplorer.org provides students with access to peoples and places they may never have seen or knew existed.

The website include suggested materials for Upper Elementary, Middle School and High School students, as well as ideas for family use.  Students can explore the website at their own pace and select different spots on the map to watch videos and learn about a specific country’s culture.  I loved the segment on India, it captured the culture of a vast country in a short video clip that was engaging and informative.  Other sections require students to read blogs written by visitors to the country.  Hyperlinks allow students to expand their learning with more information on historical or geographical concepts.

This activity would be good for addressing different learning styles.  Learning about a country through a visual/audio interactive experience would help students with certain learning styles to more fully grasp the nuances of foreign cultures.

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5 thoughts on “Where Is Iraq on the Map?

  1. The point about the need for more and better teaching of geography is well made. The choice of Iraq as the example is instructive nonetheless. “Where is Afghanistan and Pakistan?” is probably the question today, and in previous generations it may well have been “Where is Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia? ” these are all countries where American is or has fought wars. The emphasis should not be on the bad (Guyana is known for Jonestown) but on the good and peace. Where is Costa Rica?

  2. I also vividly remember memorizing the countries and capitals of the world in 7th grade! And I still find it useful to be able to identify most of the countries on a map, and have a general idea of what their major cities are. Even though it’s basic, it is the first step in cultivating actual awareness about the characteristics of foreign places. That said, not everyone has a mind for spacial and visual learning like that, so I think this is a great resource for young students to be more actively engaged. I would add a literature component — have the students read poetry, short stories, or learn songs from the region of study to not only see visual representation of a place, but cultural, historical and academic, too.

  3. This is a great way for student to expand on their knowledge of different countries and move away from stereotypes that society instills in us about specific cultures. I would link this exercise/web page to a group project on a specific aspect of one of the cultures/countries viewed and have students debunk myths that other students may have about a culture.

  4. I love the idea of connecting geography to real-world examples and learning not only about where places are but about the people who live there and the local environment!

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