Locating ourselves in space

Kiran Gandhi

universe There are some subjects that have a mundane aspect about them that make them somewhat boring despite our best efforts. Geography is not one of these subjects though. Quite the contrary, it offers myriad opportunities to improvise and innovate in its teaching. Yet, geography seldom receives due attention. There are umpteen studies conducted about the geography literacy of Americans. Studies show that one-fifth of Americans fail to locate USA on a map. Many people fail to locate even their state on the map of USA. We don’t know the extent of our geographic literacy here in India. If we want to gauge the geographic awareness of our children, we can start by asking two simple questions:
1. In which hemisphere does India lie?
2. Does the equator pass through India?

I asked my 8th grader cousin, who is a brilliant student, these questions. According to him, India lies in the southern hemisphere and equator passes through India.

Is geography literacy the mere ability to identify countries on a map?

National Geographic calls geography literacy: “the ability to use geographic understanding and geographic reasoning to make far-reaching decisions.” It relies on three conceptual pillars:

The author is a freelance writer with a degree in engineering. He mostly writes short stories and sports articles, and blogs at Kirangandhiblog.wordpress.com. He can be reached at kirengandhi@gmail.com.

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