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National Geographic Bee
By Neeraj Sirdeshmukh
2nd place winner in 2006 National Geo Bee
Learning geography starts with the basic tool, the atlas. Familiarize yourself with the major cities, countries, provinces/territories, and other physical and political divisions of our planet.
A good atlas is Geographica.
Another one is National Geographic Family Atlas of the World.
A free world atlas can be found online at www.encarta.msn.com.
Go to www.geography.about.com to find blank maps of every county.
This port city was founded in 1177 when a castle over the Lagan River was built.
ANSWER: Belfast, United Kingdom
What river is this?
ANSWER: Rhine River
This is the second largest city in Germany and is located on the Elbe River.
ANSWER: Hamburg, Germany
This is the southernmost point of mainland Europe. What is it called?
ANSWER: Point Tarifa, Spain
The best way to memorize locations is to practice filling inblank maps.
TIP # 2: CURRENT EVENTS blank map:
United States news for the Bee. Most current events questions will have a geographic clue. Others might not.
For example, a question might look like:
On January 2, 2009, the army of which country announced that it had captured Kilinochchi, the capital city of the Tamil Tiger rebels?
coverage is www.bbcnews.com.
TIP # 3: CAPITAL CITIES blank map:
TIP # 4: PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY blank map:
Learnphysical geographyterms through a good reference book or encyclopedia. I used theNational Geographic Desk Reference. Again, making flash cards is a good way to memorize terms.
Physical geography questions ask mostly about key terms, such as barchan, cirque, moraine, abyssal plain, tarn, and esker.
These terms relate to mostly the following topics: world climates, soils, wind and ocean current patterns, glaciers, dunes, rocks and minerals, the ocean floor, rivers, lakes, etc.….
CLIMATE GRAPHS blank map:
These types of questions pop up occasionally and require you to analyze a climate graph, a chart that shows temperature and precipitation patterns for a particular location. You are given a few cities and asked to find the one that best fits the graph.
For example, look at this graph. The red line represents the temperature in degrees Celsius. You can tell that it is hot year round- around 28 degrees C. There are no extremes in temperature. This should immediately tell you that this city is close to the equator. The blue bars represent precipitation. It is very wet. The highest amount of precipitation occurs from November-January. If you know that the northeast monsoon winds blow during this period, you can tell that this city is located somewhere in southern Asia. SO WHAT CITY IS IT ????
What city matches this climagraph?
A) Rio de Janeiro B) Stockholm C) Washington, D.C. D) Singapore E) Sydney
TIP # 5: STUDY REGULARLY blank map:
Don’t forget to study regularly. Utilize any free time you have. Use your weekends, after-school free time and vacations fruitfully.
It’s up to you to decide how much you should study.
To give you an idea of how big geography really is, here are some of the different parts of geography:
There are many other parts.. But for the Bee, these six are the ones you should be familiar with…..
What do you need to know about each part of geography? NEED TO KNOW?
1.POLITICAL: Abkhazia, Ajaria, and South Ossetia are three autonomous republics that have been seeking independence from which country?
2.PHYSICAL:What is the term for a volcanic crack in the ground through which steam and gases escape?
3.ECONOMIC: The Darling Downs is a farming region centered around the city of Toowoomba, in which country?
4. HISTORICAL: Which city was once known as Petrograd and later as Leningrad?
ANSWER: Saint Petersburg, Russia
5. CULTURAL(HUMAN): Which country has more Muslims than any other country in the world?
6. TRAVEL/TOURISM: The Buddhas of Bamiyan, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. This event occurred in which country?
TIP # 7: EARTH’S EXTREMES NEED TO KNOW?
TIP # 8: CREATE YOUR OWN CHART NEED TO KNOW?
When I was studying, I created my own chart, filled with all the facts I needed to know about every country.
Using a chart to memorize is much easier than just reading a book with facts.
I made columns for the following: country name, capital, major cities, highest points, physical features, independence, religions, languages, ethnic groups, maps, bordering countries, currencies, major exports, and facts.
My table looked like this:
TIP # 9: PLAY QUIZZES TO TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE NEED TO KNOW?
Playing quizzes is a great way to prepare, especially if you have limited time to study.
www.mygeotrivia.com- thousands of questions
(you can also view a sample of the chart I created here)
www.geography.about.com- go to “Test your Knowledge”
www.nationalgeographic.com/geobee/- new Geo Bee Challenge every day
www.epals.com – go to Geography Central
www.hillmanwonders.com- top 100 wonders of the world
TIP # 10: PARTICIPATE IN GEOGRAPHY DISCUSSION FORUMS NEED TO KNOW?
One great discussion forum is www.geobeecentral.com , where you can keep in touch with many other geography bee contestants and fans like you…..
There are also quiz questions, more advice on how to prepare, and other tips.
Another one is www.epals.com. There is a blog called Geography Central.