Most people tend to lump geography in with history, but categorically, geography is actually a science: the study of places and the relationships between people and their environments. Research proves that kids learn more effectively when subjects are blended together instead of separately taught.
Countries, states, and cities may often be forgotten unless there is an interesting tie-in to help your child remember the location and importance. I have an affection for anything involving maps and globes. I think this stems from the genealogist in me. Township, city, county, state, country maps… they all fascinate me. I look at a map and start to wonder about the deep history of the land, how it once looked, and why the original settlers chose to live in the exact spots they settled in.
Because of this, I have always strived to pass this love onto my son, so I try to incorporate geography into every subject possible. One of the most obvious ways you can incorporate geography into the broader subject of science is to plot scientists on a map.
WonderMaps by Bright Ideas Press is my go-to map program. While we do have large laminated maps in our house, sometimes I prefer smaller printable maps instead.
- Each map can have its own theme.
- Each map can be colored or written on.
- Each map can be placed into a binder to move around at will.
- Each map can be saved indefinitely.
- You don’t have to worry about overcrowding, you can just print a new map and call it part two.
- With WonderMaps, you can choose to print place names, rivers, and borders.
- WonderMaps also gives you the option to choose a modern map or a historical map.
There are just simply more choices! And choice is always good when it comes to education.
In your daily curriculum, you are likely to frequently come across scientists, inventors, and other men and women who have worked in STEM fields. Stop and take a few moments to look up that person on Wikipedia, print out the person’s photo, and add it to a printed map.
After plotting your scientist on your map, be sure to open WonderMaps again to compare the scientist’s birthplace then to now. Things can drastically change over time. Like in the case of Gregor Mendel…he was born in Austria in 1822, but if he was born in 2016, his birthplace would be the Czech Republic. That is one of my favorite features – the modern overlay of historic maps.
To get you started with your scientific geography adventure, I’ve created a printable full of well-known scientists throughout history. This printable contains their photo, name, and birthplace. The images are small enough to place on a map. Here is a list of who is included:
Influential Scientists From Around the World (384 BC – 1889)
- Aristotle 384 BC, Chalkidiki, Greece
- Archimedes 287 BC, Sicily, Italy
- Zhang Heng 78, Nanyang, China
- Hypatia 350, Egypt
- Su Song 1020, Quanzhou, China
- Abraham bar Hiyya 1070, Barcelona, Spain
- Abraham Zacuto 1452, Salamanca, Spain
- Leonardo da Vinci 1452, Florence, Italy
- Galileo Galilei 1564, Pisa, Italy
- Johannes Kepler 1571, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
- Blaise Pascal 1623, France
- Robert Boyle 1627, Waterford, Ireland
- Sir Isaac Newton 1642, Lincolnshire, England
- Benjamin Franklin 1706, Massachusetts
- Mikhail Lomonosov 1711, Russia
- Alessandro Volta 1745, Milan, Italy
- Michael Faraday 1791, London, England
- Gregor Mendel 1822, Czech Republic
- Louis Pasteur 1822, Dole, France
- James Clerk Maxwell 1831, Edinburgh, Scotland
- Alfred Nobel 1833, Sweden
- Carlos Juan Finlay 1833, Cuba
- Dmitri Mendeleev 1834, Russia
- Vasily Dokuchaev 1846, Russia
- Thomas Edison 1847, Ohio
- Nikola Tesla 1856, Croatia
- Jagadish Chandra Bose 1858, Bangladesh, India
- George Washington Carver 1864, Missouri
- Marie Curie 1867, Warsaw, Poland
- Lord Ernest Rutherford 1871, New Zealand
- Oswaldo Cruz 1872, Brazil
- Wilfrid Derome 1877, Quebec, Canada
- Albert Einstein 1879, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
- Edwin Hubble 1889, Missouri
To show you what we frequently do, I’ll use scientist Su Song. He was born in the year 1020 in Quanzhou, China. WonderMaps has a feature that lists maps by historical period. Scroll down the years until you reach a time close to Su Song’s birth year. You can see that he was born during the Song Dynasty, which is just a coincidence since it was a very common surname.
From this map, with all its features turned on, you can see that Quanzhou was a seaside city.
*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.
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