Geography in a Box

What items can your students use to think spatially?

Spatial thinking is thinking about the position of objects/places and their relationships to one another. Elementary students need multiple opportunities to practice this type of thinking. One way to foster spatial thinking with children is by developing spatial concepts and skills using hands-on activities.

Research-based support for spatial thinking:
Spatial Thinking About Maps – Executive Summary (National Geographic)

To get started, gather the following items:

1) inflatable globe(s)
2) paper maps (classroom, school, community, state, US, World – MapMaker Kits)
3) photos/images of physical and human features
4) plain paper for creating drawings and/or sketch maps
5) manipulatives and scenarios for real world applications
6) online maps
7) picture books with geographic concepts

To find out how to use these resources follow the appropriate grade-level link below:


This is only the beginning! Consider building your box with additional resources such as a compass, postcards, passports, travel photographs, puzzles — things that can help your students ask and answer questions about WHERE and WHY things are the way they are in their world.