The Five Themes of Geography

The five themes were written in 1984 by the Joint Committee on Geographic Education of the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) and the Association of American Geographers (AAG). These themes help both students and teachers concentrate on certain aspects of the study of geography. With the five themes in mind, teachers can develop relevant lessons, and students are more aware of the connections between the study of geography and their everyday lives. The themes are explained in the NCGE/AAG publication Guidelines for Geographic Education, Elementary and Secondary Schools.

The 5 themes are:

-- Where is it? Where are things located? A location can be specific (for example, it can be stated as coordinates of longitude and latitude or as being a certain distance from another place) or general (it's in the Southwest).
-- What is it like? What makes a particular place different from other places? Differences might be in the areas of climate, physical features, or the culture and traditions of the people who live there.
-- How are places similar or different? How can Earth be divided into regions for study? Regions are categorized in three ways: formal, functional and perceptual. Areas which have similar cultural, economic, political or physical characteristics can be considered a region.
-- How do people, goods and ideas move from one location to another? Movement includes communication, imports and exports as well as transportation.

Human-environment interaction
-- How do people relate to their physical world? What are the relationships among people and places? How have people changed the environment?