A Bit of Learning in Honor of the Olympics

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Olympic torch

Love of sport, life, & learning

All hail the Olympics! As you watch your favorite athletes strive, consider the exciting competitions an opportune time to brush up on a little basic knowledge about countries of the world:

*Review flags of the world here, courtesy of the CIA World Factbook. The site also includes maps and “information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities.”

*While you’re browsing snapshots of world countries, why not virtually visit the Olympians’ homelands? Some ideas for armchair traveling are listed here.

*Talk the talk of international athletes: see here for seven good foreign language help sites.

Finally, you might stop by the official website of the Olympic Games. Go to the “Olympism” tab and scroll down to “Educators.” Although this material is prepared for grade schoolers, it’s still interesting to see the colorful e-brochure “resources” from the Olympic Museum and learn, for instance, about the history of the ancient and modern Olympic Games.

Image via mrg. bz / sideshowmom

Related on this site:
It’s always a good time to study geography.
A good place to start studying world religions.

 Related from around the web:

Is Geography a Mystery to You, Too? Here’s Help.


Physical World Map 2004-04-01

Image via Wikipedia

The Nation’s Report Card (National Assessment of Educational Progress) has more unsettling news: it reported this week that in 2010, fewer than one-third of U.S. students performed at or above the “proficient” level in Geography. That means, of course, that more than SEVEN out of 10 students do not demonstrate competency in Geography.

David P. Driscoll, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, commented on Geography as an academic discipline:

Geography is not just about maps. It is a rich and varied discipline that, now more than ever, is vital to understanding the connections between our global economy, environment, and diverse cultures.” (Emphases mine.)

In other words, students need to know much more about the subject. So in the spirit of DIY, below are five resources to get you started on improving your own Geography knowledge:

1) The Geography and Map Reading Room of the Library of Congress. Under “Digital Collections,”
*click “Online Map Collections.” Here you can browse by Geographic Location Index.
*check out “Places in the News.”

2) The US Department of State’s “Background Notes” page provides encyclopedia-style quick reference on countries, including maps and information on geography, history, and economy.

3) The CIA World Factbook: another reference site featuring quick facts, maps, and world flags.

4) National Atlas of the United States: find out more about where you live by making your own map (with a variety of layering options) at the Map Maker tool. Also check out the Printable Maps, Dynamic Maps, and articles.

5) National Geographic magazine is also a fantastic learning resource. A quick web search will turn up the website for you.

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