Some of the information on this page comes from

Click here for the Geography note taking guide

Click here for a “What is Geography Booklet” from national geographic

Here is a video about the 5 themes of Geography

Geography literally means “earth description.” It seeks to describe and explain the distribution of phenomena that characterize our planet’s surface. In so doing, geography seeks answers to questions that include:

  • Where are things located?
  • Why are they there?
  • What is their significance?
  • What is a particular location or region like?
  • How and why are some places on Earth alike or different from others?

All told, an amazing variety of attributes characterize our planet. They include physical features such as climates, landforms, and natural vegetation. They also include human beings, their attributes, and their works-such as cities, towns, agriculture, transportation systems, and industries.

The Five Themes of Geography

The five themes of geography are;

  • Location
  • Place
  • Human-environment interactions
  • Movement
  • Region


Location can be described in two different ways:


  • Place is the description of what it is like to live in a certain place. Examples are government types, climate, diet, etc.
  • It is a description of what makes that place different to others. If I was trying to tell you about the bedrooms in a house, and I wanted to explain to you exactly which one I meant, I could say, “the one with two beds and one window”. If the other rooms had only one bed each, or two windows, then you could easily tell which room I meant.
  •   This is divided into 2 parts:
  •           Physical Differences  and Human Differences
  •           Physical differences, or characteristics, include things that occur naturally, such as mountains, rivers, type of soil,    wildlife, climate etc.
  • I might say that a place is flat with rich soil and many rivers. I’m still being vague, but already you can see a picture of it in your head, and maybe even begin to imagine what the land is used for.
  •  Human differences, or characteristics, are things that have changed due to people, such as roads and buildings, how people live and their traditions.
  •  This is where you can really go to town in your description. You can discuss the cities, lifestyle, culture and all sorts of other interesting facts that make the place you are talking about different and special.

Human-environment interaction

How people interact with the environment, and how the environment responds. Scientists currently are debating how much the environment has changed in response to how humans have emitted certain pollutants into the atmosphere.

This is about the relationship between people and their environment, or how they work together. It answers a lot of important questions: What effects have the people had on their environment? How has the environment affected them, do they depend on it for anything? What changes have they made to their environment to make it easier to live in?
It can be divided into 3 parts:
                 1.  How people have been changed by the environment.
2.  How the environment has been changed by people.
3.  How people depend on the environment.
How people have been changed by the environment can be called adaptation. It is the way humans change to suit their environment. An example of this is people who live in very cold climates wearing well-insulated clothes to keep warm. It can also include the way people transport things, in a desert the best way to transport some things is by camel.
     – How the environment has been changed or modification is the way people change their environment to suit themselves.
Artificially watering your lawn, if you live in a dry area is one example, or on a grander scale, creating fertile land in desert areas to grow food crops. Another good example is clearing forests to make room for growing crops.
      -Depending on the environment is when people depend on their environment for something.
Examples of this are using trees for firewood, or coal to warm us in winter, rivers to transport goods and natural resources like oil and coal, to sell or exchange for other needed items that are not available.
       -Sometimes it is difficult to tell exactly where something belongs . For example, if people clear forests to get wood for fires and to grow crops, that may be considered changing the environment to suit themselves and depending on the environment for something. When you think about the environment and people, just remember the three important questions:
How have the people changed? How have they changed the environment? Do they depend on the environment for anything?
If you have the same answer for two questions, then it must be important, but you don’t need to say it twice.


Movement is the travel of people, goods and ideas from one location to another or political events. Examples of movement include America’s westward expansion, the Information Revolution, and immigration. New devices such as the airplane and the Internet allow physical and ideological goods to be transferred long distances in short time intervals. The travel of oneself from place to place, and the actions they do there, is also considered movement.

•Movement includes the movement of people, things, such as goods, as well as communications (the movement of ideas).
•We can describe the type of communications a place has and the main forms of transportation, as well as what goods are exported and imported. These all come under the heading of movement.


Regions consist of subregions that contain clusters of areas that are distinctive by their uniformity of description based on a range of statistical data, for example demographic, and locales. In astrophysics some regions have science-specific terms such as galactic clusters. ex. The United States is a POLITICAL region because it shares the same government system

Regions are areas that can be grouped together by a set of things special to that region. We have countries, ruled by governments, areas speaking the same language, or having the same religion, and we have areas served by a particular service, such as a school district.

The three types of area are: Defined by a government or physical characteristics, Defined by a function, Loosely defined

  1. Regions defined by a government or physical characteristics are regions that are strictly maintained, such as countries or continents.
  2. Regions defined by a function are areas served by a particular service.
  3. Take the example of the school district for Geek’s Rule School. If Geek’s Rule School closes down, then the school district will no longer exist. Of course, it won’t just disappear in a cloud of smoke, but it will have to be named or described some other way.
  4. Loosely defined regions are regions that are grouped together in general terms.
  5. These are things such as the North, or the Midlands or the Buddhist World, or even the Far East and Middle East. They are the sort of definitions that people will argue about, and say that a certain place should or shouldn’t be included in the definition of that region.



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