Topic Name Description
Course Introduction Page Course Syllabus
Page World Regional Map
MapCheck: The World Page A Political Map of the World
1.1: Geography Basics Page Maps Show Us Who We Are, Not Just Where We Are

In this video, a geographer discusses maps that depict earth. He notes that border controls are a recent construct – there was a time when people were free to immigrate wherever they wanted without passports.

URL Geography Basics

This section introduces the foundational principles of the major branches of geography, such as physical, population, cultural, and economic geography. After you read, you should be able to explain how globalization can positively and negatively affect communities.

Page Introduction to Geospatial Science and Technology

Geospatial science is a field of study that is focused on understanding people, places, and activities on earth through information technology. Watch this video to understand the importance of geospatial analysis in geographic inquiry.

Page Latitude and Longitude

Latitude and longitude is the imaginary grid geographers created to divide the globe into sections to make it easy to locate every place on earth. Watch this video to learn about these circular reference methods.

Page Latitude, Longitude, and Time Zones

Watch this video to learn more about geographic coordinates and the concept of time meridians (time zones).

Page Seasons, Daylight Hours, and Solar Zenith Angle

Watch this video to understand how the tilt of the earth’s affects weather patterns and daylight hours. Note that some countries do not use daylight savings time.

1.2: The Environment and Human Activity URL The Environment and Human Activity
This section introduces the major concepts of physical geography, such as weather and climate, earthquakes, volcanoes, and plate tectonics. It also discusses the causes and components of climate change, including its anthropogenic (human-made) influences.
Page Rainshadow Effect, Adiabatic Process, and Relative Humidity

Watch this video for a brief explanation of the rainshadow effect, adiabatic processes, and relative humidity.

Page The Other Inconvenient Truth

Watch this video, which explains why skyrocketing demands for food has propelled agriculture to become the largest driver of climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental destruction.

1.3: Population and Culture URL Population and Culture

This section introduces the major concepts and variables of population geography, including urbanization, culture, ethnicity, language, and religion.

Page A Family Tree for Humanity

Watch this video, which describes the ancestry, history, and distribution of human populations across the globe.

File Geoinquiry: World Population

This exercise will ask you to explore and analyze patterns in world population. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

Page How Language Transformed Humanity

Watch this video, where an evolutionary biologist discusses how language has transformed humanity.

File Geoinquiry: Language and Religion

In this exercise, you will explore the spatial distribution of the major languages and religions of the world. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

1.4: Globalization and Development URL Globalization and Development

This section introduces the how globalization can provide opportunities for certain regions of the world by increasing national income or through other value-added profit activities. However, globalization can also be detrimental to cultural independence. Globalization will be a major theme in later units of this course.

Page Navigating Our Global Future

Watch this video on globalization.

File Geoinquiry: Understanding Globalization

This exercise gives perspectives on how globalization is affecting the world. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

Page Mapping the Future of Countries

Watch this video on the past, present, and future of country borders.

Page Why Societies Collapse

Watch this video about some of the theories on what can cause societies to collapse.

File Geoinquiry: The Human Development Index

In this exercise, you will explore the HDI, what it is, and how it is used. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

MapCheck: Europe Page Map of Europe
2.1: Introducing Europe URL Introducing the Realm: Europe

This section introduces Europe's major physical characteristics, including its climate, landforms, and natural resources. It also explores how Europe's physical geography has supported its cultural and economic development.

File Geoinquiry: The First European Industrial Revolution

In this exercise, you will explore the first industrial revolution and how it affected Europe. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

2.2: Historical Development Patterns URL Historical Development Patterns

This section introduces the history of Europe and discusses how various cultures like the Roman Empire contributed to European development. It also explores how European colonialism influenced other countries, and how cultural forces can positively and negatively influence politics.

File Geoinquiry: Early European Exploration

In this exercise, you will take a look at early European exploration. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

File Geoinquiry: The Reformation

In this exercise, you will explore the effects of the Reformation on the countries and people of Europe. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

2.3: Regions of Western Europe URL Regions of Western Europe
This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the regions in Western Europe.
Page Imagine a European Democracy Without Borders

In this video, the former prime minister of Greece discusses the Greek economic crisis and the need for Europeans to re-engage in a new democratic bargain.

Page Why Brexit Happened – and What to Do Next

Watch this video, which examines why the citizens of the United Kingdom voted for Brexit in 2016 to leave the European Union and discusses post-Brexit steps toward a more inclusive world.

2.4: Eastern Europe URL Eastern Europe

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the regions in Eastern Europe, including the former Soviet republics.

Page On Bulgaria and Its Future

Watch this video, which discusses Bulgaria's economy, education, and society.

MapCheck: Russia Page Map of Russia
3.1: Introducing Russia URL Introducing the Realm: Russia

This section introduces the physical and cultural characteristics of Russia and explores its history, including the creation of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union and how issues of ethnic diversity were handled under both regimes. It also explores some of the environmental problems that Russia experiences today.

File Geoinquiry: Russian Expansion to the Sea

In this exercise, you will explore Russia's expansion from 1553 to 1914. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

3.2: The USSR and the Russian Federation URL The USSR and the Russian Federation

This section introduces the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the major cultural and economic tenets of a socialist economy. It also explores why the USSR eventually collapsed.

Page What the Russian Revolution Would Have Looked Like on Social Media

Watch this video, which examines the Russian Revolution of 1917 from a digital and social media perspective.

Page Wry Photos That Turn Stereotypes Upside Down

Watch this video, which gives a glimpse into Russian youth culture.

3.3: Regions of Russia URL Regions of Russia

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the major cities in Russia's regions, including its core and its eastern frontier. It also explores the reasons behind the Chechen-Russian conflict and why Russia invaded Georgia in 2008.

MapCheck: North America Page Map of North America
4.1: Introducing North America URL Introducing the Realm: North America

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of North America and discusses how three European countries significantly influenced its development. It also explores the population distribution of the United States and Canada.

Page Santa Ana Winds

Watch this explanation of the Santa Ana winds, when they occur, and why they are so fast and dry.

Page Sea Breeze and Land Breeze

Watch this video on the origin of sea and land breezes.

File Geoinquiry: North American Landforms

In this exercise, you will explore various landforms in North America. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

4.2: United States: Early Development and Globalization URL United States: Early Development and Globalization

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the United States. It also takes a look at the origin of the geographic boundaries of the United States, its historical migration patterns, urbanization, the development of its transportation infrastructure, the concept of the "American Dream", and globalization.

Page Hamilton versus Madison and the Birth of American Partisanship

Watch this video, which explains how and why partisanship exists in the U.S. government.

File Geoinquiry: Westward, Ho!

In this exercise, you will examine the westward emigration of the American population during the 1800s. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

Page How the U.S. Should Use Its Superpower Status

Watch this video, which explores how the United States could lead by example rather than by force.

File Geoinquiry: Steel and the Birth of a City

In this exercise, you will explore the growth of steel in the United States. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

4.3: United States: Population and Religion URL United States: Population and Religion

This section gives an in-depth analysis of the current demographic profile of the United States, including the reasons behind the regional distribution of religious affiliations in the country. It also explores the concepts of a "cultural melting pot" and the "American Dream".

File Geoinquiry: U.S.A. Demographics

In this exercise, you will examine the population distribution across the United States. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

4.4: Canada URL Canada

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of Canada and analyzes why it has both English- and French-speaking regions. It also exploree how the Canadian and American economies are interrelated.

4.5: Regions of the United States and Canada URL Regions of the United States and Canada

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the regions of the United States and Canada and discusses their significant populations of minority groups. It also explores how North America's physical geography contributes to its economic activity.

Page New York – Before the City

Watch this video where Eric Sanderson explores the origins of New York City.

5.1: Introducing Middle America URL Introducing the Realm: Middle America

This reading introduces the physical and cultural characteristics of Middle America and explores how European colonialism impacted and influenced this region, including Spanish influence in urban developments.

5.2: Mexico URL Mexico

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of Mexico and explores how the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and maquiladoras have influenced economic and employment situations in Mexico. It also explores how drug cartels are integrated into the Mexican economy.

Page The Dead Zone of the Gulf of Mexico

The "dead zone" is an area where there isn't enough oxygen in the water to support life. Watch this video, which explores the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico and what we can do to reverse it.

Page The Deadly Genius of Drug Cartels

Watch this video, which describes and explains the violence of the drug cartels in Mexico.

5.3: Central America URL Central America

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of Central America, and explores how the United States has influenced Central America both economically and culturally.

File Geoinquiry: Latin American Independence

In this exercise, you will explore the factors that led to the independence movement in Latin American colonies. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

5.4: The Caribbean URL The Caribbean

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the countries in the Caribbean, including Cuba. It also explores how colonialism shaped culture and politics in the region.

Page World-Class Healthcare

Watch this video, which explains how to offer world-class healthcare in the developing world.

5.5: Hurricanes URL Tropical Cyclones (Hurricanes)

This section discusses the origin, development, and physical characteristics of hurricanes.

Page Hurricanes

Watch this video to witness the power and danger of hurricanes, typhoons, and tropical cyclones.

File Geoinquiry: Tropical Storms

In this exercise, you will explore the growth and path of hurricanes through the Atlantic. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

Page How a Team of Chefs Fed Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

Watch this video, which describes how a team of chefs helped in the aftermath of the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017.

MapCheck: South America Page Map of South America
6.1: Introducing South America URL Introducing the Realm: South America

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of South America and explores how colonial domination influenced cultural differences and similarities across the region.

6.2: Urban North and Andean West URL Urban North and Andean West

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the Urban North and Andean West regions of South America, including Colombia and Paraguay. It also reviews the three main export products of Colombia and the role the United States plays in their export.

File Geoinquiry: The Beagle's Path

In this exercise, you will follow the the journey of Charles Darwin aboard the HMS Beagle, which eventually took him to the Galapagos Islands, where he formed his theory of evolution and natural selection. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

6.3: Brazil URL Brazil

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of Brazil and analyzes its ethnically diverse composition. It also explores the development and exploitation of the Amazon Basin.

Page The Boiling River of the Amazon

Conservation efforts and great wonders are yet to be discovered in Brazil. Watch this video, which describes the Amazon, a river that boils as if a fire burns below it.

Page The Coolest Animal You Know Nothing About and How to Save It

The tapir is one of the world's largest land animals. Watch this video, which discusses their survival.

File Geoinquiry: Tropical Deforestation

In this exercise, you will look at deforestation trends and patterns. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

6.4: The Southern Cone URL The Southern Cone

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the region known as the Southern Cone, which includes Argentina and Chile. It also explores the pattern of immigration that created the region's heritage.


MapCheck: Sub-Saharan Africa Page Map of Africa
7.1: Introducing Sub-Saharan Africa URL Introducing the Realm: Sub-Saharan Africa

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the nations of Sub-Saharan Africa, including the African Transition Zone. It also explores how early kingdoms flourished in Sub-Saharan Africa before to the colonial era, analyzes the effects of European colonialism in Africa, and discusses the significance of the Berlin Conference.

Page The Powerful Stories That Shaped Africa

Watch this video, which gives a sweeping history of Africa and explores an ancient city whose origins and advanced architecture continue to confound archeologists. It also discusses Mansa Musa, the ruler of the Mali Empire whose vast wealth built the legendary libraries of Timbuktu.

File Geoinquiry: Africa's Bounty and Borders

In this exercise, you will study the reasons for European colonization in Africa. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

File Geoinquiry: African Independence

In this exercise, you will explore the chronology of African independence. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

7.2: Human Geography of Sub-Saharan Africa URL Human Geography of Subsaharan Africa

This section analyzes the human geography of Sub-Saharan Africa and explores the relationship among family size, urbanization rates, and income levels. It also covers the diversity of languages and religions in the region, identifies areas that have experienced recent civil war and political conflict, studies the geographical pattern of HIV infection, and discusses why it is difficult to contain and prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS.

Page The Age-Old Sharing Economies of Africa and Why We Should Scale Them

Measuring job growth in the Africa has geographic significance. Watch this video, which discusses Africa's sharing economy.

Page How Farming Could Employ Africa's Young Workforce

Watch this video, which discusses how opportunities in agriculture could employ Africa's young workforce and help build peace.

7.3: West Africa URL West Africa

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the nations of West Africa. It also explores how family size and economic activities in the region relate to its population growth.

Page A Tour of Nollywood, Nigeria's Booming Film Industry

Watch this video, which describes Nigeria's film industry.

Page Filming Democracy in Ghana

Watch this video, which discusses lessons about democracy learned from filming the 2008 elections in Ghana.

7.4: Central Africa URL Central Africa

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the nations of Central Africa, discusses the role of women in the region, and outlines some of the region's major conflicts.

7.5: East Africa URL East Africa

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the nations of East Africa, including Somalia. It also explores the region's vibrant ecosystem.

7.6: Southern Africa URL Southern Africa

This section  introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the nations of Sub-Saharan Africa. It also explores the role that ethnicity plays in the region's politics, and analyzes apartheid's cultural and economic effect on South Africa.

MapCheck: North Africa and Southwest Asia Page Map of North Africa and Southwest Asia
8.1: Introducing North Africa and Southwest Asia URL Introducing the Realm: North Africa and Southwest Asia

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the nations of North Africa and Southwest Asia. It also explores the effects of the Arab Spring in 2011.

Page The Attitudes That Sparked Arab Spring

Watch this video, which discusses the attitudes and hopes of the people of Egypt before the Arab Spring, and the role that women have played in initiating change.

File Geoinquiry: Cradles of Civilization

In this exercise, you will explore the early river valley civilizations. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

8.2: Muhammad and Islam URL Muhammad and Islam

This section introduces the life of Muhammad and the origins of Islam. It also identifies, compares, and contrasts the three major monotheistic religions in North Africa and Southwest Asia, and discusses how fundamentalism has influenced the debate around religious and secular states.

Page Faith versus Tradition in Islam

Watch this video, which describes cultural practices and the Islamic faith.

8.3: North Africa and the African Transition Zone URL North Africa and the African Transition Zone

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the nations of North Africa and the African Transition Zone. It also explores the unique geographic qualities of the Maghreb and its connection to Europe.

Page The Sahel

Watch this video, which explains what makes the climate of the Sahel a transition zone.

Page A Young Poet Tells the Story of Darfur

Watch this video, which gives a stirring account of one person's escape from genocide in Darfur.

8.4: Israel and Its Neighbors URL Israel and Its Neighbors

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of Israel and its neighbors, including the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. It explores the region's history, how Palestine became the Jewish state of Israel, and the complications of the one-state and two-state proposals.

8.5: The Arabian Peninsula URL The Arabian Peninsula

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the countries of the Arabian Peninsula. It also explores the status of women’s rights in each country.

Page Globalizing the Local, Localizing the Global

Watch this video, which describes how a country's art and culture promote cultural identity and allow the country to express its unique identity to the world.

8.6: Iraq, Turkey, and Iran URL Iraq, Turkey, and Iran

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of Iraq, Turkey, and Iran. It also explores the reasons behind the Persian Gulf War and the Iraq War in 2003, and why the European Union has not accepted Turkey's application to become a full member of the EU.

8.7: Central Asia and Afghanistan URL Central Asia and Afghanistan

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of Afghanistan and the nations of Central Asia. It explores how the region has transitioned from being in the sphere of the USSR to independence, and how it has adapted to the new economic environment. It also studies Afghanistan's geopolitical history, the challenges of creating a centralized government, and the continuing conflict between Western military forces and the Taliban.

MapCheck: South Asia Page Map of South Asia
9.1: Introducing South Asia URL Introducing the Realm: South Asia

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the nations of South Asia, the dynamics of the monsoon, and how it affects human activities. It also explores how European colonialism has affected the region culturally and politically.

Page A Mind-Shifting Everest Swim

Watch this video, which describes the experience of swimming in a lake on Mount Everest that was formed by glacial ice melt.

Page The Indian Monsoon

Watch this video for a brief explanation of what creates the Indian monsoon.

9.2: The Peripheral States of South Asia URL The Peripheral States of South Asia

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the peripheral regions and states of South Asia, including Kashmir, Bhutan, and Nepal, and explores the environmental challenges that afflict the region.

9.3: Pakistan and Bangladesh URL Pakistan and Bangladesh

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of Pakistan and Bangladesh, and explores why East Pakistan became the country of Bangladesh.

9.4: India URL India

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of India, and explores how British colonialism has affected India.

Page East versus West – the Myths that Mystify

Watch this video, which explores different beliefs about gods, death, and heaven in India.

Page The Rise of Cricket, the Rise of India

Watch this video, where one of cricket's premier commentators describes the emergence of fast-paced 20-20 cricket, a global phenomenon that parallels the rise of modern India.

Page We Can Be Buddhas

Watch this video on Buddhism and compassion.

9.5: Religions of India and South Asia URL Religions of India and South Asia

This section introduces the major religions of India and South Asia: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, and Christianity.

MapCheck: East Asia Page Map of East Asia
10.1: Introducing East Asia URL Introducing the Realm: East Asia

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the nations of East Asia. It explores China's objectives for building the Three Gorges Dam spanning the Yangtze River, and the effect of colonialism on Chinese culture.

File Geoinquiry: The Silk Roads, Then and Now

In this exercise, you will explore the silk trade routes across Asia. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

10.2: Emerging China URL Emerging China

This section introduces the cultural and economic characteristics of China. It also explores the One Child Only Policy and its effect on Chinese culture.

Page Understanding the Rise of China

Watch this video, which examines why Western leaders and policymakers often puzzle over the growing power of the Chinese economy.

Page A Tale of Two Political Systems

Watch this video, where a Chinese investor and political scientist considers more than one way to run a successful modern nation.

Page The Generation That’s Remaking China

Watch this video, which describes how a new generation of Chinese citizens are transforming China.

10.3: China's Periphery URL China's Periphery

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of China's peripheral regions, including Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Taiwan, Mongolia, and Tibet. It explore the challenges Tibet has experienced becoming an autonomous region of China, and why the Chinese government values these peripheral regions.

10.4: Japan, North Korea, and South Korea URL Japan, North Korea, and South Korea

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of Japan, North Korea, and South Korea.

Page Ring of Fire

Watch this video on the Ring of Fire, where it is, and why it exists.

Page Weird or Just Different?

Watch this video, which discusses the value in learning to think differently.

Page Escape from North Korea

Watch this video, where someone who defected from North Korea describes living in China and South Korea.

Page What I Learned as a Prisoner in North Korea

Watch this video to learn about one documentarian's experience living in a North Korean detention center.

MapCheck: Southeast Asia Page Map of Southeast Asia
11.1: Introducing Southeast Asia URL Introducing the Realm: Southeast Asia

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the nations of Southeast Asia and explores China's influence on the region.

11.2: The Mainland Countries URL The Mainland Countries

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the mainland countries of Southeast Asia: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand. It also explores the effect of civil war and division on Vietnam.

Page An Immigration Story

Watch this video, which recounts an immigrant's journey to begin a new life away from her home in Vietnam.

Page Escaping the Khmer Rouge

Watch this video, which describes one person's escape from Cambodia during the rule of the Khmer Rouge.

Page Why Great Architecture Should Tell a Story

Watch this video, where an architect based Southeast Asia discusses why architects should design buildings as collective and collaborative spaces that promote stories designed for the people who live and work there.

11.3: The Islands of Southeast Asia URL The Insular Region

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the islands of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Singapore, and the Philippines.

Page Life That Doesn't End With Death

Watch this video, which describes how large, raucous funerals are at the center of social life in Indonesia.

MapCheck: Australia and New Zealand Page Map of Australia and New Zealand


12.1: Introducing Australia and New Zealand URL Introducing the Realm: Australia and New Zealand

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of Australia and New Zealand, and discusses how colonialism affected the indigenous Maori and Aboriginal populations. It also explores how isolation fostered their high levels of biodiversity.

12.2: Australia URL Australia

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of Australia.

Page A Shark Deterrent Wetsuit

Western Australia continues to have a problem with shark attacks, as incidents of shark engagements on humans escalate worldwide. Watch this video where Hamish Jolly, an Australian ocean swimmer, discusses an innovative wetsuit he designed to prevent sharks from mistaking him for food.

12.3: New Zealand URL New Zealand

This reading introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of New Zealand.

File Geoinquiry: Ocean Features

In this exercise, you will explore ocean features and where they came from. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

MapCheck: The Pacific and Antarctica Page Map of The Pacific
Page Map of Antarctica
13.1: The Pacific Islands URL The Pacific Islands

This section introduces the physical, cultural, and economic characteristics of the Pacific islands, including Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia. It also discusses which islands are still influenced by France, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States.

Page My Country Will Be Underwater Soon Unless We Work Together

Kiribati is a low-lying Pacific island nation that is experiencing rising sea levels. Watch this video, where the former president of Kiribati discusses climate change and his country's fate.

13.2: Antarctica URL Antarctica

This section introduces the physical characteristics of the Antarctic and discusses the political struggles surrounding Antarctica and the international community. It also discusses the effect climate change has had on Antarctica.

Page To the South Pole and Back

Watch this video, where a polar explorer recounts an expedition in Antarctica, which is the coldest, windiest, and highest-altitude continent on the planet.

Page Discovering Ancient Climates in Oceans and Ice

Watch this video, which describes how ancient corals and sediments affect the changing Antarctic ecosystem.

Page How We Look Kilometers Below the Antarctic Ice Sheet

Watch this video, where a radio glaciologist describes what ice-penetrating radar from a flight high above Antarctica can teach us about sea levels.

File Geoinquiry: Climate Change

In this exercise, you will explore climate change around the world. Follow the instructions and answer the questions in this document.

Course Feedback Survey URL Course Feedback Survey