As regular readers know, in addition to teaching mainstream English classes and to Beginning and Intermediate English Language Learners, I also teach a Geography class to ELLs (as well as an IB Theory of Knowledge class).
I thought it might be useful to create a “The Best” list just focused on Geography games as a supplement to these other lists:
The Best Websites For Learning & Teaching Geography
Here are my choices for The Best Online Geography Games:
Scribble States is fun. Players have to “connect the dots” with a virtual pencil, and then have to answer a multiple-choice question about which state (in the United States) they just drew. And the whole thing is timed, to boot!
Placespotting is number four. Students are shown a spot on the map, and given a series of riddles to help them determine what it is. All these geographic riddles are user-generated, and students can create their own, too.
GeoGuessr shows you an image from Google Street View, along with a map of the world. You click on the map indicating where you think the photo might be from, and then you’re shown the actual location. You’re given points based on how close your guess was to the original location.
The concept is similar to a number of other games, but GeoGuessr seems particularly well-designed. If played by a whole class with a computer projector, it could be particularly useful pressing students to identify clues in the image. And when you’re shown the actual location on the map, the names of many countries are shown, so it can be a good reinforcement activity.
See Richard Byrne’s update on GeoGuessr changes.
You can play and/or create geography games at Purpose Games.
Sheppard Software is a great place to send students when we’re beginning to learn about a new part of the world. They have multiple games that students seem to enjoy.
GR8CTZ — Great Cities of the World challenges you to guess which cities you’re seeing in Google Street View. It has different difficulty levels.
LocateStreet is a similar game using Street View. One nice feature is that it offers clues.
Earth-Picker is a new online geography games that’s somewhat similar to other ones using Google Street View that can be found on this list. You’re shown a location and have to identify on a map where you think it is in the world. You’re told how close you are, and how your guess compares to the ones made by other players.
At Quiz Geo, you can easily create your own geography game as well as play ones created by others. It didn’t seem to work for me on Firefox, though, and I could only play it on the Google Chrome Browser.
Class Tools lets you easily create a Map “treasure hunt” with no registration necessary.
Spacehopper is a new online game that isn’t easy but, after showing you a Google Street View image of a location, provides clues that make it less difficult. You’re shown a map with various dots on it, as well as the map outline of the country. After three guesses, you’re given the answer along with information on the location.
Smarty Pins is a new online geography game from Google. It’s similar to some of the better ones on this list — you’re asked a question, provided a hint, and then have to put a “pin” on your guess for the answer. One of the nice things I found — at least, in the questions that I answered — is that you’re only shown the region of the world where the answer can be found.
The View From Above is a fun geography game using satellite images
Traveling The World is an online geography game from Air France that works like a sort of scavenger hunt. You’ve got to register in order to play it, but it takes seconds and, like me, you can log in with a fake name and made-up email address quickly.
Earth-Picker is a new online geography game that works similar to a number of other games on this list.
TIME has created a neat new game called “Can You Draw The States?” You’re prompted to draw a state. Once you’re done, you’re graded on how well you did and it’s put on a blank U.S. map so you can ultimately see your complete work. In some ways, it’s similar to an older game called Scribble States.
My Name Is Hunt uses maps, but is also a text-based “choose your own adventure” style of game (see more of them at The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories). It’s only accessible to advanced English Language Learners, but definitely is unusual.
urbanopticon is a game that incorporates the idea of “citizen science.” Here is how they explain it:
This game will show you randomly selected urban scenes and ask you where they are. In so doing, we capture your mental map – that is, which parts of the city you tend to correctly recognize. By combining your answers with other people’s, we are able to draw the collective mental map of the city. The collective map is important because it is associated with happiness. In his “The image of the city”, Kevin Lynch showed that the happiest areas are those that are easily recognized and, as such, are prominent in people’s minds. By knowing which areas are difficult to recognize, we are able to recommend urban interventions to different stakeholders, including local government, urban planners and artists.
Where In the World Looks like a very good game for students. Here is its description:
Play the game to explore country landmarks all over the world, from royal palaces to historical attractions. See if you can figure out where in the world you are!
Game On! is a Quizziz/Kahoot-like game that is primarily, though not exclusively, focused on Geography. I learned about it from the Teacher’s Tech Toolbox. I was having some issues with it when I tried it out, but I assume it was just a temporary glitch.
Thanks to blog reader Eric, I’ve learned about a new online geography game called Zoomtastic. In the game, you’re first shown a “close-in” shot of a section of a country, and then it gradually “zooms-out.” You’re given a few choices, and have to pick one. You can use various clues, including place names on the map.
Seterra Online has tons of Geography games. They’ve recently added a new fabulous feature to their interactives – now, anyone – without registering – can turn any of their games/quizzes into custom ones and share its unique url address. All you have to do is click on the “Create Custom Quiz” link at the top of each of their interactives. What a great assignment for students to do!
Where on Google Earth is Carmen Sandiego? is a fun new game from Google. You travel around the world to famous landmarks and interview “witnesses.” It’s pretty accessible, and I think would work for Intermediate English Language Learners in a Geography class.
Let me know if you think I’ve missed any particularly good geography game sites.
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