I recognized that my students really didn't have a solid understanding of the difference between continents, countries, and cities, and that placing locations geographically on a map was a struggle. I was brainstorming a way for my students to gain a broad overview of all the countries of the world, but knew that I had limited class time (don't we all!). That's when I came up with this idea for a bell ringer.
I also knew that using the internet appropriately for research is a critical skill, and being able to quickly and effectively pull information from a site is important. I also recognized that if my students could pull data from the United Nations Human Development Index, they would be able to identify trends and patterns among countries throughout the world. I also wanted my students to learn important historical information, and geographic features. I put these all components together to create my World Geography Bell Ringer.
By the end of the year, students gain a broad understanding of 200+ countries, territories, and special collectives of the world! Students discover facts and use the internet to research important data about a different country every day (5 days a week). This resource covers both physical and human geography.
I love that this bell ringer can not only be used as an entry task or warm up, but it can serve as a daily mini lesson, or a task for early finishers. This journal works great as group work, an independent study, or a station activity.
This bell ringer spans 40 weeks. I decided to organize countries by continent for easy implementation. Plus, this resource is EDITABLE, because I know that our classes vary and our needs are not all the same. Because I made this editable, the questions can be added, deleted, or changed to meet different curriculum needs.
Here's the breakdown for each continent.
I've included a map of each continent, so students can color in the country as they go.
Africa = 11 Weeks
Asia = 10 Weeks
Europe = 10 Weeks
North America/Central America = 5 Weeks
South America = 2.5 Weeks
Oceania = 2 Weeks
Topics within this journal include:
Location on the map
Human Development Index Ranking (HDI)
Gini Rank (wealth distribution)
GDP (per capita)
Total Fertility Rate (TFR)
Adult Literacy Rate
Expected Years of Schooling
Mean Years in School
Access to Clean Water
Historical Dates of Importance
Dates of Independence
My intent for this resource was for my students to gain a broad understanding of the world, by using the internet to research and learn about a new country every day. With daily implementation, students notice specific trends as they analyze each country--the data speaks for itself. In order to cover as many countries as this resource includes, it is not feasibly possible to cover every key historical moment, or every data point for every country.
You can try this out in your classroom with a free week sample:
When I first introduce this bell ringer, I start by modeling how to use the UN Human Development Index website. The resource link is provided on the student info sheet, so students can easily navigate to the site. To find the flag and determine the country, use the Countries Profile page.
Then students can click on the country and use the HDI information to answer the questions. Some of the questions will require students to research using an online encyclopedia. I like to use Britannica Online. I model how to navigate the websites. I show students how to look for and read titles to quickly find information. They do not need to read every paragraph of the encyclopedia. This skill is an important one, and takes time to learn how to do quickly and effectively. After I had modeled this process for a week or two, I release my students to do this on their own.
Different Ways to Implement:
Print a complete journal for each student and spiral bind or place in a binder. Complete one country each day. Complete the reflection section at the end of the week. Divider sheets with maps are included for each continent for easy organization. Students can also label the countries on the map along the way.
OR Print specific continents/pages that match your curriculum (example, if you are studying European history, just focus on Europe.)
Need to save on printing or ink? Don’t print the pages—instead, display the page for the whole class using your projector. Complete as a class, or rotate students to help with the research. Choose a new student(s) each day to research the data and share their findings with the whole class.
I don't have a color printer. How will my students view the flags?
If you don’t have a color printer, you can display the specific page under a document camera or use your projector to display the page for the whole class. If you open up the file in the EDITABLE version, these are PowerPoint files. You can view the specific page as a slide show. You can also simply display the PDF version, and simply zoom in on the part of the page you wish your students to complete.
Where should my students go for information?
This resource includes a “Research Tips” page for your students. This resource will involve using the internet for research. Your students can gather information from encyclopedias online or an atlas. Many countries have websites. Travel sites have good information too. Your students will NEED to access the Human Development Reports for data, and will need to get online to get the latest GDP numbers. A link to this website is included in this file.
I don’t have a class set of computers for research. How do I implement?
No problem! Rotate students each day. Have one (or several) students use the computer to research the data and then share with the entire class. You can also implement this as a daily mini-lesson instead.
Can I try this with my students before purchasing?
Yes! To access a FREE one week sample, to try before you buy, click here: