This year my three teenagers have been using Brenda Runkle’s ‘World Physical Geography’, this is the first time we have used a formal approach to geography. As Koala has just finished the program (she has crammed a year’s program into 6 months) I have interviewed her as my guest poster:)
Welcome Koala:) I’d like to ask you some questions about your World Physical geography studies, thank you for taking the time to answer.
Was this program written as a text book or a living book?
It wasn’t a text book in the dry sense of the word, but more a living book with text questions. Each chapter had revision questions throughout that recalled the information, and occasionally asked questions from previous chapters . It was written in a very interesting way.
Did you learn much?
I kept finding after I had completed a lesson that the subject would come up in ordinary conversation and I would understand what was being talked about. I became aware of how geography is not just a ‘subject’ but part of everyday living.
What books did this program include beside the text book?
There was also a teachers’ guide and a student activity workbook. The teacher’s guide had interesting tests to complete after each chapter, as well as the answers. (Mum appreciated having the answers with three students)
I didn’t use the student activity workbook but it included mapwork activities that were separate to the text.
Was the book World focused?
No, it was written from an American perspective, when examples were needed North American events were generally used. The amount of information was heavier for North America, for example when studying rivers there were 7 pages for North America, 4 for Sth America, 6 for Africa and Asia together, 5 for Europe whereas Australia had only 1 page and there was no mention of other Oceania countries such as New Zealand.
What type of information was covered?
The text was Earth Science focused. I learnt about the different ‘spheres. The lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. How landforms, volcanoes, the Ring of Fire, mountains and the Alps were formed. About rivers and oceans, in particular the Pacific Ocean.
I learnt about deserts, agriculture, dustbowls, erosion, terracing, ploughing and plants.
How much focus was on continents/countries?
The continents were summed up at the beginning, where they were. Throughout the book places of interest mentioned such as The Ring of Fire and the Alps were shown on maps. however there was an expectation you already knew about continents and countries. There was an assumption you knew the American states.
Would you recommend this book to other students?
Definitely. Excellent book for grade 6 through highschool. I learnt so much:)
*A few extras I’d like to add, had Koala used the student activity book she would have found lots of mapwork activities to do.
There were many hands on activities in the geography text (At 16 Koala chose not to do them)
The author, Brenda Runkle, is delightful and totally approachable.
I found this program extremely thorough and was very impressed with its inclusion of information, tests and hands on activities.
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