The 5 Themes of Geography: Place

Contributor: Hallah Elbeleidy. Lesson ID: 10413

You might be so used to living in your city or town that you don't think it's very special. Visitors might think it's great! Examine what makes locations unique, and try to get people to visit yours!


United States

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Seattle, nicknamed The Emerald City, is located on Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest. It is surrounded by water, mountains, and evergreen forests and encompasses thousands of acres of parkland.

The metropolitan area is home to a thriving tech industry, with Microsoft and Amazon headquartered there.

  • So what are you waiting for?

Plan your visit today!

  • What makes a city unique — one that you'd like to visit?

One of the major themes of geography is place.

Place refers to the natural and human features of a specific or general location.

Human features refer to characteristics of the environment created by humans, like the NYC skyline.

Natural features refer to the characteristics of a geographic region that humans did not create, such as the Rocky Mountains.

The term place refers to an area having unique physical and human characteristics. No two places are exactly alike, so place geography focuses on what makes a place unique.

In the Related Lesson on movement, found in the right-hand sidebar, you examined people's movement from one place to another.

Look at the map below, which shows the largest ancestry populations in every county in America. It was compiled using data from the 2000 Census.

  • What do you see?

Census 2000 Top US Ancestries by County

The census is a systematic procedure to collect and record information about the members of a given population. This is the federal government's way of keeping track of everyone in the country. This information is public and accessible to everyone.

The New York Times Mapping Segregation is another resource that allows you to examine racial segregation in 13 major U.S. cities in greater detail.

  • Why would people move to one place over another?

Because of its natural features.

First, review From Sea to Shining Sea: Introduction to familiarize yourself with the U.S.'s major features. Then, play Find the Feature to test what you learned!

These features are some factors that make a place unique.

Watch the video below for an excellent overview of how the United States' physical geography influenced the placement and expansion of early settlements. Write down ten facts that you find most interesting in this video.

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The tourism industry's advertisements capture place geography well because they aim to sell you on the place.

Watch these commercials to understand better how human and physical features are captured for the city of Seattle.

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These videos examine different features and aspects of Seattle, giving viewers a sense of what makes this region unique.

Travel to the Got It? section to examine your community's unique features!

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