Contributor: Meghan Vestal. Lesson ID: 12186

Has your family moved from one location to another? Where were your socks made? How do reporters know what's happening around the world? What do these questions have in common? A theme of geography!



learning style
personality style
Lion, Beaver
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5), Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!


Pretend someone in California began manufacturing new purple pants. The pants are an instant success in California. Two years later, people all throughout the world are wearing the same purple pants. How did this trend spread from California to the rest of the world?

So far, you have learned more than half of the themes of geography.

If you missed a Related Lesson or want a refresher on location, place, or human-environment interactions, check out the right-hand sidebar.

Before you begin learning about the fourth theme of geography, take some time to review what you have learned using this quiz. If you are having difficulty answering any of the questions, make sure to go back and review the previous Related Lessons in this series, Themes of Geography, before moving forward.

It’s time to investigate the fourth theme of geography: movement! When you hear that term, you are likely thinking about how and why people move from one location to another. While human movement is included in this geographical theme, there are many other types of movement that are also included. "Movement" is described as the mobility of people, goods, and ideas across the surface of the Earth.

The movement of people is the most obvious form of movement associated with this theme of geography. People have different reasons for moving. For example, some early Native American tribes moved to follow their food source, the buffalo. In the 1800s, Americans began moving west to begin farming new land and to search for gold. Today, people move for careers, to be closer to family, and to neighborhoods they think will be safer for their family.

  • Has your family ever moved? 
  • If so, what was their reason for moving?

The movement of goods and services has become increasingly more common in the twenty-first century. This is because few people create their own resources or grow their own food. Food and resources must come from different locations all over the world. For example, the avocados you eat may come from Mexico. The shirt you are wearing may have been made in China. When you order goods online, such as clothes and electronics, those items must travel to you from the location where they are made. Look at a piece of clothing or furniture in your home or learning space. Try to locate a tag that says “Made in…” That means that good had to travel from that country to get to you.

The movement of ideas and innovations has also been growing in the twenty-first century thanks to technology. In the beginning of the lesson, you were asked how the trend of wearing purple pants could spread from California to the rest of the world. Today, ideas can spread many ways. For example, someone may post a picture of the pants on social media, where it can be seen by people all around the world. The pants could also be featured on a television show that is watched by people around the world. Communication through telephone, text message, email, and video messaging, also enables us to discuss the things we are interested in with family and friends.

  • What is a trend that you are into right now? 

It can be a certain type of clothing or a television show in which you are interested.

  • How did you learn about that trend? 
  • What is a trend you have shared with your friends or family?

As you can see, movement occurs in many different ways. Tell your teacher or parent about the different types of movement.

Then, move on to the Got It? section to watch a video about this geographical theme.

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