The five themes of Geography


Staff member
Jun 3, 2020
The five themes of Geography is an educational tool for an easy and effective way to teach Geography. It was adopted in 1984 by American Association of Geographers and replaced by 1994 National Geographical Standards. However, it still represents a useful way to teach kids about Geography.

What are the five themes of Geography?
The following are the five themes of Geography:
  • Location
  • Place
  • Human-Environment Interaction
  • Movement
  • Region

The first theme is Location, which can be described in 2 ways: Absolute location and Relative location.
  • Absolute location - a location as described by its latitude and longitude on Earth
  • Relative location - a location as described by its relative position to some other location

The second theme is Place, which differs from the location as it describes the physical characteristics instead of its physical location. The following are the features of a place:
  • Toponym - the name of a place derived from a topographical feature
  • Site - an area of ground on which a town, building, or monument is constructed
  • Situation - the location of a place as described by its surroundings
  • Population - the number of people living in a place

Human-Environment Interaction
The third theme is Human-Environment Interaction, which describes how humans adapt to and change their environments to suit their needs. The humans don't just live in a suitable place like animals do, but they create colonies, construct houses, start irrigation, develop paths for transportation etc. There are 3 key concepts to define Human-Environment Interaction:
  • Dependency - Humans depend on the environment
  • Adaptation - Humans adapt to the environment
  • Modification - Humans modify the environment

The fourth theme is Migration and Movement, which describes the way human populations move across the world. The movement allows the transfer of people, goods and ideas across the world. The advancement of technology effectively reduces the cost and time involved in the movement.

The final theme is region, which is an area with distinctive characteristics. The humans break up a geographical area into manageable pieces based on the physical characteristics, human characteristics, demographics or politics. The regions are comprehensive Geographical, Cultural, or Political divisions of the areas.


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