By Michael Foster
Minnesota Department of Education
Geography is the science of space and place on the Earth's surface. It is an integrative discipline that brings together the physical and human dimensions of our world.
Geography's subject matter is the spatial arrangement of the physical and human phenomena that make up the world's environments and gives character to places, large and small. Geography describes the changing patterns of places in words, maps, numbers and graphics and explains how these patterns come to be.
Geography captures the imagination. It stimulates curiosity about the world and the world's diverse inhabitants and places, as well as about local regions and global issues. It enables us to understand our home by opening windows to the rest of the world.
To be successful contributors to a democratic society, all individuals need to have an understanding of geography-the spatial context of people, places and environments on Earth.
The geographically literate person knows where important things are, why they are located in those places, and the significance of those places. To integrate this knowledge, one also needs to comprehend the nature and significance of the multiple connections between people and places around the world.