Praxis Elementary Education Exam—Geography - dummies

By Carla C. Kirkland, Chan Cleveland

Geography helps us understand the Earth and our place on it. Geography questions in the Social Studies section of the Praxis Elementary Education exam cover the following basic geographical ideas:

  • Physical factors affect cultural factors. In other words, natural resources affect human civilization. Greece developed differently than Russia, in large part because of the different terrain.
  • Everything changes, and it changes all the time. Merely by existing in a region, people bring change to the region. The region also changes them, both physically and culturally.
  • Humans manipulate the environment to fit their needs. Controlled burning of forests and the damming of rivers are basic examples of how man changes the environment to better suit the needs of a community.

While many may question the need to know geography with maps and technology available to guide us, there are many ways that the study of geography helps students, including

  • Discovering how different regions help create different cultures
  • Explaining how historical conditions, such as colonialism, land ownership, and economics, affect humanity and its cultures
  • Understanding how humans adapt to environmental stresses, such as climate or soil fertility, and create architecture, clothing, and food
  • Explaining how technology and the use of tools affect the environment
  • Discussing the purpose of human migrations, in terms of political, economic, physical, and/or cultural factors, both locally and internationally
  • Discussing the similarities and differences of world regions

In essence, geography helps explain the Earth and its inhabitants, how they interact with each other, and what can result from that interaction.

Practice question

  1. Which of the following is NOT an example of the probable impact of humans on the environment?
    A. a rise in solar activity
    B. a loss of coral reefs
    C. a rise in sea levels
    D. a loss of species

Answer and explanation

  1. The correct answer is Choice (A).
    Solar flares are related to the sun’s magnetic field. Between human activities and climate change (rising ocean temperatures), less than half the world’s coral reefs are considered to be healthy. In addition to melting icecaps, rising ocean temperatures lead to the rise of sea levels. Most scientists tend to agree that the extinction rate has been accelerated because of humankind.