In 1984, the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) and the Association of American Geographers (AAG) composed the five themes of geography and outlined them in great detail in a publication entitled "Guidelines for Geographic Education, Elementary and Secondary Schools." The five themes are: Location, Place, Human-Environment Interaction, Movement, and Regions. This article describes each of the five themes of geography and what each theme is about.
Geography Theme #1: Location
The location theme answers the question "Where are we?" Location can be either Relative or Absolute. A relative location is described by direction to the location, its place in time, adjacent landmarks, distance from one place to another and may associate places with each other. An absolute location refers to a specific point on the Earth's surface indicated by latitude and longitude coordinates or by a street address.
Geography Theme #2: Place
The place theme answers the question "What kind of place is it?" May be described by both physical and human characteristics. The physical characteristics of a place include topography, geology, climate and weather patterns, and natural features on the landscape such as mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, deserts, beaches, wildlife, soil types, and more. The human characteristics of a place include man-made features such as towns and cities, farm and agricultural land, roads and railroads, buildings, infrastructure, architecture, cultural habits, and more. Different people form different perceptions of place based on their own experiences and knowledge. This reveals their attitude, values and perceptions of a place.
Geography Theme #3: Human-Environment Interaction
The human-environment interaction theme answers the questions "How do humans and the environment affect one another?" Three key concepts of this theme are how humans adapt to the environment, how humans modify the environment, and how humans depend on the environment. But this theme also seeks to determine what the consequences - positive and negative - of human environment interaction are. For example, what are all the outcomes of damming a river? A reservoir for human use and water consumption is created, but the landscape has also been altered.
Geography Theme #4: Movement
The movement them encompasses the movement of people, goods, and ideas. People interact with one another, exchange goods and services, and exchange ideas. These movements have all played formative and major roles in shaping our world over time. They are particularly important in our current era of globalization, with an ever increasing politically, culturally, and economically globalizing world.
Geography Theme #5: Regions
The regions theme considers the various types of regions. Regions may be formal, functional, or vernacular. A formal region are defined by administrative and governmental boundaries, such as specific sovereign countries. Physical regions also fall under this category. A functional region is defined by its specific function (such as a television network's market coverage area). A vernacular region is a perceived region, loosely defined by the perceptions held by people (such as "the South" as in the U.S. South as a cultural region).