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Thursday, August 6, 2015

How Old is Your Globe?

Just how old is your globe? Does it still show the U.S.S.R.? How about East & West Germany, Yugoslavia, the Federation of Rhodesia, Burma, Ceylon, and the Trucial States? Does it list the cities of Bombay, Peking, and Saigon? If you can find any of these place names on your current globe, it might be time for a new one. The world has changed tremendously in the last fifty or so years and that fact is reflected in our globes.

Entire countries have disappeared while others have sprouted like mushrooms after a good rain. The U.S.S.R. was once the largest country in the world; it spanned eleven of the world's twenty-four time zones! There are now fifteen new nations where it once stood; does your current globe show these countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, or Uzbekistan? Unless you're a dedicated fan of the Olympics, you may never have heard of more than a handful of the most politically active of these countries.

The former Yugoslavia practically turned itself inside out to produce seven new nations. After the bitter conflict in the 1990s, these countries emerged onto the world stage: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia. They are just a few of the many new countries to have premiered in the last fifty years. According to this article, the National Geographic "currently lists 195 independent countries of the world, roughly three-quarters more than we recognized in 1963." That's a lot of change over a relatively short period!

Countries that disappear and reappear, switch identities or rearrange themselves aren't the only reason for the vast increase in the number of countries in the world. Many former colonies are now independent countries in their own right and have joined the other players on the world stage. In fact, the end of the colonial era is the primary reason for the vast growth in the number of nations in the last half of the 20th century.

Sixteen new countries have emerged in Africa alone, along with dozens of other newly independent former colonies in Oceania and the Caribbean. Some of these former colonies seem to have had identity crises: The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland became Zambia and Malawi in 1964 and then became the single nation of Zimbabwe in 1980! There are other countries which have also merged into one; besides the well-known examples of East and West Germany along with North and South Vietnam, did you know there was once a North and South Yemen? How about Tanganyika and Zanzibar? They morphed into Tanzania in 1964 - maybe the best example of how to merge two names into one that represents both nations.

Many other changes to the globe haven't resulted from actual changes to the countries or cities, but rather from how native names have been translated. Ceylon is now Sri Lanka and Burma is Myanmar, Peking became Beijing and Bombay is now Mumbai. Sometimes even seemingly well-established countries can decide they need a change; that's why Canada now has a new territory. Up until 1999, Nunavut was just part of the Northwest Territories and now it's a new territory of its own.
Lest you think that only political names have changed, physical features sometimes need updating as well. The Mariana Trench is the deepest point in the world, but the National Geographic has listed at least five different depths for it since 1966. Even the height of Mount Everest is subject to change - depending on how much snow is included in the measurements! The Aral Sea was once the fourth largest lake in the world, but so much irrigation water was diverted away from the rivers that feed it, that it has shrunk by 90% since the early 1960s. It split into four basins and the eastern basin has completely dried up and is now known as the Aralkum desert!

If your globe is covered with familiar, but outdated names, contact us for an up-to-date version and astonish your friends and family with your knowledge of this new world in which we all live!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Importance of Globes in the Classroom

Globes and maps are a crucial learning tool in a myriad of classes - social studies, geography, and science class, to name a few. Globes help children understand where they live, where other places in the world are located, as well as learning the unique shape of the Earth. Although globes have been used as teaching aids for quite some time, interactive globes have become a mainstay in many elementary classrooms. These interactive globes can electronically identify certain regions and provide relational understanding to many locations. Interactive globes incorporate technology to answer questions and provide information, allowing for an immersive experience for teacher and student alike.

Globes Allow For the Understanding of Relevance and Perspective

When children have access to schools, it will be one of the few times in their young educational careers that they will see their world from a different perspective. Globe maps provide much more than just the simple locations of habitats, forests, and unique topography; but allows students to sense that they are part of something much larger and vast than their home, neighborhood, or school. They will be able to see that they are part of a larger world, which will instill desire to learn more about their planet, the star that it orbits, and other terrestrial bodies in the solar system.

Globes Helps With Comprehension and Problem Solving

Reading the maps on a globe allow students to forge their reasoning and problem-solving skills. The right map will allow students to track distances. Children can also use globes to formulate routes and travel destinations. This helps constructs self-sufficiency and confidence when formulating solutions.

Globes Help Children Grasp Geography

Depending on the grade, a globe is their first lesson in geography. Globes are versatile - they can be used in any grade, and are relevant in many fields of learning. A globe will allow students to learn about different countries, including the formation of bodies of water, mountain ranges, natural resources, and the effect that the climate has on different locations. Geography is more than just the physical formation on Earth, it also familiarizes students to the workings of a compass rose, keys and titles that help with directions.

Bridging Culture With Globes

A globe can conceptualize the different locations of students and learners. You can underline the importance of diversity by allowing children to point to their place of heritage on the classroom globe, fostering a sense of commonality between students. Students can also reinforce writing skills by comparing features of different land masses, average temperatures and average rainfalls of different locations. Because there is a myriad of maps, students can organize and classify information, which is a useful skill set for all academic topics and subjects.

Maps have been redrawn many times throughout the course of human history, so students can obtain a strong sense of history by delving into antiquated globes, and comparing them to more recent models. Political unrest, results from wars, extinction, and internal conflict are just a few reasons maps found on globes are updated. By studying the information from old and new maps, students can see how information has transformed and influenced the globe. Students can tap into how the United States changed from the colonial period to the Civil War era. Students can also see how Europe and other regions have changed during the last couple of centuries.


Contact us to learn more about how we are bringing the world into the classroom. A globe is the only accurate way to study the whole world in such a small 3D format. The advantage of a globe is that it promotes education, visual accuracy, and an accurate mental picture of our surroundings.

Ultimate Globes works with thousands of schools every year to bring these educational tools to the classroom and home learning.