Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Santa Claus, Indiana": Geography Activity

Ever heard of Santa Claus, Indiana?  Would your students believe that it's a real place?

Use interesting town names as the basis for a geography classroom activity.  This idea comes from Education World's "Boring" Geography Lesson, named after the town of Boring, Maryland.  

Give students a list of interesting town names, like this one.  Choose some of your favorites (I like Ding Dong, Texas) and make a simple map/atlas assignment asking students to find the latitude and longitude of these places, or use any other maps skills you would like them to practice.  Education World makes other suggestions for this activity, such as having students make creative newspaper headlines using the strange town names.  Have students use a map to create a list of unique town names they've discovered.  The class could also use the internet in lieu of paper maps for information about these towns.

  • How miles away is Whynot, MS from Jackson, MS?
  • In which state would one find Loyalsockville?
  • Is Unalaska, Alaska east or west of Juneau, Alaska?


  1. That's a great idea and starting with Santa Claus is a wonderful opening. I just won't bring up Dildo, Newfoundland. Yup, it exists.

  2. Yeah, I saw a couple of "questionable" town names on some lists.