Reading around the World This blog lists 30 books for introducing a region, a country, or a culture. Perfect for an elementary setting, but definitely can be broached in to a middle school setting. A great way to whet the taste for deeper adventures.
Mapsofwar.com The name is somewhat deceptive. In reality, the site has a limited number of maps, but is a good jumping off point for a discussion of geography, religion, or war.
Pew Forum on Religious Diversity, 2012 Don't be afraid to look at religion as a component of culture. Pew offers great infographics for understanding the world's religions statistically. The organization does masterful work with infographics, and with a little work, you can create a wonderful lesson.
World Factbook This site is a trusted and credible site and lists countries around the world. There is a wealth of information, so it can be incorporated for a research component focusing on the economy, travel, health and education, or any number of issues. Not necessarily kid-friendly, but free and relevant for all.
National Geographic Print Maps National Geographic Society is making all of their print maps available on the website. You can look them over or zoom in. The detail is great. It is not the same as having it in your hand, but almost.
Map Lessons Great resources from National Geographic Society for the classroom for working with maps. The interactive map is awesome in that you can overlay multiple systems on the world map.
Nationmaster.com "NationMaster is where stats come alive! We are a massive central data source and a handy way to graphically compare nations." Enough said.
Worldmapper.org This site takes statistics and information and shows it to you in different maps.
Glenn Wiebe's Diigo Site This is a collection of links to maps, with quite the variety.
Social Explorer-- Demographics and maps of American history. You can choose your own map and demographics to explore.
All Africa This website collects articles about Africa. If you are looking for contemporary writing dealing with issues on the continent, this is the place to look.
An interactive Africa map This map is great for teaching imperialism, religion, and trade networks, using Google map overlays. A great resource for visualizing Africa.
NORTH AFRICA & SOUTHWEST ASIA
Modern Jerusalem "Secrets of Jerusalem's Holiest Sites" This is a National Geographic documentary covering Jerusalem, including information on Israeli checkpoints and holy sites. It's a great overview of the city and why it is so important, religiously. The video is available from the National Geographic Website, but is also available on Netflix.
Institute for Curriculum Services National Resource Center for Professional Development and Curricular Resources on Jews, Judaism, and Israel.
China and Overpopulation
This is both a great lesson for researching China, as well as developing an essay using a graphic organizer. This would not be a good lesson to expand in to a high school classroom, as well. The main lesson is here. In this location is the graphic organizer for the argumentative essay. And here you will find the link for a grading rubric for the argumentative essays.
This presentation is based on information from the Pew Research website (the site is credited on the initial screen, giving a chance to teach proper sourcing as well). Ideal for middle schoolers studying geography, but it could be adapted for multiple ages or courses. This worksheet can be used as well. (Jeff Benes)