CIA World Factbook

Name:CIA World Factbook

Brief Description of the Site:
You may have seen the Internet domain name “.tv†but did you know that it actually belongs to the South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu, which leased it out for $50 million in 2000? That’s just one of the gazillions of fascinating facts available from this guidebook to our planet. One can learn that Tuvalu means “group of eight†referring to the eight islands (formerly the “Ellice Islands) that won independence from Great Britain, that the land mass is just one-tenth the size of Washington, D.C., that its primary natural resource is fish, that the 11,000 residents speak one of three languages (Tuvaluan, Somoan, and English), and much more. Such is the information available from this site produced by the CIA and whose purpose is to provide a “snapshot†of our world. In fact, one of the entries in the pull-down list of countries is “The World.†But it also covers several hundred discreet places, including The Gaza Strip and The Vatican. The site also offers an awesome collection of very detailed maps, one for each country plus many for various world regions, and full-color depictions of each nation’s flag.

How to use the site:
It should be the Gold Standard for basic research. Students should be directed here any time they need information about a particular country. It should also be included in geography-oriented WebQuests. Even young students should be able to successfully retrieve information here. Have them pretend to be CIA ‘spooks’ gathering intelligence about a particular country. Then, for older students, the site is an excellent ‘data-mining’ resource for creating all sorts of fascinating projects comparing/contrasting countries, creating graphs from data, making fact-based predictions (which is greater: world oil consumption or production, and what might that imply for the future?). It’s also an excellent source for reliable maps and flag pictures.

Submitted by: