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Believe it or not, teachers throughout the world teach continents differently!
Here in Canada, we teach seven continents: Asia, Africa, Antarctica,
Europe, North America, South America and Oceania (Australia).
Other countries may teach six continents: Africa, Antarctica, North America,
South America, Eurasia and Australia (or Australasia). Some places
(such as Spain) teach five continents with North America and South America
combined as a single continent called the Americas.
Geographically a continent is a large, discrete land mass separated
by large bodies of water -- by this scientific definition there are only
four continents: Antarctica, Australia, Americas and Afro-Eurasia.
However, children at a grade school level are almost never taught using
a four continent model. Most educators take geography, politics and
history into account when deciding how to split our world up into continents.
For older students, it's an interesting debate topic to discuss the
definition of a continent. Should the Americas be taught as one since
their land masses are connected? Should Europe and Asia be combined
despite their very different histories and customs? Should a large
island like Greenland be considered its own continent -- how "large"
is large enough? Should a vitually unpopulated island like Antarctica
be considered a continent -- do continents need governments, history, people
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