Friday, October 12, 2012

Giant Map of North America to visit Alaska schools

Katie Kennedy (in pink shirt) conducts activities on the Giant Traveling Map of North America.

Alaska students will soon have a chance to explore North America in a big way: with one of the world’s largest maps of the continent. The map, measuring 35 feet by 26 feet, gives student explorers a fun, interactive experience through rich content and exciting activities that enliven the study of geography.

The map will travel the state Oct. 16 through Nov. 20 as part of National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Maps program, organized by National Geographic Live, the public programming division of the National Geographic Society. The University of Alaska Geography Program, a SNRAS department, is coordinating the Alaska visit. Katie Kennedy, UAGP education and outreach coordinator, teaches the lessons on the map and makes the arrangements to have it shipped far and wide across the state.

The brightly colored vinyl surface of the map accurately illustrates North America’s oceans, seas, rivers, mountains, countries and capitals. The map, designed for grades K-8, comes with a trunk full of accessories, including interactive games, geography adventures, atlases and books that teach students about the physical characteristics of the continent as well as its rich history and varied cultures.

“Experiencing a map of this size can really awaken a student to the power of maps and the limitless depth of geography,” said Dan Beaupré, National Geographic’s director of education partnerships for National Geographic Live. “Whether they are using the map to learn place names or to compare state-to-state CO2 emissions, students are physically involved in a hands- and feet-on way that makes geography into an event.”

National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Maps program was introduced in 2006 with a map of Africa, and has since expanded to maps of North America, Asia, South America and the Pacific Ocean.

Following is a schedule of schools the map will visit:
Oct. 16, Glennallen School
Oct. 18, Kenny Lake School
Oct. 25-26, Nome Elementary School
Oct. 30-31, Goldenview Middle School, Anchorage
Nov. 2, Nenana City School
Nov. 7, Main Elementary, Kodiak
Nov. 8, East Elementary, Kodiak
Nov. 12, Yakutat Elementary
Nov. 15-16, Immaculate Conception School, Fairbanks
Nov. 19-20, Knik Elementary, Wasilla

To learn more about the Giant Traveling Map project, visit here.

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