Rhode Island Map Challenges 2013

This post was written by Geography Awareness Week  Coordinator for the Rhode Island Geography Education Alliance, Ellen Thompson, as a part of the Geography Awareness blog-a-thon.

Every year when Geography Awareness Week (GAW) preparation time rolls around you will find the Rhode Island Geography Education Alliance (RIGEA) deep in thought about what new gauntlet we can throw down to get our Rhode Island students and citizenry thinking geographically.

This year it has been map challenges! Since the GAW theme this year is “Geography and the New Age of Exploration” we decided to have our Monday through Friday GAW activities center on the National Geographic explorer page found on their website. Anyone using our activities this week has been asked to select an explorer using either the “Explorers A-Z” or the “Explorers E-Team Interactive Mural” features on the explorer page.

Lyn Malone, our GIS guru, came up with a GIS map challenge so everybody in Rhode Island could get a look at the explorers that our participants were choosing, where the explorers were working around the world and what projects the explorers were working on. Besides all that, the instructions for this cooperative map were written so that no prior GIS experience was necessary, in order that anyone new to GIS could experience how exciting this technology is!

Here is Lyn’s map. Go to rigea.org to find her directions on how to select an explorer and place your choice on this cooperative map.

More Map Challenges!

RIGEA sponsored a Map Challenge Contest in honor of Geography Awareness Week. We asked participants to select or make a map using the National Geographic Map Maker Kits and then tell a story using the map.

We are excited to announce our two top winners! The first is a team of students in Traci Taglione’s 6th grade social studies class at Barrington Middle School in Barrington, Rhode Island. The students, Eytan Goldstein, Amit Bhatia and Nikhil Pareek told the story of Rhode Island’s part in the struggle for freedom in the Revolutionary War. They used a Library of Congress map and created icons which open to reveal the sequence of events in Rhode Island’s efforts.

Here is part of their entry:

To see their entire entry go to https://www.thinglink.com/scene/454325533149233152

The research, writing and technology involved in this map story is outstanding and much hard work on the part of this student team is evident. Congratulations Eytan, Amit, Nikhil and Ms. Taglione!

Our second top winner is Mrs. Ruth Lepre’s 7th Grade Geography Class at Mount Saint Charles Academy in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. They made a National Geographic Mega Map (no small feat in itself) to tell the story of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. They will be following the Olympic Torch Relay, indicating all past host countries on the map and having each student in the class follow a 2014 Winter Olympics participating country and represent each one on this huge map.

Here are some photos from their entry:

Mrs. Lepre’s class has been immersed in Olympic fever, reinacting the torch relay and the awards ceremony for winning athletes. The cooperative nature of this entry along with its possibilities for learning about world culture and geography is outstanding. Congratulations to Mrs. Lepre and her 7th Grade geography students!

And finally, we have an honorable mention entry from Mrs. Lepre’s family. Her two young children, Benjamin and Sophia are Disney fans so they have created a map highlighting places connected with their favorite Disney characters. Nice to know there are some budding geographers out there. Great job Benjamin and Sophia!

Written by: Ellen Thompson, Geography Awareness Week  Coordinator for the Rhode Island Geography Education Alliance

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