Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Geography Awereness

November 17th to the 23rd, 2013 is GeoWeek!

Every grade level in Virginia incorporates geography into the curriculum and it should include more than just learning to read a map. GIS day is on Wednesday, November 20th of GeoWeek. GIS is a geographic information system that integrates multiple layers of data and overlays it to one single map to help us discover patterns in the data that can be useful to our life.One example of a GIS is the picture below of the flooded areas after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. This image tells a digital story and can be used in a classroom as a writing prompt or for math to work on size and scale, as well as weather.What type of information can you get from looking at the patterns in this image?

Starting as early as first grade we can use the technology in our classrooms to bring this information to our students. Virginia Standards of Learning History and Social Science 1.6 states “The student will describe how the location of his/her community, climate, and physical surroundings affect the way people live, including their food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and recreation.” National Geographic Education is celebrating all week with activities and lesson plan resources from it’s website GeographyAwarenessWeek.org or ask a GeoMentor to help your class with it’s geographic awareness.

Use Google Earth to find the digital story in New Kent or beyond. From the Google Earth blog students can learn about the satellites that circle the earth, how they gather the images and even find the hidden “faces”. Try the Google Earth Tour Builder as a whole group to map the story of a family member or significant event, or explore tours that have already been created. For teachers find resources and tutorials at Google Earth for Educators and Google Earth Lessons.

The Virginia Geospatial Extension Program and Virginia View have created a  Virginia State geographic image from many Landsat satellite images and a lesson activity for grades 1-3. The image can be used as a discussion starter for all grades and is best viewed from the interactive whiteboard. (be aware that the image is very large and can only be opened if it is downloaded)

As an extra challenge download the ArcGIS Explorer for the desktop and build a personal information map!