Thursday, December 15, 2011

'Tis the Season

Materials and Methods is one of two courses in our department that is dedicated to preparing future teachers of geography. In the course, students learn how to find and use a wide variety of maps, models, and other tools that can keep learners of all ages engaged in the many aspects of geography. Dr. Domingo also inspires students to develop their own teaching tools, and to teach their classmates how to make and use them.

The last day of the semester featured Kimberly Frisoli's seasonally appropriate contribution: Earthly Ornaments. What seems like a simple craft project is actually much more. It is a lesson in scale; in the adjustments to scale needed in cartography; in projections (none is needed, but that is the point); and in the relative importance of land and water (29/71, respectively, with the majority of land in the Northern Hemisphere). The detailed lesson plan describes several additional lessons to be gleaned from this fun activity. Learners of all kinds benefit from applying these global geography lessons on a very small object.

The ornament project began with some basic materials from a craft store:
Photo: Nicci Petit
It continued with the application of craft and geographic know-how:

Photo: Nicci Petit
Drying is cleverly facilitated by Popsicle sticks.
Photo: Kim Frisoli
 The result is some useful practice in the skills described above, and nifty holiday gifts that themselves can be used for holiday geography lessons!

Photo: Nicci Petit

Photo: Korin Zigler
The department's other undergraduate course for educators is Geographic Frameworks, in which Dr. Hayes-Bohanan helps students to identify educational standards in geography and to find ways to apply them to all kinds of source materials. In addition, the department offers -- in partnership with the Massachusetts Geographic Alliances and its various partners -- a variety of graduate courses and workshops for in-service teachers. See the Globe Art entry on the EarthView blog for description of his own hand-on geography project.

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