Thursday, March 21, 2013

Feet Across America

Photo: Jeffrey Pickette
If you have not seen as much of Dr. Domingo this fortnight as you expected, it may be that he has been busy with the North America flat map from National Geographic. Most members and friends of our department know about our ongoing Project EarthView, which has been a permanent part of our geography outreach for the past four years or so.

Equally important is the use of National Geographic's flat-map series, which we use for two weeks each year, in cooperation with the Southeast Massachusetts Geography Network (SEMAGNET), an affiliate of the Massachusetts Geographic Alliance. Each map represents one continent in the familiar style used in the magazine, though at a much greater scale. Traveling with the maps are boxes of activities using cones and other materials to bring students onto the maps.

As described in a recent article in the Stoughton Patch, this builds enthusiasm for geography among students and in the broader community. Because each school can keep the map for a couple of days, students can apply that enthusiasm to in-depth learning activities, so that the result is a deeper connection to geography.

If National Geographic would sell these maps, we would seek funding for a full set, and we are pretty certain we would receive it. So far, however, they are only for rent on a very occasional basis. If this ever changes, you can be sure you will be seeing even more of our department in regional news sources. More importantly, students will be seeing more geography in their schools!

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