The Magic of Maps and GIS..The Wonderful World of Geography Awareness Week

I have always loved working with maps, globes and books.Now my learning is facilitated by the use of media and new ways of mapping. And then there is GIS. What is GIS? You use it in invisible ways. GIS.. here is a great video on it. GIS Day is on November 14, 2012.

Learn more about Geography Awareness Week

 Geography Awareness Week there are a lot of online tools. There are things to use in your classroom, and a toolkit and a poster. You may want to start with this map tool. Free map kit.. and resources.

While studying at the National Geographic, I became involved in the study of geography. To study our neighborhood we collected various kinds of maps that showed the school community. We were located in Arlington , Virginia and we had a business map, a tourist map, a Virginia transportation map, a real estate map, and a map of historical places as well as a map that showed projections and plans for the future. That was before we all had our fingertips on technology to see this things online.  Children drew a map that showed the path from school to home. That was a fun exercise. The children were quite creative about making their personal maps. A person from USGS gave us maps of cities around the world, but they were not identified, they were in effect a view of cities from the air, New Orleans, San Francisco,  New York, Cairo, Egypt,  Capetown , South Africa.. and the kids and parents had to be able to identify the places from the pictures. ( USGS)

Here are some of the resources I used in an elementary program.

Geography


Helping Your Child Learn Geography
A 32-page booklet, published in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education and the National Geographic Society, that is designed to help adults stir children’s curiosity about geography. Includes many suggestions for simple activities. K-4.   Icon for classroom activities  Icon for lab resources
Map Adventures 
This on-line teacher packet for grades K-3 teaches basic concepts for visualizing objects from different perspectives and how to understand and use maps. The kit includes seven lesson plans, activity sheets, and a printable poster.   Icon for teaching module  Icon for classroom activities
What Do Maps Show? 
This on-line teacher packet for upper elementary and junior high school students has four lessons on reading and using maps. The packet includes a teacher’s guide, four printable activity sheets, and three maps in PDF format that can be downloaded and printed on 8.5″ x 11″ paper.   Icon for teaching module  Icon for classroom activities
USGS Geography Products
A list of online fact sheets, booklets, and educational resources related to geography and mapping.

The National Atlas of the United States


National Atlas of the United States®
This invaluable educational tool is a free, interactive version of the traditional paper United States atlas. Most information is designed to depict geographic patterns and trends on a national scale. Topics include agricultural use, forestation, population density, transportation, and more. Use the Map Maker tool to create custom maps or print one of hundreds of pre-formatted page-size maps that are excellent for classroom use. This is the best source for creating quick maps that cover large areas.   Icon for lab resources
Outline Maps of the United States – Printable Maps from The National Atlas
Download or print PDF files for several different outline maps of the United States, individual states, and counties within a state. Files print on 8.5″ x 11″ paper.   Icon for lab resources
Latitude and Longitude – The National Atlas
Article describing latitude and longitude and related terms.

Topographic Maps


Topographic Map Resources for Teachers
An overall summary of useful USGS resources for working with topographic maps: where to get them; how to interpret them; how to use them; explanations of coordinates, datums, and projections; and lessons for the classroom. Also available as a 2-page PDF file.
Free Digital USGS Topographic Map Quadrangles
Download free USGS topographic map quadrangles in georeferenced PDF (GeoPDF) format by clicking on “Map Locator” on the USGS Store Web site. These files were created using high-resolution scans and average 10-17 megabytes in size.

You can participate, facilitate, learn using GIS.
GIS Day provides an international forum for users of geographic information systems (GIS) technology to demonstrate real-world applications that are making a difference in our society. We who use media on a daily basis use the tools of supercomputing , GIS and visualization and modeling without knowing it.

Never mind that geography and maps were not a part of my training for teaching. Geography?  We see the world in media almost daily. Sadly we do not necessarily teach our students formal geography.

I studied at the National Geographic I learned to read, study, analyze and ( fold a map). We had Map Maker Interactive. That is  an incredible piece of technology.I

You may need Inspiration. In a way students use some mind mapping programs to think about the world.

When I was a new teacher long ago, people often fought over the maps that were available in schools for students . There were these blue outline maps. They were limited in supply.

Here are some tools.

http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/63439000/jpg/_63439803_newcomp.jpg

State Interactive maps. You can investigate any state you want to explore.

One treasure chest of a site is MyWonderfulWorld.

interactive map. This is a homicide map of DC. You can check the homicides in your neighborhood. You may not want to know this big data, but in an emergency, it is big data that is collected to allow experts to assess the damages and know what to do.