MISSOULA – The Montana Geographic Alliance, housed in the University of Montana Department of Geography, recently received a new resource from the National Geographic Society to help promote geography education.
The new Montana State Giant Traveling Map is a 15-foot by 20-foot vinyl floor map designed to support interactive hands-on and feet-on learning experiences for third- and fourth-graders. Through the map, students learn about local geography while gaining skills in basic map reading and usage.
The Montana State Giant Traveling Map visited third- and fourth-graders at Sussex School in Missoula on Dec. 2. The students completed two lessons from the National Geographic Lesson Handbook, designed specifically to engage students and teachers with the giant map. Students worked together to learn more about geography, and Montana Geographic Alliance intern Rebecca Krantiz said they seemed to have an exceptional amount of fun.
“It was so inspiring to see the excitement and pure joy expressed by the children when they witnessed the map for the first time,” said Kranitz, a UM graduate student. “They had never seen a map this large before, and I could tell that they were incredibly excited to begin their lessons. The map makes geography fun, and it provides students with experiences to help them learn map reading skills and spatial thinking and, of course, their state’s geography.”
Starting in January 2017, the Montana State Giant Traveling Map will tour the state. The map is scheduled to visit schools in Butte, Livingston, Joliet, Billings, Richey, Judith Gap, Big Sandy, Valier, Fortine, Kalispell, Plains, Frenchtown and more.
The Montana Geographic Alliance will collaborate with school districts and teachers to make this resource available to the far reaches of the state for the 2017-18 academic year. The Montana Geographic Alliance will accept requests and schedule school visits beginning June 1 2017.