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Geography knowledge spreads around state

Submitted by Nancy Tarnai
Phone: 907-474-5042

11/11/09

More than a dozen school gyms around Alaska will soon become geographic learning labs.

The University of Alaska Geography Program will bring a giant map of North America to more than a dozen schools in the Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau areas during the next month. The 26-foot by 35-foot cartographically accurate map is modeled after the National Geographic Atlas of the World.

Geography program education and outreach coordinator Katie Kennedy will take the map to elementary and middle schools for lessons on the map and family geography nights. Along with the map, the evening events feature GIS activities and a geography jeopardy game.

Kennedy's lessons send children traversing the continent, from Alaska's Aleutian Islands to the Panama Canal and from Iceland to Baja. The children identify common land and water forms, learn cardinal directions, locate the largest cities, track population growth, compare carbon dioxide emissions and explore major watersheds. The activities use physical movement and games to teach students place names, physical and cultural geography, and map-reading skills.

The map tour happens in conjunction with Geography Awareness Week, Nov. 15-21. Additional games, activities and lessons are available at www.geographyawarenessweek. The site also has blog-a-thon and a daily mystery location quiz.

The UA Geography Program works with teachers and students around the state to further geographic knowledge of the Earth. In addition to offering bachelor's and master's degrees, the program reaches thousands of kindergarteners through twelfth-graders with its outreach programs.

A full schedule of map tour events is available here.

CONTACT: Nancy Tarnai, UAF School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences public information officer, 907-474-5042 or ntarnai@alaska.edu.

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