year, our class is engaged in a study of Earths geography.
To facilitate our work, I met with Shelly Riddle of the tribes
Geographic Information System. Together we created a Montessori-style
map using colors known to the children for continents. It also includes
significant cities as reference points and political boundaries.
The 3-by-5-foot map is used in our classroom to identify and
locate various geographical features of land and water. Such features
are noted on the map with a tag and a number.
Hanging next to the map is a corresponding picture of the exact
location and number. For the picture, the identifying number is
on the back so children can quiz themselves. To date, we have 13
different land and water forms identified and 100 specific places
We anticipate no end to this project. We are likely to pass
the 200-places mark before spring and could easily pass 50 different
land and water forms this school year.
Friday, Dec. 7 Riddle and Kathleen Murphy met with Lower Elementary
students in the Kuch One classroom to discuss her work and potential
careers in her field.
Their first introduction to maps is simple. It begins with basic
globes. The first theme is a separation of land and water. After
that comes an introduction to continents. Early this school year,
we began to explore various land and water forms.
As we learned about lakes, rivers, islands, deserts, mountains
and such, our children developed a desire to see how such things
looked in reality. As pictures are presented, a curiosity is ignited
about were such places are.
A few features immediately planned are sand dunes, fjords, archipelagos,
cliffs and beaches. The students have studied islands, bays, peninsulas,
straits, lakes, valleys, glaciers, isthmuses, volcanoes, mountains,
deserts, waterfalls, canyons, caves and rivers.
are presented with a broad landform, such as a cave, and given a
working definition with photographs. The photographs display variety
and are taken from all areas of the Earth. Children also learn how
Internet maps and atlases are used to locate significant landforms
and see places and things otherwise unavailable to them.
They also learn about nearby places, such as Lake Navajo and
Children have experienced the vastness of Earth as well as its
interconnectivity and people, and learned to appreciate its beauty
and the magnificence while becoming aware of how life might be in
a variety of places.
The students have learned the usefulness of maps and their specific
themes. Students read and create maps and use them to organize their
information, including newly discovered landforms or bodies of water.
Our project has expanded the childrens understanding of
the globe. They are aware of the wonders created for us to enjoy,
and they seek new ones from pole to pole. As we continue to explore
the globe, we will emphasize the interconnectivity of all things
and the important responsibility we all have to Earth and each other
as citizens of our shared planet.