Category Archives: geography

New Google Earth. Great! And . . . meh.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of you that I am a huge Google Earth nerd. I love geography. I love maps. I love Google.

It’s a simple formula. A + B = C. Maps + Google = Google Earth nerd.

So when Google pushed out an online version of GE this week, all was right with the world. At least until I started digging into it a little bit. Don’t get me wrong. Any time I can play with an online Google tool, it’s a good day.

The new version does have a few cool features. But I’m just a little disappointed that the online version released this week is missing some of the sweet features of the desktop version. But let’s start with the good stuff. Continue reading New Google Earth. Great! And . . . meh.

Using Gapminder’cool data to create compelling questions

gapminder logo

Gapminder is an organization promoting sustainable global development by encouraging the use and understanding of statistics and other information about social, economic and environmental development at local, national and global levels.

Basically it’s a tool you and kids can use to compare and contrast countries around the world. So . . . teaching geography, world history, economics, comparative government? GapMinder is a tool you and your kids need to be using.

At GapMinder, you can access a variety of tools, lesson plans, and videos that help students understand the world and can help you generate a wide range of problems for your kids to solve.

One example of a lesson plan that uses GapMinder data can help your kids to think about the gaps in the world today and challenge their preconceived ideas about how the contemporary world looks. The exercise can also be used to stimulate an interest in using statistics to understand the world.

How to use the activity: Continue reading Using Gapminder’cool data to create compelling questions

Literally #FindYourPark with free maps!

nps park mapOn August 26, the National Park Service celebrated its 100th anniversary and as one part of the celebration, we’re asking you to “Find Your Park”. The NPS now has over 400 sites across the nation that offer something for everyone. If you like mountains, the beach, or history, we’ve got a site for you.

There are more than 84 million acres across the U.S., at sites as diverse as national monuments, Civil War battlefields, and historic sites. There’s a big range in size among NPS sites, too: The biggest is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska, at 13.2 million acres, while the smallest is Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial in Pennsylvania, at 0.02 acre. These sites attract more than 300 million visitors every year.

Shelton Johnson, a park ranger at Yosemite National Park and published author, shared his thoughts on this important milestone: Continue reading Literally #FindYourPark with free maps!

The NPS is 100 and giving away free stuff

every kid in a parkWith the end of the school year arriving, now is the time to plan your summer vacation. The National Park Service can help! The Park Service was established on August 25, 1916 and is celebrating its 100th anniversary by working to get “Every Kid in a Park.”

The program is simple. All fourth grade students and members of their family can get into national park sites for free during the entire year! Students can get their pass and plan their trips at the Every Kid in a Park site.

Visiting national park sites in Kansas is easy and it does not require a pass because there is no fee to get into any of the five national park sites in Kansas. Below is a list of NPS sites in Kansas:

If you are able to travel beyond the borders of Kansas, just take your park pass to any NPS site to gain free entrance into any national park!

You can go to Every Kid in a Park to discover how to get to some of America’s most treasured places, like Yellowstone in Wyoming or the Grand Canyon in Arizona, or some of the hidden gems of the Park Service, such as Rosie the Riveter WWII Home Front in California or the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historic Park in Maryland. Whether you want to experience history, recreation, nature, or solitude, there is a national park for you.

Teachers shouldn’t forget the very cool Teaching with Historic Places that uses properties listed in the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places to enliven history, social studies, geography, civics, and other subjects. TwHP has created a variety of  lessons, products, and activities that help teachers bring historic places into the classroom.

So fourth graders, teachers, and parents take advantage of your summer break and visit your national parks through the “Every Kid in a Park” program!

Because no matter who you are, no matter where you live, our parks, our monuments, our lands, our waters — these places are your birthright as Americans.”

President Barack Obama

Enjoy Your Summer!

Nicholas Murray
Education Specialist
Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site

A Very Cool Website & Some Fun Ideas

I teach my methods students here at KSU to “constantly think about teaching.”  To do this, we always look for things to use even for small parts of lessons.  A picture to promote thinking, a quote to start a conversation, a primary source to investigate, all of these are ways to promote learning.  I happened to find a website the other night at class at the suggestions of Dr. John Harrington and Ms. Lisa Tabor who were presenting on geography…

Continue reading A Very Cool Website & Some Fun Ideas