Creative Curriculum Integration & GIS in Education

Integrating technology, geography, sciences and more with traditional classroom content is the focus of my work. Geospatial technologies offer many simple ways to connect students to their studies while actively engaging them in their learning. Come explore the possibilities with me!

Creative Curriculum Integration & GIS in Education -

42 ideas GIS in Education

Fresh from our presentation at the Esri edUC with a salute to Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Shannon White and I present 42 ideas and resources that may help educators and geomentors in their quest to integrate GIS, GPS and geography into education, inside and outside.  What other ideas do you have?  Please share your comments below.

  1. bring a map of the school to examine and interpret
  2. map gallery (student made or professional made or both)
  3. Make a map with cookie dough and icing
  4. Draw a mental map from home to school
  5. Topographic bingo
  6. Bingo with a community based satellite image
  7. Show live maps of buses (real time).
  8. track the weather
  9. watch live earthquakes
  10. count time zones
  11. map the countries playing in world cup
  12. make a map of all the places in your books
  13. plan a route to the park
  14. hide and seek on campus with drawn maps and clues (transition to geocaching)
  15. track vocabulary words country of origin
  16. collect scientific discoveries by location
  17. solve math problems that give coordinates as answers
  18. brainstorm school or local problems that a map or location would help solve
  19. research a topic with map data only
  20. students find one cool map related fact and share it
  21. map the news for one day, then examine change over time
  22. where does your food come from (Thanksgiving arcgis maps as an example)
  23. where do your clothes come from (NatGeo gadget)
  24. build a map (NatGeo printables MapMaker interactive)
  25. Map places you want to visit (or have visited)
  26. Look at change over time in your community (
  27. examine story maps about a topic you are studying (i.e. the bat map)
  28. Track roadkill or trash or something else found along roads
  29. Map your school yard (transportation, recreation, natural features)
  30. look at old maps (David Rumsey Map Collection) and compare/contrast to digital maps
  31. Use John Snow Map in ArcGIS online to examine spatial analysis
  32. Show a brief video about GIS in use (Ushahidi, Geospatial Revolution, etc)
  33. Examine the Earth as Art collection and discuss geography and remote sensing patterns
  34. Participate in a crowdsourcing or citizen science effort (BioBlitz using iNaturalist, Project Budburst, Globe at Night)
  35. Make a smell or sound map of your neighborhood
  36. Plan a road trip or vacation for yourself or someone else
  37. make a story map or Snap2Map
  38. find cool map projects in the online map gallery – how many are problems in your area?
  39. Map your family or family history (watermelon story)
  40. Map your life or create an  autobiographical map
  41. Help map a local park or trail
  42. Find a geographic element that connects math, science, language arts and social studies


Fake Geocaching

Geocaching is so popular.  We love it too!  When you want to take that fun idea and make it educational and on your school campus, there are some obstacles.  First, you can’t put official caches on the campus.  You might not have GPS units.  If you want to use an online map, you may not have internet access outdoors.  And…what’s your rainy day plan?

Dee Porter, librarian at Grandview Hills Elementary in Leander, TX had her own “deal with it” or “make it work” moment recently.  She asked us for some advice, but ended up having to switch things up because of the weather. She shared her success with us, so we are sharing it with our fine friends(with her permission of course).  Way to go, Dee! Keep on reading, mapping and making kids think! (Spoiler Alert: SHE DID THIS WITH 1st GRADERS!)

Here’s what happened…


The Watsons Go To Birmingham-a story map update

Here’s an update to my lesson on The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis.

A new story map version of the popular lesson

I have created an update that utilizes the new map journal template.  This new template enabled me to embed the lesson with pictures, websites and multiple maps.  The student questions are embedded in the online interface but if you need a printed handout…that’s here.

Get your students thinking and mapping today!

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