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GeoMentor Case Study: Rob Kraft

City/State of School, School District, or Group: Poway, CA

Grade level of students you or your educator collaborator work/worked with: Combination 2nd/3rd grade; Combination 4th/5th grade

Subject/topic of class/group you assisted your collaborator with: 2nd/3rd grades: Ring of Fire,  4th/5th grades: Mental Maps (both tailored from National Geographic lesson plans)

Approximately how many students were engaged in GIS activities through this collaboration: 2nd/3rd grades: 26; 4th 5th grades: 31

How did you connect with your collaborator? They are my kids' teachers so at the beginning of the year I tell them I'd like to do a lesson for Geography Week.

Describe your collaboration process. Once at the beginning of the year, a few times via email at the beginning of November (to coordinate the day/time and lesson theme) and then once during the parent/teacher conferences (which were the same week and served as final coordination or feedback afterwards).

Describe the tasks you assisted your collaborator with. I asked what they were doing in class related to geography and then researched a supportive lesson plan to reinforce their curriculum. I also tell them about how pervasive geography (and GIS) is in today's world.

What available resources, if any, did you use or help your collaborator use to implement GIS in K-12 education? This is my third year and every time I've used Nat Geo to get a lesson plan (which I tailor to my specific needs).

What did you gain from the experience? What do you think your educator collaborator and/or the students gained? I learned that my school has a healthy geography program. Teachers learned that there are many careers for geographers and that geography/GIS are part of most areas of daily life. The teachers are usually surprised to realize just how applicable and how widespread geography concepts are in school and in everyday life. The students learned about my geography education/career, the applicability of geography and specific points about my lessons.

Any additional comments about your experience? This is my third year coming in for Geography Week and each year both sets of teachers are wildly enthusiastic and appreciative. Last year I also taught a geography lesson for my Cub Scouts Den 3 (San Diego). We have a very tech savvy school and school district (Apple schools with iPads etc) but I haven't made much headway or seen much enthusiasm for the Esri K-12 ArcGIS software program. I asked Jack what I should be doing differently and he just told me to keep trying.
 

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