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GeoMentor Case Study: Kade Smith

City/State of School, School District, or Group: Rexburg, Idaho

Grade level of students you or your educator collaborator work/worked with: 4th

Subject/topic of class/group you assisted your collaborator with: How to make maps

Approximately how many students were engaged in GIS activities through this collaboration: 1

How did you connect with your collaborator? Student asked me for help with her genius hour project (

Describe your collaboration process. "I met weekly with the student in the classroom for one hour from January through March. I met with the teacher aside from this, 3 times to get licensing set up for online Story Maps.”

Describe the tasks you assisted your collaborator with. How to use ArcGIS Online to create story maps. How to use ArcGIS Desktop to publish a hard copy map. The online story maps was pretty straightforward and easy for the student to catch on and do. We walked through creating one point of interest together and she was able to do the rest on her own from there. ArcGIS Desktop was a different story. We spent the majority of the time talking about the interface, explaining how to add and create data, and learning the layout tools.

What available resources, if any, did you use or help your collaborator use to implement GIS in K-12 education? There were a few videos I had the student watch about the 5 important elements of a map on YouTube. We used Wikipedia very heavily to find points of interest the pertain to the history of Idaho.

Did you develop any new educational material or GIS activities through your collaboration? I created a shapefile of the Oregon Trail to help me show the student how to use ArcMap. I could not believe how hard it was to find a shapefile of such a common element of elementary education. She did not use this shapefile in her final project, but it helped me explain how GIS is used in formats other than what she was doing.

What did you gain from the experience? What do you think your educator collaborator and/or the students gained? I learned that students are more capable in areas that I didn't think they would be. The educator was excited about the possibility of using maps in other lessons and told other teachers about the possibilities. This has led to me working with director of student teaching to explore ways that more students in the school district can use story maps.

Any additional comments about your experience? I loved watching the student I worked with gain a new appreciation for maps through the Geomentor experience. Nothing is more exciting than watching a child grasp a concept that changes the way they look at the world.


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