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GeoMentor Case Study:

Blake Mailhes

City/State of School, School District, or Group: Virginia Beach, Virginia

Grade level of students you or your educator collaborator worked with: Grades 9-12

Subject/topic of class/group you assisted your collaborator with: AP Human Geography classes

Approximately how many students were engaged in GIS activities through this collaboration: 50

How did you connect with your collaborator? I connected with Debbie Lou Hague through the GeoMentors site; however, I knew her through my family and from high school.

Describe your collaboration process. We planned everything entirely via email over the course of a month or two. I asked about her classroom and her classroom needs, and then I went from there to come up with a challenging and fun lesson for her students. She read through my notes, and we went from there.

Describe the tasks you assisted your collaborator with. I shared career related information, as I am a GIS analyst at an engineering firm. I also talked with the students about the different ways that GIS is used in the world and engaged in conversation with them about how they use maps. Additionally, I taught students about the basics of GIS: data and data management, types of data, and advances in technology today.

What available resources, if any, did you use or help your collaborator use to implement GIS in K-12 education? I did use the Data Sources and Learning Resources page as a jumping off point. These were awesome for getting my mind working and wrapped around GIS for those who don't already speak the language. The ESRI ConnectED was super as well.

Did you develop any new educational material or GIS activities through your collaboration? I did not develop any new instructional material.

What did you gain from the experience? What do you think your educator collaborator and/or the students gained? This was such an enriching opportunity for me. I enjoyed thinking critically about my career and about GIS. I loved interacting with the students: their enthusiasm and eagerness to learn was outstanding. My educator collaborator is such a gem; she's bright, creative, and hilarious. It was exciting to share GIS and geography with everyone and hopefully inspire kids to continue to learn and grow in this sector.

Any additional comments about your experience? This was great! Can't wait to keep working with kids in some capacity. Thank you!

Questions? Email geomentors@aag.org.