Association of American Geographers
About AAG Membership Annual Meeting Projects & Programs Education Publications Calendar Of Events Jobs & Careers

GeoMentor Case Study:

Tonya Kauhi

Name of the School, School District, and/or Group you collaborated/are collaborating with: Sherman Elementary, Tacoma School District

City/State of School, School District, or Group: Tacoma, Washington

Grade level of students you or your educator collaborator work/worked with: 3rd

Subject/topic of class/group you assisted your collaborator with: The teacher wanted a way to integrate GIS with their Project Based Learning (PBL) lesson which was Sound Energy.

Approximately how many students were engaged in GIS activities through this collaboration: 25

How did you connect with your collaborator?  My nephews attend Sherman Elementary so I reached out offering assistance. 

Describe your collaboration process. We meet a couple of times; once to explain the topic and then once to confirm the lessons created would be applicable and provide value to the students.

Describe the tasks you assisted your collaborator with. In addition to the mapping sound energy lesson, we created a story map that summarized their Sound energy lesson which the students presented in class. So I had to train them on using Story maps.

What available resources, if any, did you use or help your collaborator use to implement GIS in K-12 education? I started with the GeoInquires to get inspired and understand what was proven successful and available, then created my own from there. I also forwarded the lessons to other teachers so they could see what was available.

Did you develop any new educational material or GIS activities through your collaboration? Yes. In order to be relevant to their Project Based Learning (PBL) lesson of Sound Energy, I created a lesson plan where we measured and mapped the sound levels at different locations using an iphone app (for example their school hallway, cafeteria and playground) and compared the different sound levels based on location and time. We also reviewed national datasets that showed noise levels at parks and discussed how that affects wildlife.

What did you gain from the experience? What do you think your educator collaborator and/or the students gained? I gained experience using GIS in a much different way than I was used to and teaching it to young students was also very new to me. I hope they learned that you can map just about anything.

Any additional comments about your experience? Teachers are very busy and may not understand the value a GeoMentor can bring to the classroom. I would be patient and persistent. Once they learn that you are there to help, they are welcoming and excited to have you there.

Check out more case studies here!

 If you're interested in submitting your GeoMentor experience for a case study, we would appreciate you doing so through this survey. The collected information will only be accessible to and used by AAG and Esri program staff and will not be further distributed or posted online unless you indicate your permission to do so.

Questions? Email geomentors@aag.org.