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GeoMentor Case Study:

Diana Babshoff

City/State of School, School District, or Group:  Kerman, California

Grade level of students you or your educator collaborator work/worked with:  2

Subject/topic of class/group you assisted your collaborator with:  Food group pyramid (agriculture, geography of resources, land use)

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

How did you connect with your collaborator?  I was able to connect with my sister’s school.

Describe your collaboration process.  I discussed with the teacher (my sister) a few times over the phone, to make sure I was on track with what they were studying in class and if the material I would be bringing was age-level appropriate for her students.  I sent her examples via internet and cell phone, and most was approved prior to me engaging the class.  Some of the material changed during the class sessions, as you always redirect your lessons as it flows.  Overall, the collaboration process went very well.  

Describe the tasks you assisted your collaborator with.  The students were currently studying the food group pyramid, and it was approaching Thanksgiving. I read a book to the kids first, that discussed each month of the year and different foods that are harvested during that month (specifically, calling out those foods that are prepared and eaten during the Thanksgiving time). We discussed the various foods, and reasons why that particular food item is harvested when it is (ie, soil, climate, weather, access to water, etc). I printed a large map of the US that included state names and displayed it at the front of the class. I printed a 8.5x11 copy for the kids to color with at their desks. Using the free data I found online, using ArcGIS online, I was able to show the students where various types of foods are harvested, and which states harvest more or less - color coded on a map. As a class we located the states that had higher amounts of harvesting, discussed why we thought that was, and we colored them using different colors. Based on the colors the students choose, they made legends to reflect that colors and the food item it was associated with. Cranberries were one of the food items discussed. Most of the students didn't know what a cranberry was. So, I played a video on youtube that described the planting, growing, and harvesting process for the cranberry, and also brought in dried cranberries and cranberry juice for the students to eat and taste. It was a hit!  We followed up on an additional day, playing bingo using the state names. The kids also enjoyed locating the states and getting to know the US as a map. It was a lot of fun!

What available resources, if any, did you use or help your collaborator use to implement GIS in K-12 education? I used this link with free data

What did you gain from the experience? What do you think your educator collaborator and/or the students gained? My experience encouraged me in my day-to-day work.  It reminded me of how fun GIS can be, and how it can be applied to almost everything you do daily.  I gave the teacher some insight as to how she can use the internet and data provided via the internet, and maps in general, and apply to her lessons.  I printed the teacher out some larger maps so she can laminate and place on the walls in her classroom - I think she valued this very much.

Any additional comments about your experience?  I plan on teaching another lesson in a few weeks, using GIS to help document and show where Christmas traditions and stories come from.  The students have been asking when I am coming back so I think this would be a great time.  

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