GIS Day with 5th Graders in Delaware

Photo of Nicole MinniGeoMentor Volunteer: Nicole Minni

Location: Delaware (statewide)

Grade level of participating students: 5th

Activity Theme/Focus: Geography, Social Studies

Number of Participants: 490

How did you connect with your collaborator?  In Delaware we have a GIS Day Committee. Through this committee we hold a field trip every year for 5th grade classes. This field trip takes place at the Air Command Mobility Museum in Dover. We are in our 8th year holding this event. Our field trip we can only hold 240 students, so this year we are taking parts of the field trip on the road to two other schools, allowing us to connect for even more students than ever. 

Describe your collaboration process. We communicate with all the teachers by email and through post office mail. We create name tags for all the students and place them in groups. We place the students from each school in groups, which consists of approximately 15 students each. Volunteers (GIS mentors) throughout the state assist with setting up the GIS related stations, which each of the student groups travel to. The students are at each station for approximately 30 minutes and they see about 17 stations. We make sure to accommodate any special needs that the children might have as well.

Describe your tasks/involvement. Each of the stations vary, so the students are exposed and involved in many careers all relating in some way to GIS. We have the Kent County Mobile Command unit come and show how they use GIS in 911 situations. The kids also get to learn about Delaware Soils from NRCS and walk away with their very own soil sample. Another station is a hands-on GIS lab which the students take an hour to do an ArcGIS Online exercise. They also learn how to fly on a flight simulator and then they get into a 20′ Earth balloon from the Delaware Children’s museum to learn about the Earth. We also have the students learn about aerial photography by having them trace different features on the map using transparencies and they get to take them home as well.

In November of 2015 on GIS Day, Nicole Minni took a class on a field trip to the Delaware Children's museum to learn about the Earth by walking into this 20-foot inflatable Earth balloon.
Nicole Minni took a class on a field trip to the Delaware Children’s museum to learn about the Earth by walking into this 20-foot inflatable Earth balloon.


What did you gain from the experience? What do you think your educator collaborator and/or the students gained?  The GIS Day Committee consists of seven people. We also have approximately 18 volunteers and 17 station chiefs for the day of the event. We all gain so much knowledge from hosting this event. We learn from the kids and what questions they ask and what their experience is. We also learn from the educators how they experienced the event. We provide a survey each year, so we can continue to improve and make it the most memorable experience. The kids are exposed to approximately 15 different careers in GIS, which is exciting.

Additional comments: We all love being a GeoMentor!