GIS Day with High School Juniors in California

GeoMentor Volunteer: Lane Simmons

Location: Grass Valley, California

Grade level of participating students: 11th

Activity Theme/Focus: US History & Math

Number of Participants: 22

How did you connect with your collaborator? The Teacher is a good friend from college. Over the years we often talked about bringing GIS to his classroom. I learned about AAG’s GeoMentor program through an email newsletter and brought the idea to him this past summer.

Describe your collaboration process. The teacher and I seriously began planning introducing GIS to the school in August with continued bi-monthly emails and a few phone calls the week before GIS Day (November).

Describe your tasks/involvement. I presented at GIS Day. My audience was an 11th grade US History class. The charter school focuses on project based learning, this class in particular is looking at a proposed dam on the Bear River as a way to learn physics, math and history. Each class plans a major outdoor expedition each semester that relates to their studies. In the spring we’ll use GIS to plan their route for a 5 day snow camping expedition. I also helped the math teacher contact Esri about ArcGIS online subscriptions for his school.

What did you gain from the experience? What do you think your educator collaborator and/or the students gained? The school was very excited about the GeoInquiry lessons, especially US History. I shared several other ArcGIS Online lesson plans with my friend and his colleagues, all of which were received with great enthusiasm.

Additional comments: Loved the entire experience and look forward to more! The students had great questions about remote sensing, especially LiDAR. My former firm in Sacramento completed a laser scan about 5 years ago of a nearby dam, I reached out to the PLS involved recently to see if they’d like to present it to the class and/or school.