On top of the world: Giant map teaches geography at Marine Elementary

Teacher Bevin O’Brien spoke with her class as they tried to find capitol cities on the National Geographic Giant Map at Marine Elementary on Wednesday. (Gazette staff photo by Avery Cropp)

Teacher Bevin O’Brien spoke with her class as they tried to find capitol cities on the National Geographic Giant Map at Marine Elementary on Wednesday. (Gazette staff photo by Avery Cropp)

MARINE ON ST. CROIX— If you could walk across the whole North American continent in just steps, would you?

Students at Marine Elementary accomplished this feat with a giant traveling National Geographic map that took up residence in the school gym Feb. 12.

The map was brought in as a precursor to a maps unit that will soon begin for second-graders. Classes covered finding boundaries and capitol cities; identifying natural and man-made features on the map; and learning about different types of bodies of water and physical features like islands.

“We’re going to start studying maps really seriously in second grade very soon,” second-grade teacher Bevin O’Brien told her class. “Not only of North America but of places that you’ve never visited or heard of before.”

O’Brien is the one responsible for bringing the National Geographic map to Marine, and she hopes it brings geography alive for kids.

Several other activities are included with the giant map so that students can continue to learn as they grow older.

“Experiencing a map of this size can really awaken a student to the power of maps and the limitless depth of geography,” said Dan Beaupré, National Geographic’s director of education partnerships for National Geographic Live. “Whether they are using the map to learn place names or to compare state-to-state CO2 emissions, students are physically involved in a hands- and feet-on way that makes geography into an event.”

The map is expected to return next year.

Contact Avery Cropp at avery.cropp@ecm-inc.com 

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