Reflection: Adjustments to Practice SKILL BUILDER: Geographic information systems - Section 6: EXIT: Layer love


A fun and interactive way to introduce GIS to students is through geocaching. Geocaching is essential a scavenger hunt aided by GIS technology. I am thinking of structuring a beginning of course geocaching activity in the actual Sunset Park or nearby Bush Terminal Park. Objects found could be related to course concepts, such as oyster shells, food labels, and maps. Prizes could be awarded to teams demonstrating the best collaborative behavior. 

In an ideal world I would create a geocaching game for the entire Sunset Park neighborhood. This would push students to engage with their neighborhood through technology and learn about environmental science concepts in the process. Unfortunately, there would be too many liability issues with this idea.

An alternative could be a digital geocaching game derivative in which students use clues provided to find locations on a map. This might be a much more engaging way for students to learn about digital mapping and GIS features.  Here is a recent feature about geocaching that provides a basic overview of this kind of activity. (The video is attached.)

Another teacher move I am considering is to celebrate GIS Day this November 18th. This could involve community building activities such as:

  • students make GIS "nametags" (maps of where they were born)
  • students create a GIS layer that represents who they are 

  Adjustments to Practice: Geocaching and GIS Day
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SKILL BUILDER: Geographic information systems

Unit 3: Environmental justice
Lesson 8 of 16

Objective: Students will be able to 1) describe general applications of GIS; 2) identify the basic features of GIS; and 3) explain a current area of GIS research.

Big Idea: Geographic information systems have transformed the relationship between humans and maps. How might we engage with an interactive gis tutorial to develop our understanding of the nuances of gis?

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Science, Mapping
  55 minutes
geographic information systems
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