Place Based Geospatial Education for Alaska

Teacher and Student Guide – Grades 6-12 | Second Edition, 2012

The MapTEACH curriculum is designed to help students both (1) understand the physical and cultural features of their environment, and (2) use mapping technologies to enhance and portray that new understanding. Consequently, the curriculum consists of two parts: the lessons themselves and the software and data needed to complete the GIS and GPS lessons. Lessons are organized into the following sections for ease of use:


Introduction and Table of Contents
Click to view the Intro & TOC here.

Section 1: Place Names and Landmarks
These lessons seek to answer the question “How do you know where you are?” by grounding students in an appreciation of their own mental maps and then expanding this to include understanding and documentation of the place names and landscape knowledge of local experts. This work is based on the belief that there are many ways to “know” where you are and that each way of knowing contributes to our overall understanding of the landscape.
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Section 2: Remote Sensing and Geology

These hands-on lessons introduce students to remotely sensed imagery by exploring local air photo imagery, stereo pair photographs and topographic maps, and using these maps and images to evaluate river erosion and change over time. These lessons are not only interesting and relevant in their own right, but provide a solid introduction to the imagery used in several of the GIS lessons.
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Section 3: Global Positioning System

These lessons guide students through the basic uses of handheld Global Positioning System (GPS) units by finding and placing geocaches, documenting waypoints, and downloading location information into a computer in order to create a map of a place or a journey. Map-making lessons include advanced elements of GIS (Geographic Information Systems).
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Section 4: Geographic Information Systems

These lessons enable students to use GIS mapping technology to enhance and portray their understanding of the world around them by: (1) exploring the fundamental concept that maps are made of layers of data and a computer allows us to stack these layers in many different ways; and (2) manipulating existing data layers and adding their own data to generate original maps of personal, cultural or scientific interest. These lessons were created using screenshots and directions for Mac computers, but the software also works on PC computers (and an appendix describing how to adapt the lessons is included in this curriculum).
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Section 5: Google Earth

These lessons enable students to use basic Google Earth technology to enhance and portray their understanding of the world around them by: (1) importing waypoints and photos into placemarkers to create virtual maps; and (2) using a variety of other data layers to illustrate concepts of change over distance and time.
View and download lessons here!