Learning large at a Heartland school

Students in a Missouri school are putting themselves on the map.

As part of helping students to learn their place on the world, the National Geographic Society gave ‘The National Geographic Giant Traveling Map of Missouri’ to the state.

National Geographic has given a giant map to each state.

Ray Miller Elementary School in Kirksville has the map this week.

At 16' x 20', the giant map of Missouri is supersizing learning.

“National Geographic says that they've found that the smaller the child, the bigger the map they need to actually comprehend the whole concept of maps,” said Rachel Pitocco, 4th grade teacher at Ray Miller Elementary.

“Usually we would be asked questions out of a book with a picture of it but it's more fun because you can walk around and actually see it,” said Serenity Craig, a student at Ray Miller Elementary.

“We've measured the lengths of rivers, we've done ‘Simon Says’ to get them to different places on the map, they're doing an activity right now where they can only use cardinal directions to make somebody move to a certain place on the map, so practicing those, we also practice the grid system, and talked about latitude and longitude,” said Pitocco.

The map has bright colors to show cities, bodies of water, and the state's capitol.

“We've been learning about, where we've been, like where places are,” said Ray Miller Elementary student Caleb Pickett.

The map comes with items like blocks to help students visualize concepts like population density.

“There is a lot of people in St. Louis. There's tons,” said Kaylee McKin.

Even though the students grew up in a world accessible though Google Maps, taking a step on a vinyl map is showing to be an innovative learning experience.

“It's been amazing, for example in social studies today, they were talking about Independence, and this was one of the first years I could say, do you know where Independence is, and yes they did because they were just on it yesterday,” said Pitocco.

Any school in Missouri can use the map from the National Geographic Society, free of charge.

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