Friends and colleagues Sarah Caban (editor of the My Wonderful World blog) and Maggie Strassman (intern and recently-graduated University of Wisconsin Madison geography department superstar) have lined up a bevy of fired-up contributors for the first annual Geography Awareness Week Blog-a-Thon. The week, which runs through Saturday, coincides with the National Geographic Channel’s Expedition Week, and highlights the importance of geography education in the United States.
This year’s theme—Get Lost in Mapping: Find Your Place in the World—celebrates geospatial tools such as location-aware mobile devices (got your iPhone or Droid handy?), satellite imagery, and community mapping platforms such as Google Earth and FieldScope, the Geographic’s new school-based collaborative mapping and citizen science application.
The theme also celebrates traditional paper maps, with a twist: You can download and print spectacular wall-size mosaic maps of Europe and the Americas (using 112 sheets of 8-and-a-half by 11-inch paper), as well as smaller mosaic wall maps of the world, each of the continents, each of the oceans, a number of Asian regions, the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Recommendation: Laminate the pages of the maps, get some erasable markers, and you can use them for activities and games again and again. Nat Geo’s education team covered a wall around the corner from my office with the large Europe map, and take it from me, it’s spectacular.
You’ll find lots more ideas for things to do on our Geography Awareness Week page and the My Wonderful World blog. At a minimum (if you haven’t already), I hope you’ll mark the week by joining the My Wonderful World campaign to give kids the power of global knowledge. While you’re at it, you can test your own Global IQ with questions from the 2006 Roper poll of geographic literacy.