Huge National Geographic map coming to Truckee Elementary | SierraSun.com

Huge National Geographic map coming to Truckee Elementary

Ashley Staron
Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Students at Truckee Elementary School in Truckee will soon be exploring North America in a big way — with one of the world's largest maps of the continent.

Sponsored by the Truckee Elementary PTO, the map, measuring 35 feet by 26 feet, gives student explorers a fun, interactive experience through rich content and exciting activities that enliven the study of geography.

It will be at Truckee Elementary from March 16-27, as part of National Geographic's Giant Traveling Maps program, organized by National Geographic Live, the public programming division of the National Geographic Society.

There will be an event on March 26 at the school at the school, next to Truckee High at 11725 Donner Pass Road,f rom 6-7:30 p.m. for families and community member to come experience this fantastic learning opportunity.

The brightly colored, smooth vinyl surface of the map accurately illustrates North America's oceans, seas, rivers, mountains, countries and capitals. The map, designed for grades K-8, comes with a trunk full of accessories, including interactive games, geography adventures, atlases and books that teach students about the physical characteristics of the continent as well as its rich history and varied cultures.

One of the activities included is "A Tale of Twenty Cities," in which students explore the physical and economic reasons behind the locations of North American cities.

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"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."

National Geographic's Giant Traveling Maps program was introduced in 2006 with a map of Africa, and has since expanded to include maps of North America, Asia, South America, Europe and the Pacific Ocean.

To learn more about the Giant Traveling Map project, for borrowing information, or to download map activities, visit http://www.nationalgeographic.com/giantmaps.

The National Geographic Society is one of the world's largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to "increase and diffuse geographic knowledge," the Society's mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 400 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; exhibitions; live events; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise.

National Geographic has funded more than 9,600 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit http://www.nationalgeographic.com.

Ashley Staron is a fourth-grade teacher at Truckee Elementary School.