Giant map takes students to South America

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Texas Tech education faculty Reese Todd asks Zia Elementary sixth graders to show the flow patterns of rivers in South America Wednesday on the National Geographic Giant Traveling Map at Central Baptist Church.

Liliana Castillo

Clovis students walked across South America this week.

It was a basketball court-sized National Geographic Giant Traveling Map of the continent brought to town by an education faculty member at Texas Tech University in nearby Lubbock.

National Geographic is striving for 20,000 feet on the map in 12 weeks and Clovis was one of the maps’ stops on the way.

Students at Zia Elementary spent time on the map — barefoot — Tuesday and Wednesday. La Casita students get their chance Thursday and Friday, and the public will have a chance to view the map from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Clovis-Carver Public Library in the Ingram Room.

Zia sixth grade teacher Jennifer Estrada’s sixth grade class are working with Texas Tech educator Reese Todd on the map Wednesday at Central Baptist Church.

The students used chains to trace rivers that were longer than they were tall and competed in relay races against to locations on the map.

“I like how it allows them to be so tactile with it,” Estrada said.

Estrada said the lesson on the map was part of a social studies lesson and therefore fit into the state standards.

“They can interact with this map more than any other,” Estrada said.

The social studies teacher at Zia had the class create their own map of South America to prepare themselves for the basketball court-sized map and Estrada said it is good for them to be able to see it up close after that.

Sixth-grader Chad Walorod said he couldn’t believe how big the map was.

“I’m amazed at how detailed it is,” he said.

Walorod said it was fun to walk across the map.

Sixth grader Alejandra Montgomery said the “huge” map was a blast.

“I think the people who made this map had to be a little bit of a genius,” she said. “Just to make it that big and letting kids have a fun day on it.”

Montgomery said she liked the feeling of the map under her feet and enjoyed the detail of the map.

“It’s the funnest map I’ve ever learned from,” she said.

Todd said the traveling map is intended to increase geographic literacy across the country.

On this trip, the map will visit 15 rural school districts, Todd said.

“We know as educators that it is better to have students engaged in activity than anything else. This map provides way for kids to interact as much as possible,” she said.

Todd said she brought the map of South America because the continent is less studied than North America.

“My thought was that it is another continent that we don’t know as well so we can broaden our knowledge,” she said.