Smallest state goes ‘giant’ with interactive map for students

Smallest state goes ‘giant’ with interactive map for students

Rian Juei O. Manarang of Northern Lincoln Elementary, explores a giant map of Rhode Island provided by the state’s geography alliance group. The “traveling map” was delivered to the Lincoln school recently. (Breeze photo by Brittany Ballantyne)

LINCOLN – The smallest state seemed larger for students at Northern Lincoln Elementary School, after a giant, interactive map of Rhode Island, equipped with QR codes, was delivered to the school.

Margaret Rock, a 5th-grade teacher at Northern, explained that the map, which measures 16 feet by 24 feet, was loaned to the school by the Rhode Island Geography Education Alliance, and classes had the opportunity recently to use the “traveling map,” which makes its rounds through Rhode Island schools, for two weeks.

While Rhode Island is tiny, Rock explained, she hoped this map and associated QR codes showed students “there really is a lot outside Lincoln and Manville,” inspired them to travel and encouraged their families to travel with them to different areas of the state. Each grade was able to use the map, Rock explained, and teachers selected different instructional activities appropriate for their students’ ages.

The map came with a trunk of additional materials, she said, including copies of the book “Rhode Island – The Ocean State” by Donald D’Amato, inflatable globes, geography and social studies picture vocabulary cards, a Rhode Island flag and other items, such as small traffic cones, scavenger hunt cards, bingo chips and a binder with organized lesson plans and more information for teachers.

Having these visuals and hands-on experience, Rock said, will boost students’ understanding of not only their specific location, but where they are in relation to other regions of Rhode Island.

“Sometimes people think with GPS, you don’t need maps anymore, but you really do,” the 5th-grade teacher explained.

Students in her class dove into geography lessons, analyzing physical, political and cultural maps, as well as time zone maps and specific area charts that outline landmarks in Washington, D.C.

“I imagine showing them more of the state of Rhode Island,” she said.