Baxter Elementary School’s (in Baxter, MN) 4th grade classes celebrated GIS Day November 14th, when students learned about the importance of geography, maps and geographic information systems.

The GIS Day celebrations were led by local GIS small business Pro-West & Associates, whose Solutions Engineer, Kyle Wikstrom, partnered with the 4th grade teachers to share with their students how geography and maps are used to solve critical real-world issues and are integrated into everyday activities.

Students learned about coordinates and how the earth is measured in order to go on their own world scavenger hunt by using online maps to search for locations using only latitude and longitude. Students also created their own maps of their school, homes, and classrooms showing their spatial awareness of the places that are important to them.

GIS Day is an international movement and celebration of geographic technology that teaches geography and real-world applications of GIS. This fun day is dedicated to discovering and exploring how GIS helps answer simple and complex questions.

Location technology engages critical elements in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and is well suited to driving problem-based learning (PBL). The Baxter Elementary 4th grade students got to engage in the ways that STEM professionals do in thousands of career fields every day.

“Learning how maps are used to solve real-life problems had a huge impact on our students. They were engaged and inquisitive, and quickly discovered how technology and geography come together to answer important questions about our world. GIS Day was a wonderful opportunity to learn about the real world right from our own classroom”

– Mandy Dens, 4th grade teacher

Pro-West was excited to share the world of geography and GIS with Baxter Elementary, and appreciated the warm welcome and enthusiasm!

4th grade teacher Mandy Dens’ class learns about the importance of GIS.

Students learn about how latitude and longitude are used to measure the earth from geographer and Pro-West Solutions Engineer, Kyle Wikstrom.

Students went on their own world scavenger hunt using nothing but latitude and longitude.

Students discovered how the world is seen from above while searching for locations using only latitude and longitude.