Saturday, June 24, 2017

Perils of Ignorance


What does this map represent? The more you know about geography, the more difficult it is to hazard a guess. But few could guess what it actually represents: some of the places chosen by 1,746 adults in the United States who were asked to locate North Korea on a map.

North Korea.

Only 36 percent put a dot inside the country, with the other 64 percent of answers encompassing a few million square miles of error. In this recent study, as reported by Kevin Quealy in the New York Times, respondents were asked not only to find North Korea on a map, but also to respond to various diplomatic and military responses to recent provocative actions there. 

Not surprisingly, those least likely to know where the place is were the most likely to be willing to attack it militarily. The article includes links to similar studies that have demonstrated similar tendencies. With care, classroom exercises could explore similar relationships between geographic awareness and the willingness to engage diplomatically.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Congratulations Massachusetts Geo Bee Winner

The Massachusetts Geographic Alliance congratulates Theodore Batty for his success as the 2017 winner of the Massachusetts Geography Bee. Theodore is a 6th grader at the Jenkins School in Scituate. 

Theodore will be representing Massachusetts in the national finals of the National Geography Bee on May 14th in Washington, DC.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Geography Day on Beacon Hill - April 19, 2017

EarthView in Nurses Hall, Massachusetts State House
Photo Credit: Ashley Costa Harris
Bridgewater State University Geography '13
This image appears on the first page of the National Standards for geography education.
The Massachusetts Geographic Alliance and Bridgewater State University will be returning to Beacon Hill on Wednesday, April 19, 2017 to celebrate and promote geographic education.

Sox are required when
entering EarthView
The highlight of the visit will be EarthView, a 20-foot inflatable globe of the earth that will be in Nurses Hall from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Project EarthView is a joint endeavor of the Department of Geography and the Center for the Advancement of STEM Education at BSU. By bringing people inside a physical globe of the earth, the project allows people to understand the planet and their connection to it in a different light. Since acquiring the globe in 2008, the BSU team has reached more than 80,000 students -- mostly middle-school students -- throughout Massachusetts and beyond.

Visits to the State House and other public venues serve to remind everyone of the importance of geography education, during a period in which it is shockingly absent from high-school curricula.

Geography Awareness Day on Beacon Hill will take place on Patriot's Day, in the middle of April vacation week, and in the lead-up to Earth Day. It is a reminder that geography is an integrative discipline that brings together global thinking and scientific literacy, in ways that learners can apply to daily life. In geography, after all, the "real world" is a big part of what we do.
The hand-painted EarthView globe is also a great example of STEM to STEAM
thinking -- bringing Art to STEM education.
During the day, geography students, geography educators, and geography professionals will be visiting the offices of legislators to discuss the importance of geographic literacy, and ways that the Commonwealth can promote it. Whether they can attend or not, friends of geography are encouraged to invite their representatives and senators to spend a few minutes in Nurses Hall with this beautiful and educational work of art.

More details at the Facebook event.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Geography Bee

The Massachusetts round of the National Geographic Geography Bee will be held Friday, April 2 in Chicopee. Congratulations to the 2016 qualifiers from throughout the state, including defending Massachusetts champion Inwook (Lucy) Chae of Newton Centre.

The winner will go on to the national championships in Washington, DC on May 22-25. Although Soledad O'Brien will be asking the questions in that final event, the Bee is the work of 10,000 geography educators throughout the United States who use the contest as a way to build enthusiasm for learning about the world through geography.

Bridgewater State University geography student Jason Covert has once again prepared a map of the Massachusetts participants -- 100 students from many parts of the Bay State.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Musical Themes

Just for fun this morning, two items that illustrate geography themes with popular music lyrics.

First is place:

©John Atkinson on Wrong Hands

Then movement:
 SIC: Georgia is spelled as pronounced in the song.
Activity: Add your own places and/or modes of transport.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Geography on Nightside: The Podcast

Thanks to all of the MassGEO members and friends who tuned in to the recent appearance of geographers Vernon Domingo and James Hayes-Bohanan on Nightside with Dan Rea last Monday night.

If you missed it, you can hear the entire program -- including some quizzes, banter, and serious discussion about the politics of geography education -- on Dan's podcast of the show.

Friends of geography who live in Massachusetts can do their part by contacting legislators in support of the bills we discussed on air.


Friday, January 8, 2016

Map Thief Author @ State House

The Map Thief by Michael Blanding
Thursday, January 21, 2016—Noon to 1:00 pm
State Library of Massachusetts—Room 341, Massachusetts State House


The January Author Talk at the Massachusetts State Library should be of special interest to geographers. Award-winning investigative journalist and best-selling author Michael Blanding, who will be speaking about his recent book The Map Thief.

In this engrossing book, Blanding delves into the world of the antique map trade and tells the story of E. Forbes Smiley III, a map dealer who stole countless rare maps from libraries and universities around the world.  In addition to detailing the downfall of this once esteemed map dealer, The Map Thief also reveals the history of the explorers and mapmakers who created the priceless maps that Smiley stole, giving the reader an even better understanding of the great loss to society when such cultural heritage items go missing.

Mr. Blanding’s talk is free and open to the public, and copies of the book The Map Thief will be available for purchase and signing at the event. Please register online. (LINK REPAIRED 1/16)

The State Library is located near the top of the State House. In the same area, geographers will be interested to find the Commonwealth's official 50-foot scale -- made of wood installed along a hallway.

Arrive early to clear security as you enter the building.