On May 14, the South Hamilton Elementary 5th grade traveled to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, NE to see the endangered animals and big cats they researched in conjunction with National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative. It was a great day, filled with learning, laughter, and animals! A big cat animal keeper also spoke to the 5th grade about his job and taking care of tigers, jaguars, lions, and other big cats. The 5th grade enjoyed asking the keeper questions and seeing the endangered big cats and animals they are helping raise awareness for.
GAI Coordinator, Dr. Alex Oberle, and Undergraduate Research Assistant, Mollie Ullestad, traveled to South Hamilton Elementary (Jewell, IA) with UNI's mascots, TC and TK, to spread awareness about National Geographic's Big Cats Initiative. South Hamilton students are participating in a reading week with the theme "Save the Big Cats", and the 5th grade is doing a research project about environmental conservation and endangered species, including big cats.
UNI undergraduate Social Science Education students, Blair Miller, Sibyl Cox, and Mollie Ullestad presented their INSPIRE-related curricular materials at the 2014 National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference in Boston, MA in November. Along with Dr. Alex Oberle, they co-presented a poster describing how to integrate high-altitude ballooning, a text set, and lesson plans into the classroom. They met with geography educators from around the country, and shared their lesson plans and classroom ideas.
November 28-December 5, 2014 is Nat Geo WILD's Big Cat Week. Its a week totally dedicated to the world's big cats- lions, tigers, cheetahs, panthers, etc. These beautiful and powerful creatures are rapidly facing extinction. Big Cat Week provides stunning and powerful stories from around the world, and allows viewers to share in the triumphs, defeats, and struggles of our planet's big cats.
For the past 25 years, the third week of November has been proclaimed Geography Awareness Week. Geography Awareness Week is organized by National Geographic Education Programs and encourages citizens to think and learn about the significance of place and how we affect/are affected by it.
The GAI hosted Dr. Dick Boehm and Dr. Carmen Brysch from the Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education (Texas State University). Dr. Boehm and Dr. Brysch co-led sessions at the inaugural IA Department of Education "Best Practices in Social Studies Institute" in Des Moines. Institute topics included "Teaching With the Stars" and on-line mapping.
The GAI co-hosted a geography/literacy workshop at North Polk HS with the Mid-Iowa School Improvement Consortium (MISIC). The workshop provided the resources and expertise to develop a model "text set" that links geography content with the Common Core E/LA. Model text sets will be posted on the GAI site in the coming months and examples include US westward expansion and evaluating Brazil's World Cup and Olympic investments considering the nation's socioeconomic gap.
UNI's beloved mascot, "TC", fully supports National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative! Big Cats is an action committed to saving lions, tigers, panthers (like "TC"), leopards, jaguars, and other big cats in the wild. The goal of the initiative is the long-term survival of big cats by reducing threats, such as poaching and snaring, keeping the peace between cats and local farmers, and community outreach and engagement.