Geography Club hosts Science Expo students
On Saturday, March 4th, Geography Club created several displays to highlight the various technologies that geographer use, and the kinds of questions they can ask and answer. This even was part of a lager campus even where visiting middle and high school students, who were entrants into the Mid-Willamette Valley Science Expo, had a couple of hours to look at some labs around campus while their projects were being judged.
We had several displays up. We introduced maps and projections, highlighting the Peter’s Projection and the so-called upside-down map of the world. We then let them run around to various stations we had set up. InflatoGlobe was up and several of the students enjoyed seeing the inside of it and tracing different parts of the world. We also had a Mercator game where you can try and place the shapes of countries over their proper spot. The game is a clever way to highlight the distortion of maps. We had two versions of virtual reality with Google Cardboard and an Occulus Rift. Both of these were quite popular as student got to see tours of the Grand canyon and cities throughout the world. We also had a GIS Station and some footage from the unmanned aerial vehicle that the River Research Group had taken.
While several of our Geography Club members were a little nervous to work with middle schoolers (!), they did a fantastic job showing them the techniques and ways that geographers can use all these fancy tools to ask real and important questions about the world. We even generated so much interest that one of the visiting students bought one of our T-Shirts! We received great reviews from the students, and several were genuinely interested, realizing that the issues they care about are well-suited to geographical inquiry. We received fabulous feedback from the organizers in the College of Arts & Sciences, who sent along this comment from one of the teachers that was with the group:
The geography lab tour was very engaging. I had a few reluctant learners with me at that, and they were engaged by the VR software.
We’ll take it.