Safe Passage Fourth Grade Geography Class Expedition to Guatemala’s Relief Map

As part of our transition towards a full-day accredited school, we selected Expeditionary Learning as our new teaching methodology for full-day students in grades three and four.

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Expeditionary Learning focuses on providing students with engaging, relevant curriculum that inspires them to lead their own learning.

We do this through hands-on activities that blend core academics including science, history, geography and math into expeditions that bring students into their community to learn about and report on real-world content.

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One example of a recent expedition brought our fourth grade students to the relief map of Guatemala, a three-dimensional topographical map of Guatemala and Belize that was created in 1905. It shows major cities, volcanoes, rivers, and interesting features throughout the two countries, and is reported as the only three-dimensional cement map in the world.

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The map itself covers 1,800 square feet and is immensely detailed and is an accurate representation of the diverse geography of Guatemala and surrounding areas. Because the focus of this expedition was on geography, students were tasked with locating and reporting on certain landforms on the map.

The opportunity to have a bird’s eye view of their home country and surrounding landscape gave students a sense of place and helped them understand how they are part of a much larger community.

This kind of relevant curriculum is exactly what Expeditionary Learning is all about.

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