Students in Mrs. Nix’s fifth-grade class at PCES examine the giant map of Africa on Tuesday.
Students in Mrs. Nix’s fifth-grade class at PCES examine the giant map of Africa on Tuesday.

Archived Story

Giant map comes to PCES

Published 5:58pm Thursday, October 31, 2013

PHIL CAMPBELL – Students in Phil Campbell took a field trip to Africa this week, but they didn’t have to go any further than the Phil Campbell Elementary School gymnasium to get there.

This past week, pre-K through sixth grade students at PCES, as well as several classes at PCHS, got the chance to experience the giant traveling map of Africa, which is a large floor map that measures 26 feet by 36 feet when spread out on the floor of the PCES gymnasium.

Linda Spurgeon, who teaches geography to high school students at Phil Campbell High School, was responsible for finding out about the giant map program last year while she was attending an Alabama Geographic Alliance conference.

Spurgeon was able to secure a map of Asia for the Phil Campbell schools and since it was such a hit with the students, she said she wanted to house another giant map at their school this year.

“The kids all had a great time with the giant map of Asia, and they have really seemed to love the Africa map we had this year,” she said.

Spurgeon said the giant map was made possible through funding from the Alabama Geographic Alliance, the National Geographic Education Foundation and donations from supporters, so it doesn’t cost the school anything to house it for the two days it was there.

“This has been a really great thing for our students because they’ve been able to get hands-on experience with the world around them,” PCES principal Jackie Ergle said.

“They’re learning about different cultures and different animals that live in these places.”

Spurgeon said Ergle coordinated several volunteers from the elementary school’s PTO organization who came in to conduct the learning sessions with the map.

“There was a trunk full of lesson plans, games, activities and other material that you can use in coordination with the map,” Spurgeon said.

“With the younger grades, we’ve mainly just stuck with the map ‘tour’ that walks them through several of the countries in Africa and gives them facts about the countries.

“With the older grades, we used some of the activities and games. That’s the great thing about this map is that it is adaptable. Even my high school students enjoyed getting out of the classroom and interacting with the map through games.

“The high school JAG students were also a big help by helping with some of the elementary classes when they came to see the map.”

Spurgeon said anytime they have the opportunity to participate in a program that gets the students excited about learning, they’ll always jump at the chance.

“We are very appreciative to have the map travel to our school and help our students learn more about the world,” Spurgeon said.

“If this experience can get them interested in geography and the world around them, then it’s done its job.”

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