Giant traveling map at Minden Elementary |

Giant traveling map at Minden Elementary

Staff Reports

Lauren Spires' fourth-grade class at Minden Elementary School looks for landmarks on a map of the Paciific Ocean at school on Thursday.
Shannon Litz | The Record-Courier

Students at Minden Elementary School are diving into the wonders of the Pacific Ocean with one of the world’s largest maps of the world’s largest ocean.

The map, measuring 26-by-35 feet will be on loan to the school until Thursday through National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Maps program.

“Last year our students experienced the South America and Europe giant maps for a few days each as they passed through the area. The hands-on learning activities were so well-received by teachers and students alike that we asked our parent group to fund the visit of this map for two weeks this year,” said Pam Ertel, third-grade teacher, one of the map coordinators. “Classes will have the opportunity to visit the map at least twice during that time. Everyone is very enthusiastic about having this fun method of learning back at our school.”

The map introduces students to explore some of the unexpected geography at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean: from the deepest place on earth, the Mariana Trench, to the world’s tallest mountain, Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, which has its base on the ocean floor.

Teachers are also provided with a set of activities to help students interact with the map.

“Families are welcome to check out the map and activities with their children 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at our Family Geography Night,” Bill Harvey, sixth-grade teacher, added.

“We are excited to share this new map with audiences around the United States. Maps of this size are a powerful medium for helping young people relate to the world,” said Dan Beaupré, National Geographic’s director of education partnerships for National Geographic Live. “We believe these giant Pacific maps will be an effective tool for creating responsible stewards of our planet.”

In addition to school venues, the maps appear at museums, festivals, fairs, and corporate and educational conferences.

To learn more about the Giant Traveling Map project, for borrowing information or to download map activities, visit