Professors Create Geography Workshop To Help Second-Graders Learn Map-Reading Skills

News Release

DATE: April 28, 2006
CONTACT: John Davis,

LUBBOCK – Two Texas Tech University professors are piloting a new teaching tool that uses technology and an elementary school’s neighborhood to help second-graders learn to read a map, understand aerial imagery and create geographic awareness of their local environment.

Reese Todd, an assistant professor in the College of Education, and Tina Delahunty, assistant professor in the Department of Economics and Geography, created a four-stage exercise that trains children to understand directions, scale, perspective and map symbols.

Their project uses children’s literature to show aerial perspective in picture books, Todd said. Then, instructors and students map neighborhood streets and landmarks around the school with masking tape on the floor. Also, children are shown aerial photographs of the neighborhood and asked to pick familiar landmarks. Children create their own aerial perspective landscape paintings at the end of the lesson.

During the second workshop, children are shown older aerial photographs so they can identify changes and development.

“We are contributing to increasing geography literacy in the state of Texas,” Todd said. “There’s a new report from the National Research Council that says there is a decrease in the number of minutes of social studies instruction in the kindergarten-through-fifth-grade classrooms. By the time students get into grades six through 12, they don’t have the foundational knowledge they’d need to do the work in sixth, seventh and eighth grades.”

Delahunty said the workshop was funded with a National Geographic Society Education Foundation grant. The professors presented their workshop in November at the National Conference for Geographic Education in Birmingham, Ala.

“National Geographic reports that now, more than ever, geographic literacy is necessary to understand global events,” Delahunty said. “U.S. citizens ranked second to

last in a nine-country geographic literacy survey. The National Research Council now is stressing the importance of geographic literacy in the kindergarten-through-12th grade curriculum. We’re just trying to do our part. But, what is great is that the children just love the learning activities. It is amazing how quickly they pick up the concepts.”

Delahunty and Todd will teach workshops at 12:30 p.m. Monday at Arnett Elementary School, 701 E. Queens St.; 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at Idalou Elementary School, 601 S. Walnut Ave.; and 1 p.m. May 8 at Casey Elementary School, 501 Seventh St. in Wolfforth.

Media should contact Todd or Delahunty before attending the classes.


CONTACT: Tina Delahunty, assistant professor in the Department of Economics and Geography, (561) 414-4372, or; or Reese Todd, assistant professor in the College of Education, (806) 742-1997 ext. 281 or