A Fifth Grader's Guide to the Worldby: April D. Purcell, Alyson L. Ponomarenko, and Stephen C. Brown

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The challenge for today's elementary teachers is not whether but rather how to use computers to effectively teach students essential skills and concepts. One exciting way of meeting this challenge is to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS), computer software that captures, manipulates, analyzes, and displays data on specialized layered maps. GIS links together commonly seen map features, such as bodies of water or county boundaries, with information such as pollution levels or population density, making it possible to see relationships that otherwise might not be apparent when viewing static map.

  • Elementary
  • Middle
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Reviews (5)
  • on Thu May 23, 2019 10:44 PM

This article was very informative! I agree with the authors that technology is an essential component to modern teaching. This article provides a unique perspective on using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Before reading this article, I was unaware of how many different ways this technology could be intertwined into science teaching. It even includes an "about GIS" section for those who are not familiar with this technology and all that it does. I would recommend this article to any educator who is interested in this topic.

Sara W
Sara W

  • on Tue May 21, 2019 8:35 PM

I loved this article! I was able to gain some insight into teaching fifth grade. I specifically liked how it broke down the five E's. I think this really helps with thinking of different ways to teach science and reach all of different learners. My absolute favorite part is the information under the heading outcomes. It explains why the 5's are important and work. I highly suggest reading this article.

Jaime N
Jaime N

  • on Mon May 20, 2013 4:04 PM

The acronym GIS stands for Geographic Information Systems. This soft ware allows people to use their computer to capture, manipulate, analyze, and display data on specialized maps that can layer over areas of the globe. This is not a new concept but it has many useful applications for students. Aside from learning about GIS there is a study done to two groups. One group experiences a 5E lesson plan without GIS software and the other group gets a similar lesson using the GIS software. You will have to read the article to see how they compare.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Fri Mar 25, 2011 2:48 PM

This article focuses on how to effectively use computers to teach Earth Science using the Geographic Information System (GIS). I really liked that this article outlined the lessons using the 5E model and provided step by step instructions for implementing in a classroom. Lesson plans and student activity sheets are included at the end of the article. Unfortunately, two of the internet links included in the resources section of the article are no longer active. These links are necessary to conduct this lesson; however, educators should be able to find active websites with similar information and modify the included instruction materials to use the active sites.

Maureen Stover  (Seaside, CA)
Maureen Stover (Seaside, CA)

  • on Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:50 AM

This article gives a nice introduction on how to use GIS software using a 5E lesson plan. Its testing results indicated that GIS software was more effective in teaching certain geographical concepts. One major problem is that most of the websites no longer exist. A teacher would have to research in order to find alternate websites.

Betty Paulsell  (Kansas City, MO)
Betty Paulsell (Kansas City, MO)

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