ANCHORAGE - A giant map of North America covered half of the gym at Goldenview Middle School while sock-footed seventh-graders listen to an interactive lecture.
"Notice where the biggest cities on the map are," the instructor told the group. The kids walked on the map, looking at the largest population centers clustered on the East Coast, California and in Mexico -- places much warmer than these kids' hometown. This makes sense to Bernard Lacey. "If a place is warmer, people tend to gravitate there, as opposed to farther northern cities where its too cold for a lot of people to come." But that's not all they noticed: Cities center around trade routes and waterways.
They also looked at latitude and longitude, standing on the lines and learning the numbers.
This map is touring the state to help teach kids about geography. The 35-by-26-foot depiction of North America is a collaboration between the University of Alaska and National Geographic. The map heads north next, to Nenana.