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Baxter students celebrate GIS Day

A group photograph of the Baxter Elementary School fourth-grade class taught by Mandy Dens. The class participated Wednesday in Geographic Information Systems Day. Submitted Photo

Baxter Elementary School fourth-graders celebrated Geographic Information Systems Day Wednesday, Nov. 14, when learning about the importance of geography, maps and GIS.

The GIS Day celebrations were led by GIS small business Pro-West & Associates, with

solutions engineer Kyle Wikstrom partnering with fourth-grade teachers to share how geography and maps are used to solve critical real-world issues and are integrated into everyday activities. Students learned about coordinates and how the earth is measured in order to go on their own world scavenger hunt by using online maps to search for locations using only latitude and longitude. Students also created their own maps of their school, homes and classrooms, showing their spatial awareness of the places important to them.

GIS Day is an international movement and celebration of geographic technology teaching

geography and real-world applications of GIS, a news release stated. This day is dedicated to discovering and exploring how GIS helps answer simple and complex questions. Location technology engages critical elements in science, technology, engineering and math education and is well suited to driving problem-based learning.

The students engaged in the ways STEM professionals do in thousands of career fields every day, the release stated.

"Learning how maps are used to solve real-life problems had a huge impact on our students," stated Mandy Dens, one of the fourth-grade teachers, in the release. "They were engaged and inquisitive, and quickly discovered how technology and geography come together to answer important questions about our world. GIS Day was a wonderful opportunity to learn about the real world right from our own classroom."

Pro-West is a GIS consulting firm based in Walker and Crosslake engaging with organizations to bring location intelligence to enterprise business strategies.

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