Giant map helps Indianapolis students learn geography


Students on the west side are going to places they've never been before, and it's all within the confines of their school's gym.

Learning the world by song is nothing new at Garden City Elementary School, but how about visiting distant lands in your stocking feet?

Fifth grader Jeramih Morales showed us on this giant map where he was born.

"I'm from Puerto Rico. San Juan."

Jeramih moved here when he was five.

"I remember I used to go to my grandmother's to this one pizza spot, it was the best ever I ever tasted in the world! I used to remember how they made the crust all delicious," he reminisced.

Jeramih and his classmates are learning about North America with a map on loan from National Geographic.

The map is 35 feet tall and 26 feet wide. It takes up the entire center section of the basketball court. Not only that, it takes a bit of a walk, but it also includes the Hawaiian Islands.

I asked Jeramih what kind of feeling he gets about the rest of the world when you're on a map that is this big?

"Exciting. Like Canada, I didn't know there were so many different places but then when I went and looked there was a whole bunch," he said.

Other students were equally impressed.

Fifth grader Sunmisola Akinsinmide said, "You can find where things are. You can look at it better."

Alan Diaz is also a fifth grader. "It helps me like learn about how the world is big and separate, and I thought it was gonna be bigger but it's small."

Gym teacher Joni Lawler says her students have a whole new appreciation for the world around them.

Lawler is a physical education teacher. "I think you can just see it on their faces. They're kind of in awe when they first come in here and they kinda get used to it a little bit. Hopefully it'll light a little fire that when they get a little older maybe they'll want to travel."

Jeramih Morales told me, "I'd like to visit Greenland" because "it's snowy up there."

Garden City will ship the giant map back to National Geographic at the end of this week.

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