Topsail Elementary Grade 4 students were the first to make use of a new interactive teaching tool available at the Manuels River Hibernia Interpretation Center Friday.
The students looked on as an eight-metre by 11-metre floor map of Newfoundland and Labrador was unveiled — the first of its kind in the country. The map was purchased through the Royal Canadian Geographical Society thanks to a donation of $840,000 to the Interpretation Centre from Hibernia. The map is the first purchase made from the multi-year funding which will allow the centre to develop new educational programs and maintain existing ones.
“It was something that was such a good fit for us to have,” said the centre’s education manager Gillian Davidge. “It’s such a great learning tool, and we were looking for something to have for the winter months.”
After the unveiling, Topsail Elementary students from Katie Bartlett’s Grade 4 class had a chance to give it an inspection. The director of education for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Ellen Curtis, and Interpretation Center lead interpreters guided students in interactive activities that engaged each student.
The map can be used for scavenger hunts, games and geography lessons.
“It’s an alternate approach to learning,” said lead interpreter Dr. Rod Taylor about the educational opportunities the map presents. “So much time is spent in front of a computer or something digital, but this is something hands on.”
And the students certainly seemed to enjoy themselves, hunting for different locations across the enormous floor map in a scavenger hunt.
“One of the little guys on the way out said, ‘This is the best school field trip ever,” said lead interpreter Eleanor Power. “You could tell that they were really enjoying themselves — and the wow factor of something that big, you could see the kids’ faces light up.”
Added Davidge: “It sounds kind of (silly), but it really puts us on the map.”
By Kyle Reid