Article by: Mary Kennedy
Ninth grade Human Geography students at Blue Earth Area Schools (BEAS) had a chance last month to learn about some of the exciting projects going on in their community when CEDA team member, Mary Kennedy was invited into their classroom to speak about local economic development.
Mary, who serves as both the City of Blue Earth, MN and Faribault County, MN EDA Specialist, was able to provide unique insight into local economic development efforts including a new housing development, two new business parks, and an exciting downtown redevelopment project. Mary was provided with the unit’s four (4) learning outcomes and was able to use those to guide her presentation to the students. Topics included: 1) acquiring, processing, and reporting information within a spatial context, 2) Geographic Inquiry, 3) distinguishing between physical and human characteristics that identify places, 4) identify, organize, and analyze areas of the earth’s surface.
The students were engaged, interested, and had thoughtful questions, while also providing useful feedback about what they feel is needed in the community and what they would like to see and do in the future.
Mary was able to walk the students through an activity using a Geographic Information System (GIS) tool. A favorite moment for both Mary and the students was when the class was able to see how GIS is often used to identify places, acquire information, process data, and create maps.
It was a great experience and great information was shared by both the presenter and the students!