Giant map at Queen Palmer Elementary, UCCS this week

Published: October 2, 2013, 5:12 pm, by Debbie Kelley

giant mapA ginormous map of the Pacific Ocean is traveling across Colorado through Oct. 11 and is stopping at some local schools.

One of the world’s largest maps, measuring 26 feet by 35 feet, is on loan to the Colorado Geographic Alliance, based at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, as part of National Geographic’s Giant Traveling Maps program.

The brightly colored, smooth vinyl surface of the map encourages elementary and middle school students to explore some of the unexpected geography at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The map includes the deepest place on earth, the Mariana Trench, and the world’s tallest mountain, Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, which has its base on the ocean floor.

Students also will have a chance to identify the location of one of the newest discoveries, the Tamu Massif, which is 400 miles wide. Most of all, students will experience the Pacific as a living entity with active volcanoes giving birth to new islands, deep sea vents supporting new life forms, phytoplankton blooms that provide more than half of the planet’s fresh air, and the Great Barrier Reef, the largest living structure in the world.

The map will appear on the UCCS campus Saturday, Oct. 5, for the opening event of the Colorado Springs Science Festival. Its schedule also includes a visit to Queen Palmer Elementary in Colorado Springs on Thursday, Oct. 3, and Friday, Oct. 4. It will also go to schools in Castle Rock, Windsor and Vail.

“Kids in Colorado rarely have a chance visit the Pacific Ocean, let alone think about the vitally important connections this far-away body of water has on our lives,” said Steve Rothstein, president, Colorado Springs Science Center Project, one of the primary organizers of the Oct. 5 Cool Science Carnival Day at UCCS

“Exploring this giant map and incorporating National Geographic’s resources into their learning experience will help them understand why we all need to get a sense of how the Pacific Ocean eco-system works, how it affects us, and more importantly, how we affect it.”