6th Annual Geography Expo Supports Self-Directed Learning

Sign up for the 6th Annual Geography Expo
Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
Pittsfield, MA

The 6th Annual Geography Expo is an intergenerational geography fair featuring the work of students from all school choices throughout Berkshire County and beyond. It’s free to participate and open to all, taking place on Wednesday evening, April 2nd, at the Berkshire Atheaneum in Pittsfield, MA. Want to participate? Pick your country, state or region, sign up, and get busy studying and preparing your presentation! Sign up details below.

On Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014, the world will be on display from 6-8pm in the Community Room at the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield, MA. Sponsored by The Berkshire County Homeschool Community and Berkshire County 4-H, the 6th Annual Geography Expo will fill the library’s large Community Room with sights, sounds and culinary scents from around the globe.

We asked Teresa O’Brient of Stockbridge, and Elaine Caligiuri of Lee, organizers of The Expo, to share with our readers information on this great opportunity for students from all educational backgrounds (homeschool, public/private school, exchange students, etc.) to participate in a self-directed, community-based learning opportunity that explores cultures both near and far…

IN THE BEGINNING

The Geography Expo, began as the brainchild of a small group of homeschoolers who enjoyed studying world cultures both together and as individuals. Originally conceived in 2008, The Expo was sponsored by the Stockbridge Library. As interest and knowledge of The Expo grew, a larger, more centrally located venue was needed, so participants from northern Berkshire County could more easily attend. With the help and sponsorship of Berkshire County 4-H, The Expo moved to the Berkshire Athenaeum in Pittsfield in 2012. On April 2nd, they will enjoy their third year at the library where interest and participation in the event continues to grow.

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE

Along with homeschooled students, participants in The Expo have included public and private school children, as well as exchange students. One year they had a grandmother display her home country of France right alongside the student displays — a multi-generational, multi-cultural event! The Geography Expo continues to be open to everyone. Whether you would like to be a participant or simply attend, it has always been a fun free learning experience.

WHAT EXACTLY IS THE GEOGRAPHY EXPO?

Think of it like a science fair for geography. An individual student, a family or group of friends, decides on a country, state or region and studies it. Then, at The Expo, all participants meet to share and display their work. Most students adorn a tri-fold board with maps, country facts and drawings and photographs creatively displayed. Students often display coins or other collections from their country. One year the Ireland display included an Irish knit sweater and China included a culinary display that included a wok and bamboo steamer. The Italy display included vegetables typically grown in various regions of the Italian Peninsula. In the past, students have also made projects such as a cardboard windmill for Holland and a model of the Roman Coliseum for Italy. One year, Korean exchange students brought a game from their home country that people could play when visiting their table. Last year, siblings studying India came dressed in saris. And every year, many people like to bring food from their country to share with others who visit their table.

ACTIVITIES

All students, participants and attendees, are encouraged to pick up a copy of a blank “passport” upon arrival. The student can bring the passport around to all the country tables and receive a “stamp” from each country visited. There is also room on each passport to fill in specific facts from each country like Continent, Capital city, Currency, and more.

There will also be an activity table so when folks are finished visiting tables they can test their new found knowledge by playing geography games together. There will also be a brief drumming performance with Otha Day from Drum to the Beat, performing world music to lend a bit of excitement to the festival-like atmosphere.

For more information, or to sign up to do a country study, please contact either Teresa at berksierra@aol.com or Elaine at earthspirit22@yahoo.comThis event is free and open to everyone.

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