Map of Flint Hills plots a new course

This 4-foot by 4-foot map of the Flint Hills is posted in the hallway at Hillsboro Elementary School. The map and accompanying teaching resources is a project of the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan with funding from corporate and private donations.
This 4-foot by 4-foot map of the Flint Hills is posted in the hallway at Hillsboro Elementary School. The map and accompanying teaching resources is a project of the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan with funding from corporate and private donations.
USD 410 teachers gathered for a staff development session Friday to officially receive a 4-foot by 4-foot map of the Flint Hills and to learn more about resources available to use in the classroom to expand students’ knowledge of this scenic region of Kansas.

USD 410 is the fifth of five school districts in Marion County to receive the map and the training that goes with it.

The statewide Flint Hills Map Exhibit & Education Program was initiated by the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan and funded largely through corporate sponsors. Map placement has occurred in more than 180 schools in the Flint Hills region.

Anne Wilson, project coordinator, provided details during the morning session to expand on the program’s three objectives:

• To deepen students’ knowledge, pride and commitment to their special place in the world, the Flint Hills;

• To give teachers motivational tools to connect learning to students’ own lives, communities and local environment;

• To provide a Web-based center of learning about the Flint Hills for all ages of students.

Principal Evan Yoder said the map, which is displayed in the hallway outside the HES office, can be a useful tool for expanding students’ perspective of the Flint Hills and what it contributes to their lives.

“This project will help us understand the area we live in, because I can tell you that our children know very little about where we live and where our food comes from,” Yoder said. “Only a few—who have obviously have been educated by their parents—know anything about those topics.

Anne Wilson, project director, introduces teachers to the curriculum and possible applications for helping students understand the significance and impact of the Flint Hills.
Anne Wilson, project director, introduces teachers to the curriculum and possible applications for helping students understand the significance and impact of the Flint Hills.
“Maybe you’re educating them in the middle school and high school, but we’re going to try to do a better job at the elementary,” he added. “There’s a lot of ignorance about the area we live in. It’s a beautiful place, so I really appreciate what Anne and the whole group has done.”

Yoder said the morning session was an effort to stimulate thinking about possibilities.

“There is no specific plan on how to use the resources we were introduced to this morning,” Yoder said afterward. “It is my hope that we can get teachers—at least at HES, I can’t speak for the HSMS—to utilize the wonderful information Anne showed us at the gathering. We haven’t had a chance to discuss this yet, but I plan to in the near future.”