Colorado Geographic Alliance

Teaching Geography with Primary Sources

TPSEducators from Geographic Alliances in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon gathered in Portland at the beginning of July with facilitators from the Library of Congress' Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Western Region program.  This design workshop provided direction on developing workshops and state-based model lessons using primary sources to teach geography at any grade level.  The Library of Congress website has a treasure trove of primary sources, including maps, images, and text documents, that can enrich teaching in all areas of social studies, including geography.  The TPS program offers instruction on teaching with primary resources, and together with Geographic Alliances across the country this project will plan, implement, and evaluate workshops that will structure ways to guide teachers in making the best use of geographic analysis for primary resources in classrooms.  If you or your district is interested in being part of the next round of workshops in Colorado, please email

COGA Teachers Provide Lessons for Students Considering Life on Mars

Garden of the Gods When joining the Colorado Geographic Alliance workshop focused on geospatial technology this past June, inservice and preservice teachers may not have realized that they were going to be expected to think about using GIS on Mars.  In addition to developing lessons they will use in their classrooms in the fall, participants created projects to analyze efficient routes on Mars, calculate effects of soil temperature, and assess optimal places for settlement. Students  conducted some of their lessons at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.  For additional information about summer science camps sponsored through the Center for STEM Education, visit the UCCS website.

APHG Teachers Experience South Korea!

Tea Ceremony

This summer, COGA nominated 2 Colorado APHG teachers- Unity Hartman and Rob Gilliam- to be part of the 2014 Korean Delegation and learn about Geographic Education for a Harmonious Global Society. Organized by the Northeast Asian History Foundation, a total of 15 delegates participated in a field experience in Seoul. Read about their journey here!

Geographic Alliances in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Oregon receive $50,000 grant from National Geographic Education Foundation 

Feb 17 2014  The Colorado Geographic Alliance at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs recently received an inaugural collaborative planning grant of $50,000 from the National Geographic Education Foundation, one of three such grants awarded to members of the Network of Alliances for Geographic Education. Using the grant, the Colorado Geographic Alliance, in partnership with The Library of Congress' Teaching with Primary Sources and the geographic alliances in Arizona, Nevada, and Oregon, will create a program to develop a workshop model for teachers. The workshop model will incorporate historical maps, primary source thematic maps, and other geographic representations. This information can be used to obtain, describe and compare spatial patterns and information about people, places, events, regions and environments as an essential resource for answering key questions. Teacher leaders in these four states will serve as the initial developers for this project, which has potential to affect how students think about maps across the country.   For further information, please see  this UCCS press release

Geographic Alliances Logos
Teaching with Primary Sources Logo

Network of Alliances for Geographic Education meets in Washington DC Feb 16 2014

Stan Hickory with Colorado Representative Michael Bennett

Each year Alliance Coordinators from across the United States come together in Washington DC to hear about new programs and processes at National Geographic, develop new skills, share information, and visit our legislators on Capitol Hill to advocate for geography education. This year the Alliance Network incorporated a training for policy point people in our Alliance. Stan Hickory,  member of the Leadership Council, seen in this photo with Colorado Representative Michael Bennett, agreed to take on that role. He accompanied the Coordinators to Washington DC, spent a day in meetings, visited the National Geographic museum, and talked about the importance of geography in schools. Stan notes that “One of the most fascinating and truly educational exercises was a legislative simulation. We were asked to take on the persona of a fictional legislator and put through a number of decision making processes that an actual legislator would be asked to do. The experience gave me a new perspective of the difficult job our legislators have. We were able to meet with every one of our Colorado representatives (or his aid). Washington rejuvenated my faith in our democratic process and lit in me a desire to actually become an elected part of the process. The take-away here is that we live in an amazing country and during an amazing time in history. Education is the biggest part of the puzzle that will help us continue to grow and take part in shaping what the world will look like in the future. Hopefully, our small bill is just one of many that will make it through Congress to help fund our tomorrow.”

Grant Awarded to Coga by the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado

Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado LogoThe Colorado Geographic Alliance recently received a grant of $15,000 from the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado as part of its focus on support for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. COGA will use the funds to provide stipends for teachers who are working to increase the use of geospatial technology in K-12 classrooms across the state. Geospatial technology includes geospatial information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS), and readily available computer-based platforms such as Google Earth. Inservice and preservice teachers will participate in a five-day workshop in June on the UCCS campus. In addition, five teachers in rural and underserved areas, including Windsor and Arickaree, have identified needs in their schools that can be addressed to move geospatial technology into the classroom. COGA will undertake professional development in these districts, as well as provide funding for materials and resources. We are excited about this partnership to develop an effective framework to provide instruction in geospatial technology implementation in more secondary and elementary schools.

COGA Leadership Council Strategic Planning Meeting

COGA Leadership Council Meeting February 2014

Feb 1 2014 The winter meeting of the Colorado Geographic Alliance's Leadership Council was held at History Colorado Center on Saturday, February 1st. While the meetings in spring and fall usually last about three hours, this meeting focuses on discussing the strategic direction for the year ahead, and provides an opportunity for the members of the Leadership Council to delve deeper into opportunities and challenges. We approved COGA's Strategic Plan for 2013-2015; discussed opportunities to reach out to educators, students, and the community through events such as "Night with a Geographer"; brainstormed about ways to improve the COGA website; and considered the possibility of developing a giant traveling map of Colorado. Liz Cook, History Colorado's Environmental Educator, provided a guided tour of the "Living West Exhibit". I am excited about the variety of people involved in COGA's work, but there are plenty of opportunities for you to make sure geography education is available to all students across the state.



National Geographic Announces Geography Legislators of the Year

James Law and Steve Jennings with Sen. Bennet

Feb 28 2013  The National Geographic Education Foundation awarded its Geography Legislator of the Year Awards to key congressional leaders for their commitment to making high-quality geography education available for all K-12 students, preparing young Americans for success. Among those recognized for their dedication to geography education was Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.)  For the full press release from National Geographic, follow this link.




The Importance of Geographic Literacy in the Denver Post

During the Teaching Geography is Fundamental campaign, the Denver Post published a letter from COGA Coordinators Steve Jennings and Rebecca Theobald reinforcing the need for geographic literacy.  Check out the full article on the Denver Post website.