Fun with GIS 255: 2020 Student Competition

09-09-2019 05:01 AM
Esri Regular Contributor
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Students in many states are finding patterns, puzzles, and projects in the world around them, and turning these into adventures in learning, as part of the ArcGIS Online Competition for US High School and Middle School Students. After doing their research, they put together a Story Map or a web app. Five who do this well in their school advance to the state level, and those in the top handful at the state level win 100 bucks. And two students (or teams) from across the US get chosen to display the best in high school (grades 9-12) and middle school (grades 4-8) at the Esri Conference in San Diego, CA.


The ArcGIS Online Competition for US HS+MS Students


The competition is underway again, for school year 2019-2020. Teachers can start introducing students to the technology and the opportunity. But the teachers need also to pivot and point to state leaders, urging them to sign up the state. This is a binary event: Either all students get to participate or none do, and what ensures the former is a team of education-friendly, GIS-savvy, doers who step up and make it happen. In states with few student participants, high percentages have been award winners at the state level. And at the national level, even states with few participants have had winners. It just takes curiosity, vision, gumption, and tenacity … someone who is part Sherlock Holmes, part Jane Goodall, and part Katherine Johnson.


Winning teams meet Jack Dangermond at 2019 Esri Conference

 HS and MS student winners and their teachers chat with Jack Dangermond at the Esri Conference

The task for students is to research a topic of their choosing, within the bounds of their state, and present what they learn in the form of a web app or Story Map. Whether singly or as part of a team of two, this is a chance for unfettered exploration, observation, analysis, and tinkering, wrapped up in a presentation. The long-term rewards can be impressive. The short-term rewards could include sharing with 20,000 GIS users at the 2020 Esri Conference in San Diego.


Explore the opportunities, the guidance from 2019 winners and their teachers, and the whole collection of three years of award winners, at

About the Author
** Esri Education Mgr, 1992-today ** Esri T3G staff, 2009-present ** Social Studies teacher, grades 7-12, 1977-1992 (St. Paul, MN) ** NCGE Distinguished Teacher Award 1991, George J Miller Award 2016 ** ** ** ** Only education can save the world.