“Step Up Mountain”- A Guerilla Geography Project for Kids

I met Penny Anderson fellow supporter of geographic education through the National Council of Geographic Education where we both recently presented. She teaches geography in Virginia and is a member of the Virginia Geographic Alliance, and a consultant and volunteer PEC for National Geographic. Today she’s sharing a fantastic geography project for kids that gets them out doing some guerrilla geography of their own!

Washington Monument- Kid World Citizen

Washington Monument. Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

How high can you climb? A ten foot tree? An eight foot jungle gym? Your third floor attic? How about as high as the Washington Monument or the Statue of Liberty? What about Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America? Or maybe even Mount Everest, that tallest mountain in the world? Join the Step Up Mountain Challenge by counting the number of stairs you climb around your home, your school, or your neighborhood. Keep track of your stairs by counting and recording your numbers or by using a pedometer, a little machine that automatically counts each step.

British geographer Daniel Raven-Ellison is going to step up to the height of Mount Everest only using stairs in London buildings. His adventure is set for September, but he has opened it up for anyone to join him on a virtual challenge. Use the step calculator, sponsored by the United Kingdom’s Ordnance Survey to input your steps and discover how high you have climbed!

Step Up Mountain- Kid World Citizen

Read what Raven-Ellison says about joining his adventure:

I will ascend the height of a mountain by walking up stairwells in buildings. Mountains are anything over 2,000 feet in height. As most floors in buildings are 10 feet apart, this means walking up 200 floors. I am challenging myself to walk the height of Mount Everest (29,029ft) by exploring London’s tallest buildings. This is a creative way to explore London’s skyline and I am looking forward to meeting people who live and work in London’s highrise communities. The walk is going to give me an entirely new perspective on London not only because of the tall vantage points, but the experience of trying to gain access to so many different kinds of buildings.

I am doing this expedition from September 8th with the support of Ordnance Survey, Great Britain’s mapping authority. They are helping me find the buildings to climb, routes to take and places to explore. This geographic information is at the very heart of all the planning that we are doing.

Be your own geographer and check out the heights in your own neighborhood. As you climb steps, join the challenge with others on social media using the hashtag #StepUpMountain. You can have friends join you by walking the height of a mountain and you don’t even have to leave your home or school. You could even collaborate with your class- using geography and math and physical education- to virtually climb a mountain!

Remember, all you need is a good staircase!

Stairs Geography Project for Kids- Kid World Citizen

Harjun Vesilinna in Jyväskylä, Finland. CC Image by: Alessio Damato

Follow Daniel’s expedition starting September 8 on Twitter at @DanRavenEllison using #StepUpMountain, or read his blog for more info.

The creator of the #StepUpMountain challenge is Daniel Raven-Ellison, a National Geographic Explorer, Guerilla Geographer, and former geography teacher. He uses films, books, websites, and walks to take geography far beyond memorizing dots on a map, challenging children and adults to experience every aspect of the world around them in a more meaningful, surprising way, to engage in social and environmental justice, and to form deeper, more active community connections. Raven-Ellison’s project (website and books) “Mission:Explore” features hundreds of challenges aiming to show kids geography’s fun side, including mini-field trips, neighborhood explorations, creative science experiments, reconnecting with nature, artistic expression, and stretching analytical thinking.

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  1. Julie Mladic says

    What a creative way to learn about geography and get some exercise! It’ll help kids realize just how high a mountain is.

What do you think? I love to hear from my readers:).