Fourth-graders from 186th Street School in Carson became the first students in the nation to participate in a geographic literacy program.
Earth 2U, an education program featuring a series of geography tools, is aimed at teaching students more about the world. The program is targeted at children ages 8 to 13 and was developed in response to a 1989 Gallup poll that tested eight industrialized nations on their knowledge of world geography. American youths placed last.
As part of the program, educators receive a "Discovery Trunk" filled with interactive computer programs, videos, maps and books on geography. Two trunks are sent to each state, and schools get to use the materials for about three weeks before passing them along.
In addition, Earth 2U features a traveling interactive exhibit that includes photos from National Geographic, sample breads from around the world, chocolate chip cookies with information about where cocoa is grown, and population information. The exhibit will be open to the public at the Fullerton Museum Center in Fullerton from Saturday through Nov.10.
Earth 2U is a collaborative effort directed by the National Geographic Society and Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Services and Nissan Motor Corp. Dan Jansen, a speedskater who won a gold medal at the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway, is spokesman for Earth 2U and met with 186th Street students at Nissan's headquarters in Torrance on Thursday.