K12 Special Investigation Project: Mapping E-Commerce Locally and Beyond

As all aspects of the American workplace become automated or digitally enhanced to some degree, K-12 educators have an increasing responsibility to help their students acquire the technology skills necessary to organize and interpret information. Increasingly, this is done through Geographic Information Systems (GIS), especially in careers related to transportation and logistics. CITT has developed this K12 Special Investigation Project as an introduction to ArcGIS StoryMaps, an engaging, free and sophisticated web-based GIS application. With this project, CITT will provide professional development using technology that is readily accessible to both teachers and students. ArcGIS StoryMaps do not require licenses or fees and can be used with a basic browser.

The lessons center on e-commerce and its accompanying environmental and economic impact, but the activities can be easily adapted to projects in any subject area, such as humanities, science, math, or language arts. This teacher blueprint includes a teacher training guide with ten detailed lesson plans and activities. With the guidance of a National Board-Certified Teacher in Early Adolescence Math as lead instructor, the curriculum is designed to align with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Exploration of STEM and GIS-related careers are also incorporated into the lesson plans.

Principal Investigator: 

Deanna Matsumoto

PI Contact Information: 


California State University, Long Beach


January 2021 to December 2021

Impacts/Benefits of Implementation: 

El Rancho Unified School District, CITT’s partner organization, is in the Southeastern Los Angeles County city of Pico Rivera where 20% of its population is involved in the goods movement industry and 12% of the population has a four-year college degree. 91% of the population is Latinx. CITT’s intention was for the blueprint to be piloted in this district once funding was secured so that middle school students could learn the foundations of using GIS to visualize, analyze, and present data through maps and stories. Teachers across disciplines could also effectively learn how to incorporate GIS and project-based learning methods in their curricula.

An outcome not outlined In CITT's proposal is a pilot rollout of the teacher blueprint. This outcome came at the request of Rio Hondo College (RHC) -- a new partner of CITT. The participants in the project rollout include RHC students and certificated teacher-mentors participating in a U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) grant as well as middle school teachers from Unified School Districts surrounding RHC Including East Whittier, El Rancho, Little Lake, El Monte, South El Monte, and Pico Rivera. The SEED grant participants are also part of Rio Hondo College’s STEM-Career and Technical Education (CTE)/TEACH Teacher Preparation Pipeline Program which focuses on supporting community college students interested in becoming STEM and CTE teachers. The STEM-CTE/TEACH program addresses the critical current and future nationwide shortage of both CTE and STEM instructors. An increased pool of CTE and STEM teachers will expand job education and training opportunities to meet local, regional, state, and national employment needs in a variety of industries.

Project Number: