Monday, April 7, 2014

The Problem with Alaska

There it is, the problem with how America sees Alaska. You probably know from previous posts that I have made every effort to expose my children only to maps correctly depicting our country's 49th state. After putting together this puzzle, my kids spotted several issues immediately, and started asking questions.


What's wrong with it? Well.... First of all, that's not its location. It does not live in a little box off the coast of Mexico. It should be nowhere near Hawaii, which isn't in its place either. The biggest problem? SIZE. We all know Alaska is up north, even if we grew up seeing it in a little box in the bottom left corner of maps. But how many of us know how truly gigantic Alaska is? I remember teachers labeling Texas as the largest state. Ha. Texas is teensy weensy compared to the vastness that makes up the state of Alaska.


Alaska is 1/3 the size of the continental United States. ONE THIRD. Woah.

And we have the audacity to put it in a little box.


We also have the audacity to assume that no matter where you travel in the United States, the sun will always rise in the east and set in the west. I just read in several gardening books that very opinion, and I have seen standardized tests ask children where the sun rises and/or sets with no allowance for location.


I imagine you know where I'm going with this. Alaska is so very far north that anyone who has not lived there cannot begin to imagine the amazing forces at work. I feel nothing but awe and wonder for Alaska. It does not belong in a little teeny box. It deserves to be seen, in all its glory.


My sometimes-practical E had to remind me that if Alaska were to be placed correctly and to the same scale as the Lower 48, US maps would be largely Canada. Not practical, especially if you are trying to see an actual teensy weensy state like Delaware or Connecticut. Those are hard enough states to see as it is.


Of course. But it still irks me. Like the Texan license plate C spotted driving around Fairbanks one day that boasted "My state is bigger than your state." Ha. Not even close!


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