Giant National Geographic Map. Quickly taking off their shoes, my students rushed over to explore the mammoth "Map of North America". Squeals of delight could be heard as the students found various states and features. On the day of our first visit we just so happened to have skyped @weswils5 's class in Alberta, Canada. It was so fun to watch the students crowd around the province on the map! A stronger, 'bigger' connection was certainly made.
I had no idea such a thing exsisted! The map which measures 26' by 35' was brought to my attention by a parent last year. It was rented for two weeks through the generous donation from our Parent Advisory Council. All the classes in our school were able to visit the map at least twice during the two week rental period.
The first time we visited the map we played a "Simon Says" type game to familiarize ourselves with the map. "Simon Says find a state that begins with an M" or "Simon says put your left foot in the Atlantic Ocean". These type of statements had the students visiting different areas of the map. The next activity was based around using the "Cardinal Directions". Using the compass rose, we found locations on the map while stepping North, South, East and West. Student gained a better understanding and appreciation of directions after this activity. It's wasn't as easy as one would think. Another activity involved finding particular states. Each child was given a card with a state name & had to find that state as quickly as possible. It sure was a lot of fun exploring the states in such a manner.
Every day the students asked if we were going to visit the 'giant' map. They not only loved the size of it, but they loved exploring the different features. Each time, someone learned something new! It makes me think that we need to be incorporating more activities like this in our classrooms.
National Geographic Traveling Map: 6 Different Giant Floor Maps for Students to Explore
National Geographic: Exploring Maps and Models of the Earth
Teaching with Maps: NEA site that has students learning about Longitude & Latitude; Reading a topographic map & more
Google Earth Lessons & Ideas
Map Skills and Higher Order Thinking
Maps are fascinating on many different levels. Some folks may argue that 'reading a map' is not longer relevant due to technological advances and GPS systems. Others say that reading maps lead to 'global learning'. Witnessing the allure and attraction of these enormous maps makes me realize that students LOVE learning about places using visuals. If you get the chance - you should rent one!
In what ways do you incorporate MAPS in your teaching? How are maps applicable to our everyday life?