4 Ways Maps Can Be FunHillary Moore
Maps are a necessary part of learning about where of events — historical, current, or fictional. They can be used to decorate walls, help you find your way, or, for some, be the boring part of an assignment. Maps can be works of art or simple sketches. There are many ways maps can be fun.
Make Maps Personal
The more a child relates to a map, the more interesting it will be to him. Start small, drawing a map of his bedroom; bonus points for measuring and drawing to scale (yay, math!). A next step would be to map the yard. Does your child need something a bit more challenging? Make a map of your neighborhood or town. Show the typical routes taken for weekly errands and activities.
Make Maps Hands-on
A flat map on a piece of paper can be a great starting point. Hands-on map projects are not just for younger learners. My middle schoolers love this aspect of mapwork. Add texture and dimension to show the landscape and terrain. Attach leaves, sand and other objects to indicate deserts, grasslands and more.
Exploring trade routes of spice traders? Attach a cinnamon stick on Sri Lanka, whole oregano leaves to Greece, and ginger on southern China. While you are raiding the pantry, locate the dry beans and pasta. These are great to add more texture and color to a map. Salt dough is a popular option for shaping and forming a three dimensional map.
Make Maps Physical
To make a map more fun for active learners, you need to get out and use a map. Orienteering is a great way to use a compass and map to make your way. There are orienteering groups that stage events or you could strike out on your own at a park.
Geocaching and letterboxing are other ways to add a physical element to mapwork. Geocaching is dependent upon technology (GPS and geocaching apps) while letterboxing is less technology dependent though websites are used to find the clues to a letterbox.
Another way to make maps physical is by building a scale map or map feature in your yard. We had fun constructing a small scaled Great Wall of China across the backyard.
Make Maps Fictional
Make a treasure map —either a functional map that will lead to real hidden “treasure” in your backyard or a completely fictional map. We made treasure maps one summer as we read Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Historical fiction is easy to make a map from because you can start with a map of the actual location. WonderMaps is perfect for this. Is the locale completely fictional? Use the descriptions given throughout the story and some imagination to make your own map to complement the story.
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Do you use any of these ways to make maps fun?