Monday, July 28, 2008

Beginning map reading

This morning I started teaching the children how to read maps. I was pleasantly surprised at how easily they picked up the concepts.

We started off working through Jack Knowlton's, "Maps and Globes".

The books goes through basic concepts very simply. It starts off with a simple history of maps that shows the children that maps are simply representations of the world. It discusses how early maps were incorrect and then moves onto the age of exploration as a way to introduce the globe.

Ben and Shira had a little trouble understanding how a flat map is a distortion of reality. I need to check on their understanding tomorrow as I am not convinced they understood the concept, even though they made the right motions.

The book then moves onto the language of maps. Ben, as I could have predicted, was very excited to learn about scales. He and Shira spent well over half an hour measuring distances on various maps and working out the real world distance. I had fun having them measure the distance between Lisbon and Madrid on maps with different scales.

Another activity that they thoroughly enjoyed was to be given the latitude and longitude of two places and then to work out the distance between them. (I only worked with the grid lines on the maps, so they have not worked with degrees and minutes yet). I need to work with latitude and longitude some more as I think Shira's struggling with the concept a tiny bit.

We finished off by learning about physical and political maps and drawing our own maps.

I have a Readers Digest Atlas of the World that is perfect for the children with which to work.

The children asked me if I could write up a quiz for them, so here is the one I plan on giving the children tomorrow:
Look at the map of Europe on pages 74 & 75 of the Readers Digest Atlas of the World.
  • List the countries that lie on 15 deg E.

  • List the countries that lie on 15 deg W

  • Which city is closer to the equator, London or Madrid?

  • Which sea is to the south of Italy?

  • Which country is larger, Portugal or Turkey?

  • What is the capital city of France?

  • List France's neighbors.

  • What see is north of Turkey

  • What is the distance between Paris and Madrid?

  • What is the distance between Madrid and Rome?

  • List all the seas that you see on this map

Look at the map of Australia on pages 180 and 181.
  • Does Australia get a lot of rain over the interior? Why do you say that?

  • What is the distance between Perth and Sidney?

  • What country is to the north of Australia?

  • Is there more wasteland or forest in Australia?

  • What is the approximate latitude and longitude of Darwin?

  • What type of vegetation surrounds Darwin?

  • How wide is Australia?

  • What is the name of the island off its southeastern tip?

Now I need to go through our library and find books to read to them on the subject of map making and exploration.


LB said...

National Geographics has an excellent website with all types of lesson plans and suggestions. And this map projections activity is pretty good too. There was one children's book I really enjoyed as it went through the history of cartography by the scientists/ cartographers who made big contributions, but I can't find the title at this moment. I'll look for my list of books and try to post again.

Shez said...

Thanks for reminding me about National Geographic. Their lesson plans look good. I wasn't planning on doing this today, but Ben only went to sleep after midnight last night (bedtime is normally 7pm). He couldn't stop listening to an audiobook. I only realized what was happening close to midnight, otherwise I would have made him switch off the story much earlier. He was just too delicate today to do the work I was planning, so I improvised. I couldn't leave the kids to their own devices as they were so cranky, they would have killed each other. It all turned out well though.