Recommended Website: Children's Museum of Indianapolis: Map Exhibithttp://www.homefires.com/click?maps
Age Range: 5-13 (Grades K-
New ClickSchool Reviewer Michael Hardt wrote today's ClickSchooling Review.
(Read Michael's bio below.)
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis partnered with National Geographic on
an exhibit called "MAPS: Tools for Adventure" that teaches kids about maps.
The exhibit offers this companion website with FREE Unit Study guides for
teachers that are outstanding.
These downloadable, printable, book-style guides offer lessons about
mapping. Although they are all related to the museum exhibit, they don't
require visiting the museum or even seeing the exhibit to benefit from the
When you get to the website you'll see a menu of lessons that include:
*Lesson 1 - Students in grades K-4 are introduced to grid lines, the compass
rose, and different kinds of maps. One exercise involves building a small
community of toys on the floor and standing up to draw an aerial view of it.
In another, kids fold a paper to create grid lines like those on a map. A
printable grid is also included.
*Lesson 2 - Learn about historical maps, exploration, navigation, and map
projections (different ways you can display the round earth on a flat map).
It includes sections on Chinese explorer Zheng He, modern scientists who
work with maps, and how to navigate by compass or by the stars. A printable
exercise lets you overlay a current map on top of a simplified map from the
Lewis and Clark expedition.
*Lesson 3 - Discover GPS (Global Positioning System). If you're fortunate
enough to own a GPS device, you'll have a blast with some of the activities
here, but even if you don't, it explains how those 24 satellites pinpoint a
car or a cell phone or a Garmin. I particularly like the activity that
teaches about creating map layers with colored candies: blue for water,
green for parks, etc.
The lessons are preceded by an Introduction - really just an overview of
what follows. The last two sections are "Culminating Experiences"
and "Resources." The first is specific to the exhibit. The second is a
bibliography and list of websites.
Each Unit Study starts with a list of "Objectives." I like to use these like
a checklist: "Map a familiar place--check. Identify parts of a map--check.
Distinguish between reference maps and thematic maps--hmm, we could work on
that." At the end of each Unit is a glossary of terms and a metric for
testing which could double as a teaching activity.
This is a thorough, careful background in teaching cartography.
Michael Hardt and
Diane Flynn Keith
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