Mapping Skills


Create a map of the school
Grades 1-3

Maps and diagrams are a part of everyday life. The ability to read a map requires some understanding of scale, direction, and the proximity of objects in space. The ability to draw a basic map requires, in addition, some visualization skills; a map that is actually drawn to scale requires measurement and accuracy.

Maps of different kinds should be available for students to see, including simple diagrams of building interiors such as the firedrill evacuation map.

The teacher presents examples of different kinds of maps, including globes, relief maps, topographic maps, and maps from different time periods. Local maps of the town or neighborhood may also be useful to students.

Teacher and students tour the building and grounds that they will be mapping. Older students should make notes of details they would like to include on their maps.

Students use the Blocks to create a map of the school or playground. Students should be instructed to put the Blocks into the Camera 2 mode at the beginning of the activity so that that they are working with an aerial view. For older students, more detail can be expected. For younger students, the basic outline of the building and the parking lot and playground might be sufficient. Students should be encouraged to use Blocks shapes to represent buildings or other structures, as well as Blocks textures and colors to make the map appear more real.

Student maps are evaluated for their inclusion of major buildings and other structures, for the correct placement of the structures, compass legend, and for the scale of the representations.

Older students may also be assessed for their use of textures and colors, for any required labels, and for the inclusion of details such as cars in the parking lot and trees around the building.

Students should be able to explain their placement of structures and should be able to trace paths from one structure to another.

Students print out their maps and use markers to draw a path from their classroom to another part of the building. The teacher chooses several of the maps to test for accuracy by taking the class on the outlined paths.

Maps that have been drawn and printed as aerial views are rotated so that a more head-on perspective can be seen. Are there are changes that need to be made in sizes or placement of the objects or structures now that they are seen from another view? What are the advantages of the aerial perspective over other perspectives?

Students choose different rooms in the school building and make detailed maps. For instance, a map of the library should show where the different types of books are located. A map of the playground should show the location of the different play structures. The different maps can be displayed together on a paper mural to show a full map of the school.

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