Monday, September 11, 2017

My Favorite Resources for Teaching Map Skills

Learning the basics of mapping skills is an important concept to teach and reinforce throughout late elementary and early middle school. Despite the fact that we live in a digital world where handheld GPS devices can pinpoint our exact location on Earth, knowing how to read a map and the basics of latitude and longitude is crucial.
That being said, teaching about those concepts can be challenging, sometimes. (Especially latitude and longitude for some reason!) Here are my favorite resources for teaching map skills:
These videos are adorable and clever parodies of popular songs made by some history teachers. I wish I was musically inclined and could organize a video like this, too!

Print and Digital Resources
A few years ago, I uploaded two of my favorite resources for teaching latitude, longitude and geography. I also recently uploaded digital versions as well for those teachers using Google Classroom!
One of my favorite activities in the Latitude and Longitude Activities resource is the "Exploring Earth" activity. Students use Google Earth to navigate the globe using coordinates. They get to see 360 degree views of famous locations! I've been so pleased to hear that the activity is a hit in other classrooms as well! If you have a 1:1 classroom for your Google Classroom account, there's also a digital version.
If you're feeling a little adventurous, you can also make your own virtual field trip using Google Earth. I have directions on how to create one in this blog post.
Another one of my go-to resources is the Geography Skills Activities. In the resource, students learn the basic skills of reading a map, measuring scale and are even challenged to create Mega City using all the skills they learned throughout the activities. I updated the resource recently and you can check it out HERE. There's also a digital version for Google Drive.
Other Online Resources
The University of California San Diego has a great interactive activity where students mark coordinates on an online map to check their skill in finding latitude and longitude. Click HERE to visit the site.
National Geographic has a fun game for younger kids or students who need a basic introduction to understand how to read a map. The game covers map symbols and the map key. Click HERE to visit the site.
The National Park Service has a brief interactive activity that covers topographic maps and asks students a few questions to check their understanding. It's a fun and simple way to introduce the concept of topographic maps! Click HERE to visit the site.

Do you use any other resources when teaching about map skills? If so, let me know in the comments! I'm always looking for great ideas. :)

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