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Maps & Globes

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Activities for teaching about maps and globes
relief maps
Posted by:cindy #93579

I have had my students do their relief make their relief maps at school and other times at home depending on the maturity and parent availability.

First students bring a 12 x 12 inch board to school. I prefer wood, but some teachers use card board.

Second, students trace the shape of their state/country onto the board. (I enlarge theme for them on the copier)

Next, students use FREEZER, Gallon sized zip lock baggies to mix their dough in. Measure in flour and salt 2 to 1. Add a splash of vegetable oil, and one cup of water to start with. push out all the air, and squeeze and squish until the dough is mixed. (for younger students, make this homework and bring the dough ball in the baggie to school)

Last, take the ball of dough and put in on the board in the middle of the map shaped....

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globes and maps
Posted by:Julianne #48237

One fun activity is to peel an orange. Have students discuss the shape of the earth. Show a globe and discuss how it is a model of the earth. But could explorers carry around a globe? Have kids discuss this idea. What would be the problems with it? Too big, not detailed enough, etc. Someone will say something about maps. You can lead the discussion to how a map isn't a true model of the earth. The next part you can do as a whole group activity with you doing the work, or you can work in small groups. Peel an orange and try to lay the peel out as one smooth sheet. I like to try out the oranges ahead of time and find one where the peel separates from the orange easily. A tangerine sometimes works better. Anyway, the point is for the kids to...

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Posted by:Carolyn #18025

One idea:

This is called "Torn-Paper Mosaics":

If you are working on a regions of the U. S., for example, have your students create a torn-paper mosaic. Duplicate on outline map of the U. S. for each student in your class on light-colored construction paper. Give each studnet one of the U. S. maps, glue, and half sheets of 8 1/2 x 11"
construction paper in eight different colors. Instruct the students to tear each sheet of construction apart into small pieces, making a different pile for each color. On the chalkboard, write the names of the regions of the U. S. Assign a different construction paper color to each region. Direct the student to cover each region of the map with the corresponding colored pieces of torn paper. have the student title the map and create a key, then have them refer to these colorful maps throughout your...

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Posted by:JMC #48868

Here are a few other ideas for mapping: I use masking tape and make a large grid 4x5 or 3x4 on the floor. Then I ask the students what kind of places are in our school neighbourhood (school, houses, train station, factory, Chruch, swimming pool...) and I make symbols for them with their help. Then I place them on the grid in some similar fashion to where they are outside. Then I put letter and number cards down and have them give me co-ordinates. You could do this in class, outside with chalk or in the gym. They love doing this. I also have some real simple maps that are similar and they have to draw objects in the given co-ordinates. We also talk about directions and find north, south, east and west in the class and then I ask them to tell me where their desk is and other objects. I...

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Posted by:Sherry #74428

I have my 3rd graders draw a map showing how to get to their house from our school. They have to include street names, landmarks, and their physical address. Once I get all the maps, I take a Saturday and go to each house. I send notes to the parents beforehand letting them know my plan and that I won't have time to come in and visit. When I get to each house, I put a letter to my student that says "I found you. Your map was so easy to follow!" on their porch or I tape it to the door. The kids love it, several times I have driven up to find students sitting on their porch waiting for me. This is my 3rd year to do this project and I enjoy it as much as they do, although it does take up an entire Saturday to go to...

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Posted by:Susan #74427

I use the salt clay maps to make mine. The kids love it and it's really easy to do. It takes usually 2 days (we have a lot of humidity here) for them to dry before you can paint them. I put the kids into groups of about 4-5 each. I think the recipe is 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, and 2 cups water. I'll have to double check. I did 2 batches for my whole class.

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Posted by:Sandi #66936

On Monday we are making North America. I have large Pizza Discs we will color blue. The we will Tace the 3 major countries, Canada, the USA and Mexico.(Teaher should prepare about 6 sets to trace, one for every 3-4 students) I always use old file folders and cut them out. We cover Canada in blue playdough, I remind them that Canada is far fromt eh equator and that your fingernails may turn blue in the winter. I use white playdough to cover the USA and Red to cover Mexico ( Mexico, being closer to the equator would be hotter and you might get sunburnned there, also they like spicy hot food!) Before the playdough hardens we add tiny flags on toothpicks and put one one each country. The flags can be found on the net and you can shrink them on your copy machine. I use to...

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Posted by:chris #86817

I have taught a mapping lesson with K - 1 children . We begin by looking at several different kinds of maps and discuss the markings that we see. Pointing out the compass rose and the map key. I then talk about the lines on the map are like the lines on our palms of our hands. We talk about fictional maps and what types of things might be shown on their map. We make a list on the chalkboard of things they might want to show and talk about the symbol that they may choose to use too. We then also talk about directions (N,S,E,W). I model all this after our discussion on the chalkboard, but larger. I make a large hand and then draw the lines from the palm of my hand. For the younger children I trace around their hands and have them add the major lines that they see on their palms. Some children...

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Posted by:Anneliese #46720

I have a few ideas that I learned from a colleague. To start we use maps with continents labeled on our desk. I guide the students in tapping the approximate spot on their desk where the conintent is on the map. I do this by drawing a rectangle on the board to use as my desk and I face the board so I am using the same hands they are. We touch the spots and say the names as we go around the map: North America South America... Then we do it without the maps and eventually I touch a spot on the rectangle and they tell me which continent it would be.

Another idea is a cooperative group project where students create a map of the continents by tearing color coded pieces of construction paper in the approximate shape and relative size of the continent. These are then glued on a large sheet...

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map skills
Posted by:Sue W #57189

"Map Analysis" was a an activity that worked really well with third graders. During the map study unit I had kids bring in maps they found; road maps, grocery store product directories, amusement park maps. We got some unusual ones as well,a lake bottom map from a junior fisherman, a map showing airports from a pilot's son.
At the end of the unit the kids were divided into groups of 3 or 4 and rotated around the room to study the different maps. I gave them a Map Analysis sheet with things to look for together.
What is the name of your map?
Who would use this map and for what reason?
Does you map have a map key?
Is there a compass rose?
What is the scale of your map?
Does your map show cities, roads and water?


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Here's what we did!
Posted by:Kathy #91305

We did a great map project this year--it was my first time to do this activity, but won't be my last. (I teach grades 3 and 4, but it could easily be done with older students.)

We made US maps out of cookie dough and then decorated them after they were cooked. We used chocoate chips for the mountain, colored green/yellow icing to show elevations, and blue frosting for the oceans and rivers.

We worked with learning clubs so we had four different maps. I cut out a pattern from a plastic mat to form the original "cookie." (We did have to trim them some after they were baked--one lesson learned!) Another thing that was wasted time (as far as finished product was concerned though they definitely learned something in the process!) was trying to form plateaus with the dough before we baked it. (Of course, they all...

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Posted by:Misty #31500

My class worked in five groups to become experts on a region. We made a collaborative U.S. map that was color coded by region. The students gave presentations that included a paragraph written on a specific topic: states and capitals, natural resources, landforms and bodies of water, and climate. Some of these topics were harder than others and I delegated them according to ability. The kids also had to find and share at least one interesting fact about their region. They brought some kind of visual aide as well. It could be a prop or something they made.
If your interested I have a rubric that I used to grade this. I gave grades on the map.(Which I displayed on the bulletin board during the unit) I gave indiviual grades on paragraphs as well as group grades on presentations. I followed it up with...

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Posted by:Sarah #88718

You could make a map "scavenger hunt" make a list of items the should find on a map and circle them, (have a different list for a few teams). Items could include, a city that starts with I, an airport marker, mile marker, any kind of legend items, state park, etc... Have them draw a map from your school to their home, how do they get to school each day? OR Draw a map from your classroom to the cafeteria, and office, etc..

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Map Centers
Posted by:Denise #37240

I would provide all kinds of maps: population maps, climate maps, topographical maps, etc. Have you ever tried creating a battery map--one in which you put aluminum foil on the back of the poster. The kids can check to see if their answers are right by correctly matching the correct wire to the correct answer. If they do, then the light bulb lights up. I would also give them some Play Doh to create topographical maps. Leave a sample of the map, let's say the United States, then have them create the topography of the United States. You could put books about weather and climate alongside your climate maps.

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continents and oceans
Posted by:Curious #50986

For any activity where students have to memorize locations, (continents and oceans, states and capitals in a region, south american countries and capitals) I have made a shower curtain game. What I did was make an over head of the map, and then traced it onto a shower curtain. I then colored it and made cards that are to be placed onto the large "game board." The cards are the names of the continents and oceans in the case of the continents and ocean map.

I then give students a blank map, and they make their own cards (smaller) by cutting up index cards and putting them in an envelope. They then get a miniature version, that is correctly labeled as the key. They take this game home to study.

We then play the "game" as a large group. One student places the cards onto the...

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map skills
Posted by:Mary Mifflin #82747

In addition to letting the students work with the globes, and our classroom map & posters, I give them maps from different states, road maps, National Geographic maps, county maps, any that I've collected. They love looking at them, seeing what is the same and different, locating places, rivers, lakes, etc. Sometimes I add magnifying glasses to encourage them to read the fine print.
Another idea is to let them make a salt dough map showing the continents, paint it, labeling the oceans, etc. I may or may not do this, depending on time.

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Travel Theme
Posted by:BuzyBee #58638

**Get one of those large styrofoam planes (cheap at the dollar store) and put your name on it in really big bold letters. Write on the plane "YOUR-LAST-NAME Airways: Where Learning Takes Flight"

**Have all of the students create a passport the first day. Take a digital picture and glue inside. They can add sheets describing places/things they visit throughout the year. Instant portfolio!

**Make a large highway that goes up your wall. Put several exit signs for different places you plan to explore.

**Get travel brochures from agencies and display them in a center. Encourage students to design their own.

**If you are writing students a letter explaining the "meet me on the playground at 8:30" maybe you could include a personalized "ticket" for the occassion.

**For a jobs chart, put up a blue background with little green islands. Each island...

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Posted by:teachnkids #116620

This has been a favorite of mine to start the year off. We do many of the ideas already mentioned, but our culmination project is two part: !)we create our own town 2) we create edible maps

Our own town---partners come up with a name of a town, 10 places they want to feature on their town, name the places and create a symbol for each place to go on the map. Next they use large paper to make their map. It is a wonderful open ended creation. The only requirements are the ones I've stated. It is amazing to see the creativity that comes out.

Edible Maps----the following link gives the ingredients( I often do not use the peanut butter because of allergy issues)
This time they all create a map individually---They must be able to tell me what each food item has been...

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Found Lesson Plan for OWA
Posted by:Janie #45956

The teacher who gave me this lesson plan is awesome. He also gave me a cd full of Social Studies activities. I am trying to copy on the SS board for a resource. Enjoy!

An Orange with Attitude
Presented by Purley Decker, AIG 2000

The purpose of this lesson is to help children to visualize the difference between latitude and longitude.

This activity uses oranges to demonstrate the difference between latitude and longitude.

Grade Range:
Grades 3-12

Geography standard: 1

Materials Needed:
One orange for each student plus one for the teacher.
Non-toxic markers.

Students will gain a visual understanding of the difference between latitude and longitude.

1. Give each student an orange and a marker.
2. Tell the students not to peel their oranges.
3. Explain that...

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