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10 ideas for developing map skills.

  1. Aerial View: Ask the children to draw an aerial view of a room in your house, your whole house or part of your street. For younger children show them that things look different from above eg a glass looks like a circle and a chair like a square. Make sure it has labels and use a ruler to show straight lines where necessary. Challenge – Could older children draw an aerial map using a scale?
  2. Video Tour: Map Video – Using Google Maps – My Maps – children could add markers along a route from home to school, to a friend’s house, along the canal or further afield if you feel adventurous. They could create videos, or record their voice and actually embed them into a marker for others to learn about what happened at that spot on his travels. From there we can start to see patterns of routes, patterns of where explorers were going and what they were trying to do. Now we can start asking questions and as we find answers to them we create videos and add more information back to the world.
  3. Measure Distance and Area: Google maps distances – In My Maps you get the ability to draw straight lines to see the distance between two points anywhere in the world. Better yet is the ability to draw out an area. Ever wonder just how big Russia really is? What if you draw an area map around the UK and then move that area over Russia. How many United Kingdoms do you think fit in Russia? In China? On the continent of Africa? Estimate and then see if you were correct.
  4. Compass Directions: Use this link to learn about compass directions. Download the activities and print them if you can. Can you find North, East, South and West in your home and label them in different room and outside?
  5. Make a Landscape: Can you create a 3D landscape? Use card, paper, wood and any old junk to create a landscape. Include different geographical features such as a lake, woodland area, beach and don’t forget paint! Challenge – Include map symbols, grid references and think about contour lines. We would love to see your finished products so email pictures to us at school to share on the blog. Get creative.
  6. Map Symbols: Follow this link. Can the children find and draw the map symbols that match the places in the pictures? If you have an atlas or OS map at home, encourage older children to try and find items identified in the key. Many children can become very absorbed when ‘reading’ a map especially if it is of somewhere they know.
  7. Secret Lands: Draw a map of a secret place. It could be a faraway island, an ancient haunted village, a tropical jungle or any other map you would like to draw. Remember to add labels and use map symbols where you can. Challenge – Can you add a grid reference?
  8. What Happens in Hopeville? Download the map of Hopeville. Can you answer the questions about this fictional place to help develop your map skills?
  9. Where in the World? Where would you love to go to? Anywhere in the world – your choice. Write about your journey from Lancaster to your ideal destination. Which countries and cities do you pass on the way? Do you fly over any oceans or seas? Can you use compass directions in your writing? Challenge – Write this is the form of a diary.
  10. World Facts: Use the internet to find answers to questions from around the world. Here are some suggestions for questions.
    1. What is the capital of Japan? ________________________2. What is the capital of Australia? __________________________
    2. What is the capital of Fiji? __________________________4. Which countries surround the Black Sea? ____________________
    3. What sea is to the East of the United States? _________________6. What is the capital of Cuba? ______________________
    4. In which country is Rio de Janeiro? __________________ 8. In which country is Karbala? _____________________
    5. Which country does the Nile flow through? (or countries?) 10. In which countries does the Sahara lie?
  11. Challenge – Older children could think of the questions they want to find the answers to.