Wednesday, 8 August 2012

NatGeo Map Maker Kits - NOT Just for Geography!

It didn't take long for my teaching partner and me to discover that our students knew very little geography. As we read multicultural books and used them to teach vocabulary, writing, etc., we began to make extensive use of our classroom globe and maps. We discovered that a large laminated map taped to the table made for rich discussions and great hands-on opportunities for our students. A collection of money from various countries piqued the kids' interest, as did a set of state quarters. The students enjoyed placing the money on the correct spot on the map, and thought of it as a game. We used dry-erase markers to write directly on the map when appropriate, which they loved.

Some of our table maps came from past issues of National Geographic; others we found online, printed in sections, and taped together. BTW, in addition to being possibly the classiest magazine in the world, National Geographic has an amazing website, a vast and fabulous resource for teachers. You will find more there than you could ever believe for every grade and every subject, NOT just geography.

But this post is about maps, so here it is: NatGeo Map Maker allows you to download, print, and assemble huge maps for your classroom - the World (both political and physical), the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and Oceania, the United States, and Polar Regions. A tutorial provides helpful hints on laminating, etc. Isn't this pic from the NatGeo site awesome?
I'm imagining uses that are completely cross-curricular: Reading/Language Arts (as we used our maps in our ESL classroom), Science for ecosystems (and much more), Math for measurements (and yes, much more), and of course, Social Studies. How can you make use of this incredible resource in your curriculum? Enjoy!

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