Reviewing Mapping Skills

Warm up Exercise 1 (one class period)

This activity will provide a refresher to the terms compass rose and cardinal (N,E,S, W) and intermediate directions (NE, NW,SE, SW) With a compass indicate the location of N, E, S, and W in the classroom. Divide the classroom into groups and have one member from each group post the directional sign in large letters on the corresponding wall (N, E, S, W). Have a map of the classroom on an overhead so that students can see where objects in the room are located. Draw a large compass rose on the board and make sure to include a compass rose on the classroom map. Have students answer directional questions such as: If one walks due east of the teacher's desk, what would he find? What direction is the door in relation to the windows? (This can be modified to include a mapping activity of the school or the neighborhood)
Have students reflect in an individual learning journal. You can either have a writing prompt for them or ask them to reflect on the activity in general.

Warm up Exercise 2

To introduce common symbols used on topographical maps, the teacher selects specific symbols to be learned and locate a map that includes these symbols. Make an outline of the symbols numbering each one.

Divide the class into heterogeneous groups and assign cooperative roles such as time- keeper, recorder, observer, and summarizer. Each group will have a large map on the wall with the outlined symbols (numbered). The first student in each group will go up to the large map and try to determine what the symbol number 1 is and return to the group to have the recorder write down the name of the symbol. Each student takes turns going up to the large map and finding the numbered symbols until all are identified. The time keeper makes sure that the students are on task and records the amount of time it takes the team to complete the task. The recorder writes each symbol down at the home group. The observer focuses on the interactions between group members and gives positive feedback to them. After all groups have finished, it is important to process the activity not only the academic outcome, but also the social outcome. The summarizer shares with the whole class how they decided upon the roles and how well they worked together as a team. This activity will give the students an introduction to map symbols so that they can incorporate into their original map design.
Have students reflect in an individual learning journal. You can either have a writing prompt for them or ask them to reflect on the activity in general.


Educational Materials authored by Laura Richter

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