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According to Wikipedia, geography is a field of science dedicated to the study of the lands, the features, the inhabitants, and the phenomena of the Earth. This subject is often overlapped with the earth science for honest. For those who use unit study method, that is not a kind a of matter at all. Although mapping activities are not only used in the geography lessons, what makes geography really different with the earth science are the mapping. Mapping is a very exciting for us in many different ways.
Mapping is like flying
Watching a map makes us feel like a superman flying in the sky looking at the flat bed of soil and water on the earth freely. It is a very great imagination time to spend in the sky. We enjoy watching the various kinds of places and visit them virtually “above the planet”. Even playing driving the airplane is a really exciting activity when they were small.
Mapping activities induces inquiry of places
At the time we are flying above the earth and looking down to the globes or map, we often wonder who live on the land, how they look like, what they eat, what they do to make a life, etc. Surrounding by different environment, there are various societies living in with various cultures. Thus, after doing some mapping activities, we often get curious about some life cultures and condition of the people.
Mapping activities are used in some subjects
Mapping activities were very dry for us before we use WonderMaps by Bright Ideas Press. I had to browse a lot of files and sites before I found the desired map. In history, we have another set of maps. So many maps with just common activities. Since we start using the WonderMaps by Bright Ideas Press, we find there are a lot of kinds of mapping activities for geography, world history and bible available.
Mapping activities can increase the logic sense of direction
This is one purpose of doing mapping activities that we try to achieve. It is very embarrassing that I am not good at all in finding direction. I can be easily lost in places. It is also very hard for me to get familiar with direction and places. By doing some mapping activities, learners are expected to use more logic sense in finding ways and direction.
Reading and observing map train our skimming
Reading maps is a form of skimming practice for learners. They are required to find name(s) or location of places faster and more accurately. Of course this skill doesn't work by itself as the fast reading skill will be integrated with other things like reading index pages that require the alphabetical skill and also place clarification and identification using colors.
Studying a map can lead into better social relationship
Well, it is undeniable that people can start their relationship by knowing other places and environment better. Mapping activities to boost the mapping skills are really useful to give better knowledge of other places. Talking with others will be more confident if we know more about places and cultures. Those knowledge can lead into a closer relation between people in many fields of life.
Mapping activities are various
Our mapping activities were very limited to coloring and tracing in geography. Combined with North Star Geography, They are not only coloring and tracing. There are also constructing maps using salt dough, puzzle, and games. Kids can't wait for those activities. There are some online mapping activities available for free:
National Geography Mapping has hundreds of mapping activities classified by levels. It also has some online interactive map with a customized outline map in general.
Interactive lessons for understanding coordinates on maps provides some introduction on grid lines, city map, and world map. This site should be useful for Grade 2-4.
Teaching Ideas Map and Atlas Page has some worksheets and mapping activities for a range of grades.
Mapping Skills activities from Mr. Donn provides some presentation of mapping skills. There are also some hands on activities in one of the links. The activities listed are divided into teachers' and students'
Jefferson County School dedicates some interesting activities about maps.
We have just been so engaged with mapping activities started from this academic year. It doesn't mean that we didn't care about it. We tried to find the most suitable tools for us to accommodate the need of outline maps which are practical to handle and to customize without lessening the beauty layout. It is great to find WonderMaps by Bright Ideas Press as the set of maps, which include the historical, biblical, and geographical maps. I just need to go to one place to get them in a much shorter time.