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Making Maps: So Much More Than Social Studies

April 28, 2010

For the past month, we have been working on mapping skills in class. The students have learned how to create and read a legend, as well as learned how to create and read a map. They now know the important information to include on a map, as well as information that does not need to be included on a map. They understand the importance of a scale, and they know why objects on a map are smaller than objects in real life.

Today my students worked in partners to create community maps. They needed to include at least five street names on their maps and use the items that we created in our group legend on their maps.

It was amazing watching the students work together on this activity. Every child was engaged, and every child was contributing to the final product. The incredible thing about this activity though was that it was about so much more than Social Studies. When students were asked to reflect on their maps, they all thought that they did a “great job,” and when asked why, they commented on the fact that they helped each other well, they worked together to create one final piece, and they learned that it’s okay to not always get your way. Who knew that a Social Studies activity could be as much about mapping as about character education?

I’m so proud of what my students did today, and here’s a little slideshow that they made — from uploading the photographs to choosing the music — to showcase their amazing work. After watching this video, please leave a comment here with any feedback you have on this mapping activity as well as any mapping activity suggestions that you may have. I would love to hear what you have to say!


Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Next Day …

As a follow-up to this activity, we did a more formalized self-assessment the next day at school. All of the students contributed their thoughts to a couple of Wordles: one where they looked at what they liked about their maps and one where they looked at what they would add to or change about their maps the next time. These Wordles will be up for display at Open House on Thursday, May 6th. I was so impressed with my students’ reflections.



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