Mapping skills are fun to teach and they are important skills for kids to learn. They will be skills that can be used throughout life for reading and interpreting maps, travel, navigation, and understanding the vastness of a country and the world.
What are some of the different skills needed?
There are many different elements to understand in mapping. Primary children are able to learn how to use grids, directions, legends, symbols, and scale. One of my favorite ways to teach using a grid and coordinates is to play Battleship. We didn't own the game, but my father used to draw out grids on paper and we would play the game. I used to have 4 or 5 sets of the game in my class, so it was a popular choice for free time.
Once they become familiar with using the grid, they can move on to identifying objects on a grid and writing down the coordinates. It is important to practice this until they are able to easily find items and also explain where they are. Children need to understand how the coordinates work and how to be able to locate spots on the grid. This can then be transferred to actual maps.
Next Steps For Teaching Mapping Skills
Here are some of the next steps that I cover when teaching mapping skills.
Some of the materials and terminology and what they represent:
There are different ways to represent the world we live in. A globe is a sphere that represents the earth and shows the various continents and bodies of water. Paper drawings of places are called maps. There are many different types of maps.
Maps have symbols on them. These are pictures or shapes that represent real objects or places.
Legends are guides that show the symbols and explain what they are. Most maps have legends to help with identifying objects and places.
Learning to understand directions and how to follow them is important if you want to make sure you are going the right way. A compass rose is used to show where to find north, east, south, west, and the places in between.
Maps can be used for fun activities also. Imagine finding a treasure map and having to follow the directions to locate the treasure.
Distance is another important thing to understand when learning mapping skills. In order to know how far away things are, a scale is used. For example, 1 inch could be 50 yards, or 2 cm could be 30 m.
Neighborhood maps are great for learning about areas where people live. Check out a few different types of neighborhoods and then maybe try to create one of your own.
It is a good way to practice using the skills learned in a practical way.
People use maps to plan trips, travel to different locations, and find specific places. Some people use paper maps, and others use electronic devices. It is important to learn how to read maps and follow directions.
A Freebie To Remember Different Skills
If you are interested in checking out some mapping skills using grids, here is a sampler for you. I also created this little mapping skills booklet that explains many of the things written about here in kid friendly language. You can check it out here.
Here are a couple of sample pages to check out.
Well, there you have a basic outline of how I teach mapping skills to my students. If you are interested in getting some of the mapping resources pictured above to use in your classroom or for online teaching, check out my social studies section in my TeachersPayTeachers store.
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About Me Charlene Sequeira
I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 9, and a retired primary and music teacher. I love working with kids and continue to volunteer at school and teach ukulele.