Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Teaching Kids Geography

To help teach my kids about the world around them I implemented a trick for teaching basic geography.

I scrounged around for the maps occasionally included as inserts in National Geographic Magazine and put them up, one at a time, on a conspicuous place in the kitchen. I wrote questions on index cards and taped them up around the map for the children to solve.

For example, this month we've got a map of the Balkans up so I have "Where is Budapest?" and "Where is Montenegro?" stuck around it.

When a child can answer all the questions they show me their answers and are eligible for a treat from The Bag. Sometimes it's a few M&Ms, sometimes it's a fancy pencil, whatever I happen to have on hand.

A good place to find maps is in the discard piles at your local library. They're always getting rid of old magazines, just make sure they're current.

For some other fun links to maps try these:
Middle Earth, an interactive map of Tolkien's world with zooms similar to Google Earth
Trove Maps, a site where you can make your own treasure maps
PediaX, a map that allows you to find the twenty top Wikipedia entries for each location
Bible Map, a site that allows you to see a map of each geographical location in the Bible indexed by the verse where it is referenced
Mapsack, which maps beaches, temples, ruins, castles and other cultural sites
Napoleon Dynamite's Sweet Map of Preston, Idaho, where you can seen scenes of the movie and where they were filmed. Sweet!

And don't forget Google Maps Mania which has the latest news on maps and Mapshark, which is a custom search engine for the best online maps.

Check in with Rocks in My Dryer every Wednesday for other good tips.


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22 comments:

chelle said...

Ooooo I totally adore this idea!! We keep showing our toddler where Canada is ... since we are in California at the moment ... Like that the maps change!

LammyAnn said...

now THAT is a wonderful WORKS FOR ME WEDNESDAY!
I LOVE IT!
Thanks for the tip!

Lammy said...

hmm--wonder why blogger won't link me!?
*sigh*

MC Milker said...

Terrific! We love maps at our house! I've picked up maps at the library too including historical maps which are lots of fun. Thanks for the links - I WILL check them out!

marina said...

I know the students I work with have the hardest time remembering the names of places and distinguishing between cities, states, and countries. This sounds like something I could work with to modify it for them.

Great ideas and resources!

scribbit said...

We even did this when the younger kids couldn't read. David wanted to participate--that sibling rivalry is a powerful tool I often exploit :)--so I made sure I wrote the city/lake/location EXACTLY as it appeared on the map, such as in all caps or in a script or with a capital city star in front of it. That way he could visually match the words even if he couldn't read the word.

Lauri said...

Great ideas and links - thanks for these - that Tolkien one looks like fun.

Julie in Texas said...

Great ideas! I am trying to figure out where I can hang a map now!

Thanks for posting.

Shalee said...

Oh, I think this is a fabulous idea. Excellent, Michelle. I think you earned a treat from The Bag.

scribbit said...

We hand ours next to the refrigerator. Everyone goes by there sooner or later. The bathroom wall wouldn't be bad, unless you don't want people languishing in that particular room :)

wayabetty said...

Michelle!! You never seized to amaze me with your creative ideas!! I'm so totally stealing this.

Katrina said...

Great tip - I want to implement that next summer! And I love all the links you provided. Thank you!

An Ordinary Mom said...

What a clever and fun way to teach kids! We will defintiely have to try it. Thanks for sharing and keep the great tips coming!

LinesFromTheVine said...

That is such an awesome tip! I'm making a trip to the thrift store tonight...I'm going to have to look for maps while I'm there!

Thank you!
Tracy

Nicole said...

This is another great idea. And another one that makes me feel guilty. :) Thanks for the tip.

chilihead said...

That's an excellent idea. I think I'll get right on this, as a matter of fact.

Mike said...

Great idea. Glad I kept all those maps inserted in our National Geographic subscription.

My 3-year old and 1-year are still too young to read. Perhaps I should use photos of places, events or things.

Mike
http://somethingaboutparenting.typepad.com/

Damselfly said...

Oh, I am so going to Trove Maps to make my own treasure map! Thanks!

Babystepper said...

That's a great idea! My little guy loves maps. We have a world map and a U.S. map up in his room right now. We'll have to try your idea in a few years.

Haley-O said...

You have the best advice here! I'm TERRIBLE at geography....So, thanks for the tips! :)

la bellina mammina said...

We have map of the world on the wall of the boy's room & they will make circles of the places their dad had travelled to for work...so thanks for this idea, will definitely try this out with them!

raghu said...

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geography