Maps that make sense

Eleanor Watts

The most difficult subject at school can actually be made interesting if presented in a visual form with activity materials.

Many teachers introduce mapping by way of India or the world – both of which are very abstract for young children. After all, practically none of them will have gone up into space and how many of them have been able to see the shapes of coastlines and the whiteness of snow-covered mountains! So the best place to start making maps is the school itself – a shared environment which the children and their teachers are familiar with.

Naturally, one could never expect to find a map of one’s own school in a text book. It has to be drawn by the teacher on the board or on paper. In my view it doesn’t matter if it is not drawn exactly to scale so long as the children realise that a map is a picture of a place from above – a bird’s eye view – and that they can place known features roughly in the right place.

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