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The Importance of Teaching Map Skills and How I've Got You Covered

The Importance of Teaching Map Skills and How I've Got You Covered

In today's digital age, it's easy for students to rely solely on GPS and smartphones to get from point A to point B. However, there is great value in understanding the fundamentals of maps, both in the physical and digital realms. As a teacher, I know that nurturing solid map skills in our students is like handing them a key to unlock the world's treasures, and I've created a ready-to-go resource to help your students do just that.

I like to cover map skills at the beginning of the year because it's tremendously helpful when we start studying geography and history. Here are just a few reasons why I believe teaching map skills are still important during this digital age.

Spatial Awareness: Maps help students develop spatial awareness, a skill that's vital not only for geography but also for problem-solving in various subjects. It improves their ability to visualize information, make connections, and think critically.

Global Citizenship: In an increasingly interconnected world, map skills are essential for understanding global issues, cultures, and events. They foster a sense of global citizenship, encouraging students to engage with the world beyond their immediate surroundings.

Independence and Confidence: Knowing how to read a map gives students a sense of independence and self-confidence. They can navigate unfamiliar places, plan routes, and make informed decisions - valuable life skills.

Interdisciplinary Learning: Map skills transcend geography. They can be integrated into math, history, science, and even literature lessons. This interdisciplinary approach makes learning more engaging and relevant.

Don't Worry, I've Got You Covered:

If you find yourself in a position like mine where I had no social studies resources to draw from, pulling together high-quality materials is time-consuming. My goal is to save you time by not only having everything you need to teach map skills in one place but to provide you with a resource that is straightforward and low prep to take out all the guesswork.

I've designed this resource bundle to include both print and digital learning options to meet all different classroom needs. Your students will gain an understanding of key terms and understandings and will have an opportunity to read, analyze, and apply their knowledge of geographic features with various practice activities.

Map Skills Print and Digital Lesson Plan Bundle with Practice Worksheets

The print version is super easy to implement as you can either print the entire booklet and triple staple, or handpick which pages work best for your students. The digital option is set up in Google Slides and mirrors the print version.

I've carefully crafted this lesson to move through the concepts in a systematic way. It starts with simple concepts such as directions and types of maps, and moves into more complex understandings such as map grids, projections, and coordinate directions. Your students will have an opportunity to practice these concepts throughout the lessons.

Map Skills Key Concepts Practice Worksheets

Concepts Covered In This Ready-to-Go Resource:

:: What are directions?

:: Directions in your space

:: How does a map help me?

:: Your knowledge of maps

:: What is a globe?

:: The continents

:: Label the continents (print versions and drag & drop digital)

:: What is satellite imagery (Google Earth link)

:: What are map projections?

:: What is a political map?

:: What is a physical map?

:: What is a topographic map?

:: Road maps, climatic maps, and economic and resource maps

:: Location vs. place

:: Determine your location and place using Google Earth (included in digital version)

:: Why maps are helpful

:: How maps communicate

:: Large scale vs. small scale (fill in the blank)

:: Parts of a map

:: Label the map (print version fill in the blank and digital drag & drop)

:: Cardinal directions

:: Relative Location (read the map and fill in the blank)

:: Compass rose

:: Determine the photo direction (digital version uses Google Earth)

:: Explore Machu Picchu on Google Earth (included in the digital version)

:: What is a map scale?

:: How to find distance on Google Earth (included in digital version)

:: How to find area and perimeter on Google Earth (included in digital version)

:: Distance, area, and perimeter practice on Google Earth (included in digital version)

:: Use the map scale on U.S. map (included in print version)

:: What are map grids?

:: Use the map grid (determine and fill in the blank)

:: Lines of latitude and longitude

:: Equator and Prime Meridian

:: What are hemispheres?

:: Determine the hemisphere (print version fill in the blank and digital drag & drop)

:: How to find coordinate directions

:: Determine the coordinate directions (fill in the blank)

:: How do time zones work?

:: Determine United States time zones (fill in the blank)

:: Maps then and now (analyze historical maps of United States)

:: Time-lapse (analyze the map about deforestation)

:: Make connections using Google Earth Timelapse (included in digital version)

:: What are resource maps?

:: Analyze the economic map (fill in the blank)

:: Read the road map (fill in the blank)

:: Reflection

Map Skills Worksheets with Key Understandings and Practice Opportunities

What Teachers are Saying:

"A very complete resource for teaching map skills. Students can learn concepts and practice skills with this activity pack. The activities are engaging and offer meaningful practice." - L.P.

"My students lacked map skills basics and our text has none, I am using this to build upon. It is easy to use and self-explanatory." A.T.

"Was looking for ways to 'up' my map skills lessons and this was the perfect addition to it!" - V.T.

Map Skills Digital and Paper Practice Activities

You can find the print and digital Map Skills Bundle by clicking HERE.


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