My group designed a lesson for SOL 3.6: “The student will develop map skills by using globes and maps.” We focused on the first standard of this SOL instead of trying to create a lesson plan for developing a complete understanding of all the continents.
The content of this SOL is fairly broad. We want the students to have a basic understanding of maps, so part of this is knowing a compass rose and understanding that North is not synonymous with up and that South is not synonymous with down. We also want the students to understand that when you look at a map, you are looking from a “bird’s eye view” — from high up in the sky. Another important concept for the students to master is the scale factor of a map: that one inch can represent one foot, or one mile, or one hundred miles. Finally, we want them to understand the difference between a map and a globe.
The way we plan on mastering this SOL starts by asking the students questions. We start with:
Okay, so if I [the teacher] am absent for the day and the substitute has to set the room up, how will they know where everything goes? Is there a kind of picture we can draw them that shows everything in its place? [A map!]
How will we differentiate between different objects that might look the same from up top, like a desk and a bookshelf? [A key!]
How can we make it clear on the map how close together or far apart everything is? [A scale!]
How can we make it clear which things go next to which walls? [A compass rose!]
Then, together as a class, we make a map of the classroom.
The next assignment is to have students individually work on making maps of their neighborhoods or their homes. I anticipate students needing a lot of help with this, so they’re allowed to help each other (as long as they each still make their own map) and ask the teacher for help.
After everyone has successfully made an individual map, we reconvene in the next lesson to make a 3d map of our school’s neighborhood as seen here.
Technology used for these lessons include rulers to make scale factors for the maps, a compass to show that the needle will always point to true North, and taking an interactive tour of the surrounding neighborhood with Google Maps to show the difference between the 2d (bird’s eye) map and 3d (street view) experience.
Content and pedagogy interact by using the classroom map we create together to teach about scale, a compass rose, and a key.
Content and technology interact by using a ruler to show students how to make accurate scale factors and a compass to learn about true North.
Pedagogy and technology interact by using Google Maps as a whole classroom to see how a 2d map can represent 3-dimensional surroundings.