US – Thousands of schools across the nation have taken their geography, social studies and history classes into the digital age through Maps101. Maps101 is the leading interactive, online geography and social studies educational resource that offers its member teachers and students access to over 4,000 maps, current events, educational games, quizzes, lesson plans, reference atlases and more, which can be used as teaching and learning resources in a variety of subjects.
Liz Todd, a first grade teacher at Mohawk Trails Elementary in Noblesville, Indiana, uses Maps101 as a fun way to introduce young students to the “whys and hows” of using maps. “In the first grade,” says Todd, “we introduce the students to maps by describing them as ‘pictures of places taken from above — most often from an airplane or a helicopter.’ We used the School Locator feature on Maps101,” Todd continues, “to first take a look at the area around our school with satellite images and then we pinpointed its roof and playground. I began with a long-distance view and zoomed in, one level at a time. Then I zoomed back out, one level at a time, so the boys and girls could see how maps can display an area from two different distances. Then we went to a non-satellite image to compare the two views, and ended by creating a map of our classroom from above. The program is fun, interesting and easy to use. The kids just love it and they get so excited to see their school on the computer.”
Another teacher, Justin Lovelace of Park Hills Elementary in Gaffney, South Carolina, uses Maps101 to create an interactive lesson about Europe in the Middles Ages. “I began,” says Lovelace, “by cutting and pasting world history maps into an ACTIV Flipchart from Promethean. By incorporating the maps into the flipchart on the computer, the students could interact, highlight, mark and focus on the specific aspects of the maps we were studying. We examined the maps to determine which smaller kingdoms changed and grew into the countries we know today.
We also used the maps on the flipcharts to recreate maps from our textbooks. In doing this, the students were afforded the opportunity to trace and discover why and how the ‘Black Plague’ — one of the deadliest pandemics in human history — had spread through Europe so quickly.” As the students worked with the maps, they could use the flipchart to share ideas, debate topics and create higher order thinking skills through open discussion with each other and the teacher. “The use of technology,” states Lovelace, “enhances student education, but more importantly it gives me, the teacher, the opportunity to illustrate these historical events and then let the students take control and guide the lesson into deeper concepts with broader knowledge.