How to Make a Map of a School

Teach children about maps by having them make their own.

Maps have a very long history. The first maps, according to Brief History of Maps and Cartography, may have been those found on Babylonian tablets that date back to 2300 BC. By the Roman era, maps were more recognizable and did feature a round earth. The more modern maps did not exist until the 1600s. The early maps were interpretive, more works of art than factual. With your students, you can create maps of your own featuring a building that features largely in your lives: the school.

Show the class pictures of old maps found in books tracing the history of maps. Show the earlier maps that had brilliant colors, details like trees and plants, but little accurate detail. Also show the way more modern maps may be less colorful but are more accurate.

Give the children large pieces of paper, and invite them to choose which style of map they would like to make: the more interpretive or the more accurate kind. For those who want to be more accurate, you can help them estimate the size of the building in relation to the land around it, and give pointers on how to draw maps to scale.

Encourage the children to color their maps and add details such as roads and sidewalks.

Have fun with the maps by trying to use them, walking from a chosen point to a location on the map. Hold an exhibition with the classroom maps.

Marjorie Gilbert is a freelance writer and published author. An avid researcher, Gilbert has created an Empire gown (circa 1795 to 1805) from scratch, including drafting the gown's patterns by hand.