Map Reading

Resource Info

Basic Information

A map is a representation of the earth or a part of the earth, drawn with the aid of a scale, on a flat sheet of paper. We need maps in our day to day life and its study is not restricted to Geography alone. A map gives valuable information and enlarges our mental horizon. It gives a person the joy of exploring and discovering the world just by consulting maps. It is therefore very important to teach the child the basic skills of how to read a map. Map reading is an abstract phenomenon. We should not rush with the concept but teach the child the skill of map reading in stages.

The following module guides the teacher step by step on how to introduce map reading in the pre-primary and primary class. 

Lesson plan Details

Duration: 
02 hours 40 mins
Introduction: 

A map is a representation of the earth or a part of the earth, drawn with the aid of a scale, on a flat sheet of paper. We need maps in our day to day life and its study is not restricted to Geography alone. A map gives valuable information and enlarges our mental horizon. It gives a person the joy of exploring and discovering the world just by consulting maps. It is therefore very important to teach the child the basic skills of how to read a map. Map reading is an abstract phenomenon. We should not rush with the concept but teach the child the skill of map reading in stages.

The following module guides the teacher step by step on how to introduce map reading in the pre-primary and primary class. 

Objective: 

At the end of each session/level, the following objectives will be met:

  • Students of class 2 will be familiar with the concept of location
  • Students of class 3 will be able to draw sketch maps with the help of symbols and colors.
  • Students of class 4 will be able to identify the four cardinal directions with respect to the sun’s position.
  • Students of class 5 will be able to locate places on the map with the help of latitudes and longitudes.
  • Students of class 6 will be able to understand the concept of scale and its conversion; calculate the actual ground distance between places, from the map, by referring to its scale.
Steps: 

Steps

class 2

Step 1:

Introducing the concept of location

The first stage in map reading is to teach the child the concept of location. To do this, you may ask the child to name his friend sitting on his right; left; in front and at the back. Repeat the process with the other children in the class.

Children at this stage are very confused with the concept of left and right. In order to reinforce the learning, you may take the children for a walk. Ask them to list the objects they see on their way to their right, as well as to their left.

While on their walk, ask them to name the things or objects which are near as well as far. You may also ask them to look up at the sky in the early morning and in the evening and tell them that some things or objects like the sun, moon and stars are very far.

Making the child familiar with such directional words like ‘left’, ‘right’, ‘near’ and ‘far’, will help them develop the concept of location.

Once in the classroom, ask the children to draw a picture of the road on which they had walked and the things they had seen (trees, houses, park or playground etc.) on to their right and left.

If the children cannot draw such detailed diagram or picture, the teacher may give them picture (a) attached in the appendix and ask them to name the things they see in the picture on their left and right.


Step 2:

 Class 3

Introducing the concept of sketch map i.e. drawing a sketch of the classroom and the school backyard with symbols and colors.

Before introducing the concept of drawing sketch maps, the teacher should teach the children about symbols and signs which are very necessary in drawing sketch maps. To teach this concept, the teacher can do the following with the children:

Tell the children how some objects could be represented by signs and symbols. Initially the teacher can take the help of some common signs and symbols that we see on the roadside. For example ‘Parking place’ (shown by the letter P), ‘No Parking’ (shown by a line cut across the letter P), railway crossing (showing a railway track), ‘Bump ahead’ (showing a hump across the road), toilets (men/women figures are drawn) etc. and tell the students that sometimes without writing the text one can make use of  pictures and drawings. Such drawings of pictures are known as symbols or signs. Refer picture (b) in the appendix.

The teacher can now represent some common objects like flowers, trees and grass with the help of drawings or symbols, on the blackboard and make an index on one corner stating which symbol depicts which object.

The teacher can now ask the students to draw their classroom with symbols/signs/colors and make an index in one corner of their drawing, stating the meaning of the symbols drawn.

 

Let the children make their own symbols and choose their own colors. Give them the freedom to do so.

 

Once the students/children learn to draw their classroom, the teacher can take the children to other familiar surroundings, say the school backyard.

Demarcate a small area of the school backyard. This will make things easy for the children.

 

Ask the children to move around the demarcated area of the school backyard and carefully observe the objects (both natural and man-made) around them.

Let the children draw what they see in the backyard with the help of colors and symbols of their choice. Also tell them to make an index in one corner of their drawing.

Allow the children to keep things simple and the teacher at this point of time should not be fussy about the lack of proportion or perspective.

 

Step 3:

Class 4

Introducing the concept of directions

Now is the time to introduce the concept of the four cardinal directions i.e. north, south, east and west. Direction is an important element of a map that helps us find the way.

To teach direction to the children, the best way is to take them to the school backyard in the morning and ask them to stand facing the sun with their arms stretched. Tell the students that the sun rises in the east; therefore their face is facing the east. Also tell them that in the morning when you stand facing the sun, your left hand shows the north, right hand shows the south, and your back shows the west and the front is the east. Standing with their arms stretched, now ask the children to name some objects which they can see to their left. Tell the children that all these objects lie to the north with respect to the school. Similarly ask the children to name few objects to their right and tell the children that all these objects are found to the south, with respect to the school. Do the same exercise for east and west.

Once they have learnt about the four directions of their school with respect to the sun, they can now be taught about the four directions with respect to their classroom.

The teacher can now ask the students to draw either the school backyard or their classroom, using their own symbols and colors and indicate the north direction with the help of an arrow (the arrow head pointing to the north).

Ask the children to give a title to their drawing.

Tell the students that what they have drawn is called a sketch map. 

 

A drawing made without actual measurements is called a sketch.

 

To reinforce their learning, the students may be asked to do the following:

Draw a sketch map from your house to school, showing the important landmarks on their way.

Step 4:

Class 5

Teaching students how to locate places on the map with the help of latitudes and longitudes.

The students in class 5 have already studied about the lines of latitude and longitude. The teacher will make use of an atlas to teach students how the latitudes and longitudes can help them locate places on the map.

Ask the students to refer to the ‘political map of India’ in their atlas.

 Show them the lines of latitude and longitude which crisscross the map.  Help them to locate the Tropic of Cancer as well.

Let them identify the different latitudes and longitudes which pass closest to the important cities like Delhi (28 degree north and 77 degree east approximately); Mumbai (18 degree north and 72 degree east approximately); Chennai (13 degree north and 80 degree east approximately); Kolkata (22 degree north and 88 degree east approximately) etc.

Next, you can name some latitudes and longitudes, and the students by referring to them can find the names of the cities which correspond to the latitudes and longitudes mentioned by you.

You may also show the children the ‘Index’ given at the back of the atlas which gives the names of the cities/places with their latitudes and longitudes. This index helps to locate places on the map.

 

Assessment: 

 

The students of classes 4 and 6 can complete the attached worksheets. 

 

 

Reference Material  

Website:  http://www.brighthub.com/education/special/articles/16946.aspx

Books:   ICSE Map Study, Heemanshu Publications

A Textbook of Geography by Rita Rajen

Comments

Swarnima Sharma's picture

A very nice and comprehensive guide to map reading. Thank you so much for this piece of writing.

18481 registered users
7227 resources