As we had been looking at maps during our Five in a Row work for Katy and The Big Snow, I thought we would have a group session looking at maps in more detail at home too with some friends.
We started by looking at different maps I had collected and talked about what each one shows us.
We looked in this library book which showed us topographic maps and how scientists use ultrasound to even map the bottom of the sea.
We then discussed what maps have in common - scale, key, grid/co-ordinates and cardinal directions (compass points).
I read from this Ordnance Survey page about how to measure distance using string and then we did this activity to practice. The children each did one question measuring a distance with their string and then we measured the string on a ruler and compared it to the scale. This worksheet looked great too but we didn't get round to it.
I gave each child a page number and grid reference for them to find something in either the Newcastle A-Z or the UK road atlas. These were things they would know such as the Tyne Bridge, Buckingham palace and Newcastle train station.
We talked about some of the key symbols we could see in the maps and how some of them are easy to interpret, such as the caravan site and how some are more difficult and you need to read the key, such as the bus station.
We then answered some of these challenge questions which encompassed all of the elements we had already worked on as well as cardinal directions. This was a great resource and, although they needed a bit of help, they enjoyed doing this part and it was a good challenge.
This was a good session and all the ages 4-7 found different parts challenging. It introduced some important concepts and they all understood and hopefully saw the practical use for the activities we did by using 'real' maps we would actually need in day-to-day life.