During the fall semester, I was enrolled in a graduate course called Global Learning: Teach the World in Your Classroom. If you’ve ever read about our experience with the Global Read Aloud or my love of She’s the First, you know this is a huge passion of mine. This is the third in a series of four blog posts, in which I’ll be bringing what I learned from the course to you.
I’ll never forget the first time I saw a map similar to the one above hanging in my middle school classroom. If you’ve seen the clip from The West Wing in which CJ sees the south-up Peters Projection for the first time, you know what my reaction looked like. The maps we use shape our understanding of the world. Maps can challenge our thinking or bring to light information we hadn’t previously considered.
This fascinating video from Hank Green shows 42 different maps, and explains how maps are not just a representation of the world, but a representation of what the world was like when the map was created.
How Global Mapping Has Changed My Teaching
I think it is so extremely important for my students to see that the world has so much for them to discover. When we only show students one world map, we only show them one way of thinking. We need to provide students with opportunities to think creatively about what the world has to offer. I hope that every teacher will do what my middle school teacher did, and provide students with maps that will ask them to think differently.
Here are a few maps I’m hoping to use with my third graders to help drive critical thinking:
Resources for Global Mapping
- One resource shared by our professor that was brand new to me was a sound map. By browsing, you can listen to the sounds of different locations around the world. You might hear a coffee being ordered in a different language in a country halfway across the globe, or the sounds of rainforest animals far removed from the city. I can imagine using this as a writing prompt in the classroom. What might students create if they are asked to write a story that would take place in a certain soundscape?
- MetricMaps.org compiles lots of data into easy-to-read maps. These would be great to look at and analyze with a middle or high school class!
Have you used global mapping with your students? Do you have favorite maps you like to share? Let us know in the comments below!