Saturday, May 7, 2011

Maps in Three

The goal of the first lesson was to produce a scaled map of the interior of our house.  W enjoyed using the tape measure on the walls, and I did the work of translating the measurements to a floormap.  I motivated the lesson by letting W know that we would be using the maps in the second lesson to do treasure hunts.

The treasure hunts were a blast!  I photocopied the map and gave W one of the maps with an X on it.  At the X, he found a candy egg and another map for the next hunt.  I spent a lot of time with W showing him how to orient the map and determine the general area in a room where the X was.

In the third lesson, I printed out Google maps of our town, state, country, and world.  On the town map, I circled our property; on the state map, I circled our town, and so on.  After looking at these maps and discussing them, we went out on the road for a drive around town, with the task for W to navigate our way to the ball field (where we threw a frisbee around) and back.  W did a good job of keeping track of where we were on the map and letting me know what the next road would be, but he had trouble with determining whether a turn would be a left or a right.  Since we were doing a big loop, he eventually learned that every turn we were making was a left turn.

Maps are a great way to learn concepts around abstraction, spatial reasoning, and data visualization.  They also help us explore and learn about the world around us, and they can be employed for activities that are actually fun.  I suspect we'll be seeing lots of maps in future Daddy lessons.

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