Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources in our Teachers Toolkit. And be sure to click the links in this study guide—there are some great maps out there!
- Food mappers Henry Hargreaves and Caitlin Levin used continent and country-level scales to create their maps. What scales could you consider?
- global. Here, succulents have been mapped onto a huge globe.
- nation. The Italian landscapers who created this hillside map focused on just one country.
- large region. This map shows the hazy boundaries between the soda people and the pop people.
- state or province. This classic map uses state license plates to differentiate state boundaries.
- county or small region. This map divides a single U.S. state (South Carolina) into four “barbecue regions.”
- city or neighborhood. This map, made entirely with drinking straws, represents the tunnels and tubes of the London Underground, the subway system of London, England.
- school. Our activity “Create a Pasta Population Map” encourages students to map their school.
- Get creative! Consider our map collection and mapping activities, as well as the various layers in MapMaker Interactive for ideas.
- agricultural regions?
- climate zones?
- linguistic communities?
- areas linked by history or politics, such as regions that once belonged to an ancient empire or kingdom?
- areas united by the species range of an animal?
- nations that are part of international organizations such as NATO or the Arab League?
- nations that share a technology, such as nuclear weapons?
- nations with a high or low standard of living?
- Use our MapMaker Kits on the global, regional, or state scale to build a framework for your unusual-materials map. Three-dimensional materials can sometimes emphasize a map’s theme in ways a flat representation cannot. What are some possible three-dimensional materials you may want to use on your MapMaker flat map?
- clay. In our activity “Make a Contour Map,” students create clay mountains, which helps them better understand the three-dimensional aspects of topography and topographic maps.
- food. In addition to the food maps in the Nat Geo News article, this map uses breakfast cereals. (This might be a fun map to make if you’re mapping your school or classroom! Use student preferences to create a food-centric class map.)
- coins. This lovely map was made with about 3,000 coins, to illustrate the world’s economic markets. (Each nation is represented with its own currency.)
- e-waste. This beautiful world map was made using recycled computers.
- household goods. This map of the United States was made with 50,000 matches—and then lit on fire.
- blocks. Legos, used to create this remarkable map of Europe, are pretty much standard construction materials at this point.
- Get creative!
- Seeds or seedlings could represent your area’s native plant community
- Rocks or sand could represent the geology of a region.
- Waste—such as wrappers and other packaging—could represent consumer tastes in an area. (Another fresh idea for mapping a school, especially if your school has multiple grades and waste could reflect huge age differences.)
- If you don’t want to use unusual materials, you can use our MapMaker Kits as a base to incorporate other unusual data in your maps. What are some data you may want to include on a MapMaker flat map?
- Logos or equipment could represent a region’s interest in sports.
- Smell maps and sound maps could create interactive maps of local regions. (Read our study guides for help getting started!)
- Don’t stop there! Let “guerrilla geographer” Daniel Raven-Ellison inspire you and your students to re-think geography and get creative.
- Standard flat maps can also be repurposed in creative ways. This artist uses road maps to create portraits of people. What type of map or map layers would you or your students use to create a self-portraits?
Henry Hargreaves and Caitlin Levin: Food Maps
Nat Geo: MapMaker Kits
Nat Geo: Map and Mapping collection
Nat Geo: Make a Contour Map activity
Nat Geo: Sniffing Out Cartography study guide
Nat Geo: Sound Out Your City study guide
Nat Geo: Guerrilla Geography video