One essential skill I wasn’t taught in my kindergarten-through-master’s-degree education was how to read a road map. I learned this skill on my own through trial and error after I bought my first car at the age of 25 and worked as a reporter-intern at the Indianapolis Star. I’m spatially challenged, and maps and MapQuest directions are now my lifeline when I visit a new city for Education Week. And even then, sometimes I get lost.
So if learning how to read a wide range of maps—from a highway map to Google Earth—isn’t yet part of state academic standards (let me know if it’s part of your state’s), I think it should be. I got a press release today for a book that it seems could be a resource for teachers who want to help advanced students learn how to read some really sophisticated kinds of maps. It’s called Map Use: Reading and Analysis, Sixth Edition.
In browsing the Internet, I see that teachers are sharing lessons about how to familiarize students with ordinary kinds of maps, both for children in lower grades and in higher grades. Update: The International Cartographic Association sponsors a map-making contest for children, which looks intriguing.
ESRI Press, the publisher of Map Use, also publishes some other books that seem to be tailored for educators to teach about maps or mapping software.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.