Get Mapmaking (How to Get Creative with Maps) Review
It can be difficult to find appropriate resources for middle and high schoolers when it comes to social studies, especially if you’re a homeschooler, and even more especially if you’re a secular homeschooler.
My 13 year old daughter LOVES social studies. Loves, loves, loves. Her dream is to become a writer who is able to travel the world as she writes historical fiction. She spends her days learning about how other cultures live, what their country is like…and she spends hours and hours planning her trip to get to the country. She compares air fare, sketches maps, memorizes subway schedules. She’s really in love with the idea of traveling and learning about other people.
Get Mapmaking is the perfect book for her. Get Mapmaking teaches kids the ins & out of cartography, but it’s real strength is in the creative process it employs. When I was a child we learned about maps by using free gas station maps of our state, and while that is still a valid option, Get Mapmaking teaches the kids HOW to make maps so they know how to use them.
The premise of Get Mapmapking is that your child is presented with unique mapping situations. There are no traditional “sit and read this and then do the activity” lessons in this book, your child opens the book and starts immediately!
The first activity is a simple introduction that has your child mapping their bedroom. There are two steps to follow and several questions to get your child’s creativity flowing.
The second activity introduces your child to the compass and has them design ornate compasses that are themed to their map.
As the book progresses your child is challenged to think more and open up their creative minds even more. Some of the fun mapping activities include mapping their brain, designing silly road signs, mapping the moon, making a topography key, and designing a subway system.
A note about age appropriateness: This book was written with older children in mind, in fact, it’s just about perfect for the late middle and early high school years. Someone asked me if I think this book is appropriate for kids in elementary school, and I’m going with a solid “probably not”, and here’s why:
-The book is written in an unusual font. Not unusual as in bad, just unusual as in sort of hard to read if you don’t have solid reading skills. Also, all of the letters are upper case and that could confuse younger children. While it may not work for younger kids, it’s PERFECT for older kids who are skilled readers because the font is really neat and screams “adventure!”
-This book would work with parental participation, but that might not be as effective. The book is meant to open up the creative brain in your child, and to do that working solo is usually more effective. Again, while that makes this book less than ideal for a young child, it’s terrific for older kids who are working toward becoming independent learners!
-Some of the maps may be a little over the young child’s head or a little too intricate. There is a map of a dungeon, a map of a human palm, a crime scene map (stolen jewels), a map of a robot’s head, etc.
Our final impressions: This is a COOL book, so cool, in fact, that I want a copy for myself. It’s like an adult coloring book taken to the next level. My daughter really enjoyed this book (and one day she might let me photograph her, but today is apparently not that day!) She says, “I am an adventurer at heart, and so is this book. Get Mapmaking takes what can be a boring subject (for those who don’t like travel as much as I do) and makes it fun!”