David Byrne once said, “We’re on the road to nowhere.” Johnny Cash once proclaimed that he’s “been everywhere, man.” Dave Matthews just simply asked, “Where are you going?” Was David lost? Johnny must’ve been confident in his navigational skills. Maybe Dave forgot his map. Therefore, Mr. B declared last week, “We’re going to learn about maps!”
We started a new unit of study in Gorge Studies. This unit of study is all about maps. We’re transitioning from being geologists to being cartographers. Don’t worry, we’ll be returning to our role as geologists a little bit down the road, but before we do, we have to learn how to use a map. Among the conversation points brought up last week stemmed from the questions “What’s a map?” and “Where do we find maps?” The overwhelming response was that a map is something that shows us where to go and we find it on our phones. I wonder what I would’ve said when I was a 4th grader back in the good ole days of 1994. At the time, Zach Morris was the only one that was rockin’ a phone and I’m pretty sure his didn’t have a map on it, let alone a screen. I probably would’ve said something along the lines of, “It’s a book in our car that my dad refuses to use and my Mom wishes he just would.”
To appease the masses, I did admit that we find maps on our phones. However, we also find them on our iPads! Using Google Maps, I pulled up Indonesia. Why? Well, because one of our classmates, Ben, is currently in Indonesia visiting family. Awesome. Ok, so where is he? We had the map, but it was not obvious where Ben was in relation to the millions of other people in Jakarta. We are lucky enough to have maps at our convenience whenever we need one, but without some skill and prior knowledge, the map is not going to tell us everything that we need to know. Let the building of prior knowledge begin!
For the next couple of weeks, we’re going to be learning about what a compass rose is and how it’s used, play around with Google Earth and Google Maps, learn how a scale is very important when looking at maps (think Alaska), watch some cool videos about maps, make our own maps, compare and contrast different types of maps, learn how maps most certainly a unique form of art, and in the process of all that, we’re going to prepare for our studies of the United States.