I'm am pleased to say that I have posted two more map sets on my store at Teachers Pay Teachers!
1. The Prairie Provinces
One of the challenges of drawing maps, besides finding reliable sources, is choosing what to include or not include. I have lived in various places, and like many other people, I lived in Winnipeg for a short time. I graduated from high school there! I remember that year (1979 to be precise) when the Red River flooded. I remember flying over the flooded fields when our band went to Kelowna – my first exposure to BC. I remember Brandon, Winkler, Steinbach and even the name of Flin Flon. Manitobans know that you can't drive to Churchill and that you can ski on the Red River Spillway in the winter. My experienced gave me a bias as to which places I should include on my maps. But the problem is that my experience is limited to Manitoba.
I had some ideas for Alberta since it's our neighbouring province and I hear stories from my in-laws and friends. Saskatchewan had me stumped, though. So I took to the internet and tourism sites to learn about Saskatchewan. And you know what? It was interesting!! I learned a bit about the Rebellion at Cypress Hills, and the Doukhobor Dugout built in 1899, and about Fort Qu'Appelle and the fur traders, about Claybank Brick Factory, and even a bit about Swift Current petroglyphs. And that's just scraping the surface. My friend, Dale, had just cycled through the prairies and he mentioned various places (and ghost towns) along the way. So with a limited amount of research completed, I put together a map of The Prairie Provinces. Included are maps with and without cities, lakes, or rivers so the maps would be useful for Grade 3s learning about the regions, to Grade 5s learning about explorers and fur traders, to high school learning about significant places in Canada's political history.
I look forward to drawing detailed provincial maps, like the one I did for BC. Perhaps I can even do some written work at low-level reading or some Canadian-based editing paragraphs on our fascinating history. I love learning!!
2. A Political World Map
When I was teaching Socials in Grade 6, I was often hard pressed to find a decent printable map of the world. It took me hours of research to find one that I could use as my source.
I struggled to decide which map projection I would use, and I just may draw the others in time. I like the Interrupted Goode's map that looks like an orange peel. It represents a more accurate land area. The Mercator, used by Google Maps, is great for navigation but makes Greenland look larger than Australia. I was not happy with the distortion. I settled on the Robinson map, which is what Rand McNally atlases use.
After a couple of tries drawing the map on an 11x17" paper, I decided to draw this map a bit larger than the final product. It took two large sheets of my particular paper. The extra large map allowed me to outline the tiny nations with greater precision. Even still, some of the countries are so small that even my 0.3mm pen was not fine enough. I could use a 0.1mm pen, but the lines disappear in the reduction process. Drawing the map larger then reducing the size in InDesign gave the small countries better representation. Please note that this map is created by a human – the accuracy is not perfect. But for education and showing data, it will do perfectly.
Once complete, I formatted the map for Tabloid size (11x17") and created four versions of it in that size, with and without various labels. Since letter-size is not perfectly scalable, I laid out the map in Letter-sized and then again in Legal-sized formatting.
Now for some theory. Map literacy is not about colouring the countries, although that can be fun. It's about showing relationships. This map can be used in a variety of ways: colour French-speaking nations or Spanish-speaking nations, or colour countries according to population density. Do you notice any patterns? Perhaps draw lines showing export and import relationships or according to Gross National Product. These are the data that will begin to teach kids mapping literacy. It's more than teaching the 'alphabet' of maps, like lat/long, symbols, compass, etc. Now more than ever, students need to evaluate maps and decide on their validity. I'm afraid I've started on a slippery path that will end up in another unit "Teaching Map Literacy." Back to work!!