Teach First participant and Primary School teacher, Phoebe Rudgard, shares with us three of her favourite websites that use interactive maps to engage students with the world around them.
As a teacher, sometimes all you want is a good website. One that is interactive, visual and engaging. One which will help your students to see something from a completely different perspective, without you having to print off another worksheet or spend hours creating a PowerPoint.
Maps are also a fantastic way to encourage your students to contextualise an issue; they give young people perspective on the world, as they realise how small their place is within it. We tend to think of maps as always being huge, zoomed out versions of things, a way for us to see ‘the bigger picture’. But maps can also be extremely personal; they can give us an insight into people’s lives and the surrounding nature, causing us to focus on tiny details that me might otherwise miss.
Here are three fantastic websites which use maps to give us an insight into both the workings of the world and the things within it.
Worldmapper make unique, beautiful maps called cartograms. On these maps, territories are re-sized depending on the subject which is being addressed. The maps cover wide-ranging and diverse topics from the location of McDonald’s restaurants and world cup wins, to military spending and endangered animals. Every map is produced in bright colours and is sometimes accompanied by a quote, making the content suddenly far more personal and emotive. Alongside a fantastic array of maps, the website runs a blog in which the cartograms are discussed and there is educational material visualising topics such as poverty and refugee origins.
This award- winning interactive transmedia documentary showcases everyday life in the Domiz Camp, a refugee camp located in Northern Iraq. According to the UNHCR, there are now more than 50 million refugees worldwide, the most since the second World War. Refugee Republic aims to document the lives behind the statistics and demonstrate how refugee camps work like any other society, morphing into cities full of individuals trying to earn money and support their families. The refugee camp has been transformed into a stunning interactive sketch; explore the streets and homes and learn about the lives of the residents along the way.
The map explores themes including camp construction, life and money and includes thought-provoking quotes and questions which would provide excellent discussion points for students.
Nature Sound Map
An international team of professional nature recordists have collaborated to develop this interactive world map in which you can explore the sounds of nature from around the word. From the noise of thousands of insects in the Borneo jungle, to the soothing sound of waves crashing on the beach in Lombok in Indonesia, this map will help to immerse students in the diverse sounds of the planet’s wildlife. Particularly effective as a way to engage young children in concepts within geography and nature and a fantastic stimulus for a piece of creative writing, this website helps to show the beautiful diversity of the world and gives young people the chance to experience places they have never been to.
Blog by Teach First participant and Primary School teacher, Phoebe Rudgard.
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