Thursday, June 25, 2009

Blackline Maps

Learning where things are in relation to the rest of the world is very helpful when learning about a place's culture, history, or current events. There are several ways to do this. I like playing online games. One of the most effective ways to learn the location of countries, states, cities, rivers, mountains, and other land formations, however, is to study maps and fill out blackline maps. Filling out blackline maps over and over again provides for multiple learning styles. We fill out blackline maps for whatever area we are studying.

Here is how we fill out blackline maps. First, we figure out what we want to fill in. If we are studying the expansion of the Roman civilization across Europe, Asia, and Africa, we might fill in important water sources, the path they took, and their eventual territory.

Then, we'll use different colors to color different things. We usually use blue for water. However, we use different colors mainly to differentiate between various paths, civilizations, etc.

If we are trying to memorize where the various states are, we'll color them different colors to help keep them straight in our minds. Then, we'll label them. The different colors help those visual learners. The act of coloring and writing the names in the shapes helps kinesthetic learners. Reading the words while you write also helps visual learners. Have the children say the names while they write them. This will help auditory learners.

There are many resources for blackline maps. You can find many free printable maps online. Maps of the World has a good selection. World Atlas also has a good selection. You can find links to historical maps here. If you can afford it, buying a good blackline map book, made for this purpose, will save you a lot of time. Knowledge Quest has an excellent book and cd set that has every historical blackline map you could want for $45 (for families- it may be more for schools and co-ops). If anyone has any suggestions for other resources for blackline maps, I would love to add links to this.

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