Map Detectives is an interactive CD-Rom that teaches geography and mapping skills in an original, motivating way.
Author Simon Hosler has given us the best map-reading program for primaries that I've seen. It is an essential resource - one that was highly commended in the Geographical Association Awards. It enhances concepts crucial to map-reading by helping children to relate animated movement on a photograph directly to a representation on a map.
Playing the part of a private detective, pupils are spurred into action by a phone call from Lady Hartley asking them to solve a series of baffling burglaries.
Accompanying the CD are maps, character cards, help sheets, game sheets and a teacher's handbook. There are two scenarios - The Village Mystery and The Daylight Robbery - in which children try to track down the likely suspects. Navigating their way around with the aid of a cycling map, a London Underground map and a walking map - examples shown left - the pupils gather clues and eventually work out who the thief is. The animation and clever overlays on still photographs are a joy.
Chris Drage is a primary teacher at John Betts school, London