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Primary Geography - Unlocking symbols

This was a fun game that has helped our Year 4 pupils read and understand maps. To start with, we held a short discussion about what maps are for, talking about layout, detail and keys. The children worked in five mixed-ability groups with their own map. They had five minutes to look at the map, discuss it, then search for symbols and find them on the key.

Next, they took turns to visit the "flashcard station". The station was a desk of mixed up Ordnance Survey flashcards, half of which showed a map symbol and half of which showed its meaning. The aim of the game was to correctly pair symbols and definitions. The game is over when all the cards are paired.

From this lesson, I wanted the children to look at maps, and realise they could read and understand them. This worked out well, but needed the game angle to be truly effective. They were actively engaged in speaking and listening with additional elements of discussion (they talked about the colour of roads, mountains, farmland, woods and cities).

I would recommend this lesson as it was fun for the children. It also used existing resources, so didn't generate extra paperwork and was a sustainable activity

Patricia Kavanagh is geography co-ordinator at St Francis de Sales Junior School in Tottenham, north London.

To print off flashcards www.ordnancesurvey.co.ukoswebsiteeducationpdfflashcards1%2025k%20english.pdf.

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