9th December 2005 at 00:00
KS 12

Pass an inflatable globe to each child in turn and call out an appropriately pitched question - eg: "Put your finger on land sea a country beginning with 'M' Africa the Equator the South Pole."

Compare a historic map of the world with a modern map. What are the main similarities and differences? Look at how the map is presented as well as the places shown.

Use a felt-tip pen to draw the continents onto a balloon.

KS 3

Compare a country or continent on a globe and in an atlas. What can you tell about it from one but not the other?

Compare the shape and size of the continents on different map projections - eg Mercator, Peters and Eckert IV. The projection used for national curriculum maps is available at

Describe and explain the similarities and differences. What is each of these maps good at showing?

Ask pupils to draw a map of a country or continent from memory and mark 10 things they can remember about it. They can then compare maps with each other, and with the atlas: how well did they do?

KS 5

Compare the London Underground map with a real map of London. Give examples of how the underground map is misleading - eg places that are in the wrong direction from each other, or are too close, or too far apart. Find other examples of topological maps - a web search will get you started.

Find out about great arcs and great circles. Explain why aeroplanes do not necessarily follow lines of latitude, eg flights from London to New York pass over Newfoundland.

Carry out a map audit by comparing maps in a selection of newspapers, magazines and websites. How many different types of map can you find? What is their purpose? How successful are they?

Keith Grimwade

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