Human mapping

18th July 2008 at 01:00
What country will you be today? Getting pupils into shape helps them learn about the world around them, says Paula Richardson

What country will you be today? Getting pupils into shape helps them learn about the world around them, says Paula Richardson

Are you keen to enable children to develop a sense of place using a world map, but are a bit short of ideas? This lesson involves children choosing to represent a country and arranging themselves as a human map.

It is an activity suitable for a variety of age groups, but any previous experience of looking at world maps is helpful.

You need a large space to allow children to spread out, and an atlas or globe to check on locations (I use Keystart World Atlas, third edition, from Collins-Longman Atlases).

Take the class into the playground or hall. Ask them to think of a country but keep it to themselves. Tell them you will be Antarctica (or the North Pole) and position yourself in front of them.

Ask them to arrange themselves as a human map using your location as the guide. Indicate the boundaries of the map on the floor. Ask a few to name their country and then ask if anyone wants to reposition themselves.

This is a great activity enjoyed by all the children. Frequent small activities such as this help children to progress in developing a sense of place in the world around them.

It's a fun lesson that can be easily adapted for a variety of ages - younger children can choose continents, seas and oceans

Paula Richardson is an independent geography adviser from Redhill, Surrey.

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