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Assessing and Making Maps


Objectives
Standards
Materials
Procedure
Assessment
Extensions/Adaptations
Resources

Grade level: 4th through 7th

Subject: Geography

Time Needed for Completion: Three to five class periods

Objectives for Students

  • To evaluate maps using the TODALSIGs basic map analysis system – see Map Elements worksheet. (TODALSIGs is an acronym for a system that evaluates the title, orientation, author, legend, scale, index, grid, source of maps.)
  • To create a map of Alaska using TODALSIGs

Standards

Geography:

  • Correlates to the national standards set by the National Council of Geographic Education.
  • The student understands: How to use maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information. (Standard 1)

Materials

  • The class will need computers with Internet access, and a collection of maps and atlases to share. Each student (or pair of students) will need tag or poster board, pencils, pens and markers for map-making activities.
  • Each student will need a copy of the TODALSIGs map analysis chart below.
  • Optional -- A topographic map of Alaska

Procedure

Overview:

  • When Harriman set out for Alaska in 1899, he and his navigation crew relied on a series of maps to plan the route. Their charts were based on more than a century of exploration: beginning in the mid-eighteenth century, Russian fur traders had developed maps and charts to better explore the fur-rich coastal waters of Alaska. Explorers from North America and Europe also developed and refined maps of the “Great Land.”
  • This lesson plan uses Jeremy Anderson’s TODALSIGs system as a basis for teaching students to read, analyze, and draw maps.

Classroom Activities:

In the first class period, pass out a wide variety of maps and ask students to brainstorm what elements maps should have.

Introduce TODALSIGs and explain the meaning of acronym – a word formed from the initial letters of names or lists. Acronyms are used to shorten lengthy titles, and serve as memory tools.

Discuss the relevance of each map element. Should every map include every element?

During the second period review the earlier work, then have students open the Expedition Maps section of this site.

Students can select three maps from this site to evaluate using TODALSIGs on the Map Elements Worksheet below and conduct an evaluation. Ask them to share their work, either to the whole class, or to working groups.

Class Assignment – Making a Map:

During the last two or three periods, students create their own maps of Alaska on tag or poster using the TODALSIGs system and combining elements from the maps on the PBS website.

Possible mapping projects include:

  • A map of the 1899 expedition (shown on a PBS map) and the 2001 expedition (determined from text on the PBS site).
  • A map combining Henry Gannet’s artistic approach to mapping with the accuracy of the 1895 Rand McNally or the U.S. Geological Survey version.
  • A topographic map with the Harriman stops labeled.
  • Any Alaskan mapping project created by the student and approved by the teacher.

Questions to Explore:

  • Use the Map Elements worksheet to introduce and answer the TODALSIGs questions.
  • Why does Gannett label the northern interior “Great Marshes” when the 1895 Rand McNalley map clearly shows that area to be mountainous?
  • What are the similarities/differences between any two selected maps?

Assessment Suggestions

  • Students can be assessed for their participation in discussions on TOTALSIGs.
  • Students can be assessed on the completeness of the Map Elements worksheets
  • Students can be assessed on their map making skills and inclusion of TODALSIGs elements as well as accuracy and artistic presentation.

Extensions/Adaptations:

  • Have students create a Hyperstudio or PowerPoint presentation on the Harriman Expedition that incorporates the PBS maps.
  • Have students identify historical expeditions or geological surveys in their own state.
  • Assign presentations for other classes, or for a Family Sharing Night to showcase this project and/or their Alaska maps from the primary assignment.
  • Work with an arts teacher to refine the visual aspects of the maps.

Resources

  • Alaska in Maps: A Thematic Atlas a great source of all types of maps on Alaska, available through the Alaska Geographic Alliance.
  • Alaska Atlas & Gazetteer, DeLorme Mapping, P.O. Box 298, Freeport, Maine, 04032, contains contains a great topographic map of the entire state of Alaska.
  • Teaching Map Skills: An Inductive Approach by Jeremy Anderson is an excellent guide the map-making for the beginning student.
  • Scholastic Atlas of the World is a good source for maps, charts, and computer-generated imagery of all parts of the world.

Prepared by Florence Daniel.

Worksheets

Map Elements

Letter

Word

Questions to Ask

T

Title

Is there a label describing what the map shows?

O

Orientation

Which way is north?

Does the map have an orientation symbol such as a compass rose?

D

Date

Is there a date?

Is the map still accurate?

A

Author

Is there an author listed?

Why was it made?

L

Legend

Is there a legend (key) to aid in reading the map?

What symbols are included?

S

Scale

Is there a scale to read distances?

What distance does a unit of measure represent on the map?

I

Index

Is there an alphabetical list of places shown on the map and a grid to help locate them?

G

Grid

Does the map have a set of intersecting lines that aid in identifying locations? What are they?

s

Source

Where did the information contained in the map come from?

Source: Anderson, Jeremy. Teaching Map Skills Through an Inductive Approach. Indiana, PA: National Council for Geographic Education, 1986

Map Title _______________________________________

Element

Yes/No

Answers to above questions

Title



Orientation



Date



Author



Legend



Scale



Index



Grid



source



 

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For information on the Harriman Retraced Expedition e-mail: harriman2001@science.smith.edu

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