Monday, September 24, 2012

Wall Map

One of my favorite projects in 7th grade is the giant to-scale wall map the students create using latitude and longitude points.  Here's the map the 7th graders from 2 years ago created: class of 2016 wall map. We do this project in conjunction with our geography unit, which highlights a ton of the geographical features and resources that we cover in class (i.e. latitude and longitude, states, capitals, countries, landforms, water bodies, etc...).

The reason this map "works" in my classroom is because there is a giant "blank" wall (which happens to be a retractable wall between my room and the math room) which allows for our map canvas to unfold.  Side note: if you're interested in doing this in your own classroom and don't have a giant open wall at your disposal, no worries!  You can do this same project on your ceiling--you just get to get even more creative in attaching it to the ceiling.

We start off by first covering 5 of the 6 wall panels with blue paper (approximately = X feet).  We then use giant world atlases to help us locate the latitude and longitude points of the different continents.  Students are divided into continent teams of 2-4, depending on the size of the continent.  Students in each class have a continent, and then the next class continues work on the continent that their peers were working on beforehand.  Students use a 2 inch x 2 inch grid as their latitude and longitude guide, where each 2 inch = 4 degrees (either latitude or longitude).

This is the longest "leg" of the project: making sure the longitude and latitude coordinates are matching up from the atlas to the paper, and between the different continent groups in the different classes.  Students, despite becoming frustrated at times, keep pushing through until their continent took shape and had borders.  Once the borders were done, then the "filling in" happened: country outlines, labeling capital cities, drawing rivers and mountain ranges, and so on.

Then, when it was all said and done, students outlined their continents in marker (we'd been using pencils up until this point!) and then start cutting out their continents.

The final stage was then putting the continents on the blue paper, using different coordinates and latitude/longitude lines (i.e. equator, prime meridian, etc...) as our guide.  Then, voila!  The wall map has come together, and the students have a super cool giant world map visual at their for the rest of the school year.  Golly, I sure love this project.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome project, along with many of the other projects I see here. But...
    You need a new projection. I can help you with this.
    --Brett, @blordcastillo
    GIS Programmer, St Louis County OEM
    (Also one of the people behind @stlcooem)
    Drop me a direct message on twitter


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