Updated: Nov 1, 2021
The ACARA Curriculum for Foundation Year Geography requires students to:
"... represent the location of places and their features on simple maps and models"
This can be tricky for young children to do as it requires some spacial and social awareness.
Simple questions such as:
- Where do you live?
- What geographic features do you pass on your way to school?
- Why is this place located here?
...can be near impossible for a 5-year-old child to answer.
So how can you make simple maps with children this young?
The answer, as always, is keeping it simple and staying within their known world.
The HASS curriculum wants students to move from the known to the unknown and to do this you must keep the context relevant for the child. Most children just jump in the car and arrive at school, they have no awareness of where they live in relation to other buildings.
When I've taught this concept to children I've always aimed to create a level playing field of sorts by creating a class model of a town. This way all the children have the same model to work from and create responses to.
It's tempting to just create a town and let the children discover it one day as they arrive in class but children must have the opportunity to create their own class town. This way they will have some understanding of where buildings are placed and why.
Print roads or let children create them with paper. Layout the paper roads as a whole class and then let children create buildings to populate their new town.
Stop the building occasionally and bring them back to the carpet and brainstorm:
- What buildings do towns have?
- What buildings do you have in your town?
- Where are the buildings located? Does the school need to be near a road? Why?
- How will people move about the town?
- Where will the houses be located? Near the shops? Near the school? Why?
This way students can create a model of a new world, based on prior knowledge that some may have, of life outside the classroom.
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