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Name: Allan A.
Status: Student
Age: 10
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: April 23, 2002


Question:
I am developing a web-based learning materials. One of the topics I have to handle is "Location of Our District". My major trouble has been how to introduce this topic, since I could not precisely define nor describe what is mean by location? How can we tell where we are located?
And in what circumstances do we really need to know where we located?
How does the compass, and map come up into location?



Replies:
Do a web search on www.google.com for the term(s) "longitude latitude places" or similar search terms, and you will find a lot of "hits" some even with lesson plans with explanations of terms. The following URL is also a good jumping off point:

http://www.census.gov/cgi-bin/gazetteer

Given your age and the mention of "young ones," I would keep it fairly simple. With older students, a teacher could talk about all sorts of compass and map facts (like the Township and Range System and newer maps created by satellite. I think small children (under about age 6) may not really understand that a map is a representation of reality. For that I would use a "neighborhood" map--houses, a school, church, etc. If you will be in an actual neighborhood, use that one and take them outside to see it--point to the building and say that we can draw it on a piece of paper, etc. The simpler and shorter, the better. You'll be lucky to get 10 minutes. Older kids (7-10) can handle a bit more. They may have some map reading skills already, and you can show a globe, U.S.map, state map, city map, and neighborhood map. A fun activity for this group would be some sort of scavenger hunt using a map you've created for the area. In general, introducing the topic involves demonstrating and teaching that location is usually associated with the position of something else. You could start out by "mapping" locations of people and objects in the room relative to windows, desk, each other, etc. (or if outside, a big tree). Older kids may be able to grasp the idea of a compass (if you have a Boy Scout manual, see when it is introduced. When I was in Girl Scouts, I was about 9 years old when I started learning about a compass). Good luck.

Pat Rowe



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