Reading, interpreting, and making maps is a big part of our social studies curriculum. These are important real-life skills that people need throughout their lives. Yes, I know there are apps out there that now help people get from place to place (and, believe me, I use them all the time). But map skills are still necessary for children. Why?
According to educational psychologists, map interpretation combines reading and math skills. It helps build important spatial sense and visual literacy. It would be hard to argue that these skills are not relevant in daily lives.
Of course, maps also give children a broader view of the world, and are a great introduction to geography.
This morning, after talking about different kinds of maps, I handed out walking maps of Dexter. Each child got a map and a page of things they needed to find - a scavenger hunt, of sorts. Working together, they were excited to find the cider mill and the library. They found out how to get from my house to the farmers market. They counted the benches and the elementary schools.
Map skills can be practiced at home, too! Vacation time is a wonderful time to grab a map and plot out excursions.