Making Maps Tutorial

World Cultures Studying Geography Making Maps Tutorial
Students take a tutorial to familiarize themselves with the National Geographic MapMaker tools that will be used extensively throughout the World Geography course. The experience also covers general information about maps.

This learning experience is designed for device-enabled classrooms. The teacher guides the lesson, and students use embedded resources, social media skills, and critical thinking skills to actively participate. To get access to a free version of the complete lesson, sign up for an exploros account.

1:1 Devices
Teacher Pack

The Pack contains associated resources for the learning experience, typically in the form of articles and videos. There is a teacher Pack (with only teacher information) and a student Pack (which contains only student information). As a teacher, you can toggle between both to see everything.

Here are the teacher pack items for Making Maps Tutorial:

Preview - Scene 1
Exploros Learnign Experience Scene Navigation

MapMaker Interactive Tutorial

Throughout the World Geography course, students will work extensively with National Geographic’s MapMaker Interactive and Google Maps. This experience serves as a tutorial so that they will be familiar with the tools when required to use them within the framework of an experience.
You may choose to assign this experience for one extended class period, or have students work through it over several class periods, ensuring that they are confident in how to use the tools before moving on to content experiences.
The experience also covers general information about maps.
  • Identify the key elements of a map.
  • Show proficiency in building maps with interactive tools.

Throughout the World Geography course, you will be using the National Geographic MapMaker Interactive site. Let’s get some practice using it.
  • Identify the key elements of a map.
  • Show proficiency in building maps with interactive tools.
  1. In the “Enter location” field, type the name of your state and enter.
  2. Zoom out until you can see the outline of your entire state. A marker notes the geographic center of your state.
  3. On the right, click the “Base Maps” tab. Here, you can choose what type of map you want. For this tutorial, set it to “Topo” (topographic map).

Identify at least one geographic feature from the map: a mountain range, a river, a large metropolitan area. Post the feature. If you want to list more than one, separate them with commas, like this: Mars, Saturn.

Post your answer

In order to ensure that all students have identified the major geographic features on the state map, you may choose to have the class discuss them.

  1. Now click the “Layers” tab and then the “Add Layer” button.
  2. You can add many different layers of information. For this tutorial, add “Climate and Weather—Precipitation and Rainfall.”
  3. Click the “Legend” tab to read the legend for the layer.

How much average rainfall does your city get?

A) 0—100 mm
B) 100—200 mm
C) 200—400 mm
D) 400—600 mm
E) 600—10000 mm
F) 100—1500 mm
G) 1500—2000 mm
H) 2000—3000 mm
I) 3000+ mm

  1. Now return to the Layers tab. Click the X to remove the rainfall layer. Add two new layers: “Human Populations—Population Density” (on page 2) and “Environment—Human Footprint.”
  2. Both layers are displayed in the order they are listed. Change the transparency with the sliders and drag the layers to change their order until you can answer the question below.

What relationship do you see between the population density in your state and the human footprint (human’s impact on the environment)?

Post your answer

You have several options to save your map:
  • If you have an email address, choose Save and enter your email. You will receive a link via email.
  • If you want to post a link into Exploros to share with your teacher or classmates, choose Share, then choose More. At the top of the screen that opens, copy the link to the map.
  • Choose Print and save your map as a PDF.
  • You can also take a screen shot of your map to post into an Exploros discussion wall or drawing canvas.

If your students do not know how to take a screen shot on their devices, you will need to guide them. Here are instructions for two common classroom devices:
  • iPad: simultaneously press the Home and Sleep/Wake buttons
  • Chromebook: simultaneously press CTRL + Window Switcher keys

Note: If you need a simple, black and white map of a country or region, use National Geographic’s MapMaker 1-Page Maps. The tool enables you to mark various features, provides drawing tools and markers for annotating it, and offers various share, save, and print options.

When everyone is ready to continue, unlock the next scene.

End of Preview
The Complete List of Learning Experiences in Introduction to Physical and Human Geography Unit.
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