The days of foldable paper maps are numbered but the world wide web is opening up the potential of maps by offering an amazing variety of cool websites that teachers should take the time to explore. Below are ten great mapping sites for you to use in the classroom.
History Pin is an online collection of photographs, videos, audio files, and text that have been shared by people from around the world. Their tag line is "a global community collaborating around history." Users can post their documents or search a map to find things in their area or search by collection, channel, and project. One of my favorite features is their tours and collections section which contains documents all centered around specific topics or events.History Pin is a great resource for educators as well as anyone who loves history.
Overlap Maps is a website by Sunflower Education that allows you to compare the sizes of nations, states, bodies of water, man made features and objects from nature with each other. You simply select from two columns, click the green arrow, and presto, you get a picture with the two selections overlapped. Below you can see an overlap I did between Texas and Australia. It is easy to to, it is fun, and it is educational for everyone. Overlap Maps is useful for doing research on various topics and places.
Mapping History contains hundreds animated and interactive maps from key events in the history's of the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Africa. The U.S. maps are sorted chronologically and by event or era. The European maps section is categorized more by topic and appears to be still under construction. The Latin America section is sorted into three regions (Caribbean, Central America, South America) and there are four African maps, each one shows the continent's division and political borders at various points of history. Mapping History is an excellent resource for the social studies classroom.
Free Map Tools is an online resource that allows you to utilize maps in really cool and interesting ways. With this site you can find the distance between two points, by land and air. You are able to calculate the area of a region on a map. It allows you to determine how far you can travel while walking, riding a bike, or driving a car for a designated amount of travel time. It will even tell you where you would end up if you tunneled through the earth. Free Map Tools is a very cool website that has applications for social studies, science , and math teachers.
Zip Skinny is a really cool site that provides quick and easy access to the census data for any community simply by typing in a zip code. The site also compares the data for the zip code you entered with neighboring communities, it provides a map and it has a section dedicated to schools. Zip Skinny could be handy if you are planning on moving or are looking for a college for your child. Zip Skinny could also be useful for learning about the U.S. Census or for school projects comparing communities, regions, or states.
If you think that the website Maps of the World offers a huge collection of maps, you would be correct. If you guessed that the maps were of continents, nations, states, and cities then you would be right about that as well. What I discovered about Maps of World that I didn't expect was the amount of facts and information that accompanied their maps. Included with each map is the history, the demographics, the economic data and other useful facts of the continent/nation/state you looked up. They also feature road maps, printable maps, route planners, railroad maps, physical maps, and "Top Ten" themed maps. Maps of the World is a great site for maps but it is so much more, it is a useful tool for learning about nations and their history.
Who wouldn't love to travel around the world and go to all the amazing places there is to see. Well Google Sightseeing is a website that that allows you to do just that from the comfort of your own home. The site utilizes Google Earth and Google Maps to create a world tour of places you have always wanted to see and many you didn't know existed. The sight allows you to search by country you wish to see or by category and there is also a section dedicated to street view. The site could be utilized in the classroom or as a way to plan a vacation. Google Sightseeing is not affiliated with Google in any way.
The Redistricting Game is a website by the Annenberg Center that was created to teach students about the issue of political redistricting also known as gerrymandering. The game provides a basic introduction to the redistricting system and players get to explore the ways in which gerrymandering can undermine the political system. The Redistricting Game also provides information about redistricting in every state as well as providing hands-on opportunities for civic engagement and political action. This site is an engaging way for students to explore this important part of the American political system.
This website's collection of data maps is quite extensive with over 160 maps that provide a wide range of data. Here you can find world data maps about GDP, poverty rates, land usage, energy production, internet usage and crime statistics. Knomea's site also provides a wide array of data and statistics for every nation in the world. You can search by nation, statistical category, or specific data type. You can also compare data between various nations. This site is a powerful tool for anyone doing international research.
Tour Builder is a website that allows you to show people the places you've visited and the experiences you had by using Google Earth. It lets you choose the locations right on the map, add in photos, text, and video, and then share your experience. The site can be used by foreign language students doing a presentation on a country or a social studies teacher teaching about events in history. Check out the amazing tours that have already been posted and you’ll see why the potential of this powerful website is limited to your imagination.