This intriguing and unusual product, which comes in a three-ring
binder and is intended for fifth through tenth graders, focuses
on geography through the vehicle of cartography. The first part
of the book is an illustrated history of map-making and historical
exploration from ancient history to the discovery of Antarctica.
Each of these 30 chapters is two pages long and includes small
illustrations. These narratives are well-written, interesting,
and easy to follow. Pronunciation is included for difficult names,
as well as plenty of fascinating etymology. It would be interesting
to know the author's source material for these chapters.
Thirty map-drawing activities form the next section of the book.
Each step is described in text and illustration. These lessons
can be demonstrated by the teacher, or the pages can simply be
copied and given to the students. The maps are basic and do not
contain every geographical feature or country or city. "The main
purpose is to give the students a very basic knowledge of each
area, and the ability to draw it from memory." These lessons are
also on the DVDs that come with the text. On the videos, some of
the initial pencil sketching is difficult to see until the author/artist
darkens it in. If new videos are ever created, perhaps a darker
pencil or softer lead could be used.
After completing all of the mapping activities, the student will
have drawn practically every area of the world, including many
of the Pacific islands and Antarctica! Many of the drawing exercises
show how the lines being drawn imitate an animal or familiar shape.
This makes the drawing fun and easy.
Thirty activities, including board games, research assignments,
video recommendations, and hands-on projects, are optional except
for the map review activities. Please note that these activities
are way above par. No busy work here; these activities are truly
educational and appropriate to the target age group. History, geometry,
art, and culture are integrated into these projects. Although it
doesn't say, there are enough readings, map drawing exercises,
and activities to do approximately one each per week, with time
to spare if you need to take more than one week for some of the
projects. Certainly, parents and teachers can tailor this fun curriculum
to meet their needs.
The readings, map drawings, and activities are thoroughly integrated
so that when you are reading about Jacques Cartier, who explored
the Gulf of St. Lawrence, you are also drawing a map of the gulf
and Labrador, learning about Ile d'Anticosti, and watching a video
about Cartier. Ellen McHenry has spent a lot of time creating a
very thoughtful program. The Final Project, which deserves a drum
roll, is the creation of a world map. Several ways of doing this
are explained, and several photos of student projects are included.
Plenty of helps are available.
A tools and materials page at the beginning of the text lists
necessary supplies with recommendations. Each student will need
a ruler, compass, protractor, pencil, eraser, black waterproof
pen, and paper. This page also lists extra art supplies needed
for some of the special projects.
Mapping the World with Art is a full geography course
all on its own, or it can be a beautiful supplement to your existing
history and geography studies. Perfect for homeschoolers or classrooms,
this would also be ideal for a few families to do together or for
a co-op class. Drawing maps instead of simply filling in black-line
blanks increases your knowledge and builds retention. After all,
don't we all want our children to not only learn but also remember
what they learn?