ERIC Number: ED043557
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1970-Sep
Reference Count: 0
Children's Abilities in Topographic Map Reading.
Carswell, Ronald J. B.
Although over 40 studies have been done since 1925 on map reading, there is little understanding of children's ability to comprehend maps or the mental processes involved. Children's inability to read maps is well document, as are their improved skills after instruction. Yet map skills are part of the elementary curriculum. Success in teaching map reading skills is overestimated for at least four reasons: 1) an oversimplification of what is involved in reading a map; 2) teaching the wrong things about maps and not using maps in instruction; 3) failure to sequence skill development using large and small scale maps; and 4) ineffectual teaching techniques and omission of field instruction. Research shows that children are capable of using maps more effectively than they now do. Perhaps we do not fully understand the development or operation of spatial abilities. Little theoretical work in this area, with the exception of Piaget, can be applied directly to map learning. It appears that as children move through the elementary grades their spatial abilities are suppressed if not extinguished. One method of encoraging spatial skills appears to be through techniques using large scale topographic maps in the upper elementary grades. Lastly, attention must be given to helping teachers understand maps and techniques of map instruction. (SBE)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Queen's Univ., Kingston (Ontario).
Identifiers: Topographic Maps
Note: Paper presented at A Symposium on the Influence of the Map User on Map Design, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, September 8-10, 1970