ERIC Number: EJ922448
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 18
Promoting Critical Thinking and Inquiry through Maps in Elementary Classrooms
McCall, Ava L.
Social Studies, v102 n3 p132-138 2011
This article encourages elementary teachers to offer opportunities for their students to critically analyze maps as part of powerful geography instruction in order to help them become well-informed and civic-minded citizens. The article reviews challenges to powerful geography instruction, including traditional geography textbooks and pedagogy and the additional efforts needed to encourage students to examine maps critically and identify distortions and biases. Teachers may introduce critical map reading by having students create and analyze their own maps of familiar places and create a safe classroom environment for questioning maps. The article suggests teachers encourage critical thinking with maps by using a variety of projections, such as conformal, equal area, and "upside down" maps which portray different perspectives, distortions, and biases, ask students to compare land areas on different maps, and determine the value of different maps. Finally, the article describes the effectiveness of several strategies the author uses with preservice elementary teachers in a social studies methods course to help them consider the cartographer's influence on maps, the distortions and biases in maps, and the strengths and weaknesses of various maps they might use in elementary classrooms.
Descriptors: Geography Instruction, Preservice Teachers, Methods Courses, Teacher Education Curriculum, Textbooks, Geography, Maps, Critical Thinking, Classroom Environment, Elementary School Teachers, Social Studies, Teaching Methods
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A