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A Closer Look at MAPS!

Posted by on October 9, 2015

The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.

~Henry Miller

We spent a glorious hour, the other day, investigating maps! Who would THINK that a bunch of pieces of PAPER could CAPTURE our attention so rapturously? There were SO many different TYPES of maps. Some of them SO detailed you almost needed a MAGNIFYING glass to see clearly. Others VERY simplistic. The conversations that took place during this investigation were PRICELESS.

Hey ... check THIS out!

Hey … check THIS out!

We began to notice MANY similarities. They were ALL two dimensional, (flat), and usually rectangular! Each map had DIRECTIONS! They ALL had a KEY! One of the Grade Three Bloggers piped up and told us that a key was IMPORTANT because it helped us to READ the map! On MANY of our maps, we could see a COMPASS rose that showed us north, south, east and west! MANY of our maps had special little SYMBOLS! We discovered that WATER was shown in BLUE!

THIS was an interesting map ... it was for the RUNS on a SKI hill!

THIS was an interesting map … it was for the RUNS on a SKI hill!

As we delved deeper, we ALSO discovered MANY differences between our maps. We noticed that each map would often take you to a different place! SOME maps had LOTS of detail, while OTHERS had just a LITTLE detail. Some were BIG. Some were small! Some showed MOUNTAINS and LAKES. MANY of our maps were FOLDED because they were VERY large and took up a LOT of space. We also noticed that these large maps were folded in a very SPECIAL way! They were ALL made out of paper, although SOME of them were LAMINATED! World maps? They had a LOT less detail on them compared to maps of cities and provinces!

This map has SO many details!

This map has SO many details!

We hope you enjoy our slideshow of our learning adventure!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We walked away with SO many neat observations … and … as ALWAYS … WAY more questions than when we began!

We wonder:

  • How long does it take to study a place and then make the map?
  • How many different kinds of maps are there?
  • Are there maps about SPACE?
  • How do pilots use maps?
  • Do we have maps for EVERYTHING?
  • What jobs need maps?
  • How old is the OLDEST map?
  • How many countries are there in the world?
  • Do maps ever change? (This one brought up some VERY interesting conversations around Bombay, Calgary, Nunavut and the NEW islands that VOLCANOES create!!!)

Not everything that is more difficult is more meritorious.

~Saint Thomas Aquinas

21 Responses to A Closer Look at MAPS!

  1. Elise

    Hi mrs. Renton
    I love the new blog post.


    • Laurie Renton

      Hi Elise!

      I am SO glad you love the new blog post! We had SO much fun exploring our maps! What was your favourite part?


      Mrs. Renton 🙂

      • Elise

        My favourite thing was seeing all of the different kinds of maps and I loved the world maps. See you happy thanksgiving!

        • Laurie Renton

          I agree, Elise!

          It was AWESOME to see all the different types of maps that came in! I hope someone is able to find a pilot’s map … there are SO many cool different kinds of maps! I can’t wait to see what else we find out about maps. There were so many GREAT questions that came up because of our exploration!

          I hope you and your family have a MAGICAL Thanksgiving!


          Mrs. Renton 🙂

  2. Erica

    Looks like fun. I wonder how many students enjoy reading maps when they go to the zoo, amusement parks, or malls!

    • The Grade Three Bloggers

      Hello, Erica!

      We love the great comment! Some of us do use the maps when we go to the zoo, amusement parks and malls. Some of us even use them when we try to find our favourite runs when we are biking, skiing, hiking or snowboarding! Some of us try to avoid malls at ALL cost, (although MANY of us LOVE shopping)!

      We sure hope you keep checking back!

      The Grade Three Bloggers 🙂

  3. Ross Mannell

    Hello Global Grade 3,

    I was going to write a short response to this post because I am very busy at this time but I found it so interesting I just kept adding more and more. Other classes know this can lead to one of my extended comment posts so here is the link if you wish to see my comment…

    Ross Mannell
    Teacher (retired), N.S.W., Australia

    • The Grade Three Bloggers

      Hi Ross!

      Mrs. Renton has told us about you … and … some of our older brothers and sisters have also told us about how you like to leave awesome comments on classroom blogs! Yesterday, we spent some time looking at some of the treasures you’ve given to the Global Grade 3 bloggers over the last four years! We are enjoying learning a little more about Australia and we can’t believe that you’ve sent that much stuff over the years! We all look forward to spending time cuddling Suzy Sunshine, Spike, Kanga, Roo and the other little koala! We’re excited to try out the card reader! Some of us got to try it out yesterday. We LOVED the sound of the koala. Much to Mrs. Renton’s discomfort … SEVERAL of us thoroughly enjoyed the sound of the black mamba too!!! (Mrs. Renton has her feet up on her chair as she writes this out for us!!!)

      We think we LOVE topographical maps … because they are so interesting! From a bird’s eye view you wouldn’t think that a flat piece of paper could show how STEEP something is … but … we’ve learned that the lines show us the 3 dimensional part of the land! Close together means very steep!

      It’s amazing to see how water and mud can turn into a fossil … it is so neat to see how the water rippled over the mud! It’s sort of neat that the tree trunk was in the sandstone and became a fossil. We wonder why the petrified wood is black. We think it MIGHT be because of the type of mineral that formed in the wood and replaced the wood … but … we’re not sure. Do YOU know? (Mrs. Renton doesn’t know it all!!!) 😉

      It sounds like it was a LOT of work for people to make the very first maps! Technology and Google Earth make map making SO much easier than in the olden days! Some of us still think the earlier maps … like PIRATE maps … look SO much cooler than the ones we have today. We think, though, that maps today would do a better job of getting us around to exactly where we want to go!

      Engineers and carpenters use house plans like a map because it helps them to know where things go when they are planning and building houses. We think that anything that shows you where things go or where to go should be a map!

      We clicked on your link that took us through 400 000 galaxies … we loved that animation! Some of us have had sleepovers at Telus Spark … there is a huge screen there and you can see shows. It made it look like you were actually in space and it showed how black holes are formed and where the planets are. It even sounds like you’re in space … it was like a big map of space. The lady there shows the movie on her iPad and projects it on the screen. It’s an animation like the one you shared with us except it was way longer. Many of us have seen the iPad app with the stars … and that’s a map of our galaxy also.

      We think the aviator’s map is interesting … it is way less detailed than a map showing a city or a province! We like the way the dots show us the weather stations and their gps coordinates! Some of us use gps coordinates when we go geo-cashing!

      We think it’s kind of cool that there were some maps made out of rock … paper wasn’t around there 2600 years ago! We are GLAD that there are some maps from that long ago still around … they probably wouldn’t have been here still if they were made out of paper! We love, love, LOVE the link you shared with all the old maps!

      We loved your post! We loved all the writing and all the pictures and links you shared with us. It was interesting to read and we learned a LOT! We loved learning about topographical maps because they can show you how steep the land is … even on a flat piece of paper! When we were at home we could go to your links and learn even more!

      We loved the gum wrapper quote because it made us feel like everything IS a wonder. You can learn so much … even if it seems simple. An ant is not just an ant if you observe deeply!

      Thank you, Ross, for extending our learning!

      The Grade Three Bloggers 🙂

      • Ross Mannell


        Hello Grade Three Bloggers,

        Thanks for the reply to my post.

        Over the years a number of classes around the world have been sent little gifts to help their learning. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed doing because I believe we should share our learning with others.

        As you know, I like topographical maps because I have a better idea of what I face if hiking a new area. As you have written, the closer together the lines, the steeper the slope. Here is a question for you…
        What would it mean if a few contour lines joined together instead of just getting closer?
        My answer is at the end of the comment.

        Why is the petrified wood black? Believe it or not, the black is where the tree became coal. There is a large seam of coal underneath Sydney and many kilometres north and south. This tree appears to have fallen in a sandy area so wasn’t part of the major seam. The black is the actual remains of the tree and so isn’t really petrified.

        I also find early maps interesting. Stories of pirate maps have always made me wonder how much treasure stills lies buried waiting for pirates to return.

        Telus Spark seems a fascinating place. I also have an iPad but, in my usage, it’s used to show people my latest video work before DVDs are sent out. Here is a little space trivia for you…
        You know of Apollo 11 being the first manned craft to land on the moon back in 1969 (I still have some newspaper headlines from back then). Did you know Australia’s Parkes Radio Telescope helped NASA receive the signals being sent back to Earth? Australia was in a better position than USA when the landing took place.

        Rock maps… I wonder many things as I learn. One wonder after reading your comment was when, who and why someone made the first map. I know some Aboriginal paintings were made to show where water holes and sacred sites are located. As the many Aboriginal cultures go back at least 30,000 years, their map art may be a candidate as the longest surviving cultural mapping.

        Where I live, the Yuin-Manaro people are the traditional owners of the land. At all school performances I film, the Yuin-Manaro people are acknowledged for their culture and traditional ownership. I am not aware of any mapping art here but I know in desert areas where rock art can better survive, some rock art can be very old. Here I would be more likely to see rock engravings. The people knew from experience where important locations were.

        An ant is not just an ant if you observe deeply… Perhaps I once shared with one of the Global Grade 3 classes an encounter a class of mine had with ants after a school assembly where only we stopped to observe. Here it is briefly…
        At the end of an assembly in a school with little grass and much asphalt (tarred stone), we started walking back to our classroom when I stopped my class and gathered them around a crack in the asphalt. Ants were emerging, some with wings. I explained we mostly on see female ants but, when we see winged ants, it’s the way they spread to start new colonies. The winged ants are both male and female. I further explained they like to climb before flying and asked why they couldn’t the students said there was nothing to climb so I poked a small stick in the crack near where the ants we emerging. The students were excited as the winged ants started climbing the stick and flew. An ant is not just an ant if you observe deeply.

        Keep learning and sharing with others.

        Ross Mannell
        Teacher (retired), NSW, Australia

        Now my contour answer: if the contour lines run together, I won’t walk that way because it’s a cliff. The number of lines running together tells us it’s not only a vertical cliff but how high. Three 50 feet lines running together means the drop or height is around 150 feet.

  4. Angela

    Hi Grade 3s,

    It’s great to see you all enjoying looking at maps. I wonder if maps have always been the same? Have countries always had the same names or even the same borders?

    Angela (Alexia’s mom)

    • The Grade Three Bloggers

      Hi Angela!

      Thank you for the great comment! We’ve discovered that maps have changed over the years! When an underwater volcano erupts and the lava comes to the surface sometimes new islands form! So … maps HAVE to change when that happens! Also, maps change because when they invented paper they started making maps on that instead of on stone! Ross, a retired teacher from Australia, left us an awesome comment about how maps have changed. You might really enjoy reading it! Maps also change because sometimes they change the names of countries.

      The Grade Three Bloggers 🙂

  5. Alison

    Wow – Grade 3’s, you are having such an amazing year so far! It is fun to see you looking at maps, as with new technology, many people don’t have paper maps (and atlases) anymore. On the world map, were you able to find countries that you have relatives living in? Has anybody done a hike as shown on the Nakiska map? Love this blog so much!!


    • The Grade Three Bloggers

      Hi Alison!

      Thanks for the wonderful comment! We love that you love the blog … we do too! It’s such a great way to share our learning with our families! It was fun to show our friends where our relatives live, where we’ve been, where we go hiking and biking or skiing … and … where some of us are even MOVING! Lots of us have parents, (and HUSBANDS), who LOVE their gps navigation systems AND their cell phones for getting directions! We are GLAD that when we are hiking or biking that we don’t have to carry around a HUGE, HEAVY ROCK map like they did hundreds of years ago!

      Keep checking back! We love that you leave us comments!

      The Grade Three Bloggers 🙂

  6. Angela

    Hi Mrs. Renton! I wonder how I will be able to use a map to take me to Kelowna tomorrow, to take me to my grandma’s house. Well have a nice night Mrs. Renton!


    • The Grade Three Bloggers

      Hi Angela!

      Thanks for the excellent comment! Did you know, from the past, that maps were made from rocks? We think maps are just SO cool! We bet your Grandma’s house was SUPER fun! It’s easier to use a gps map on your phone than to use a giant PAPER map that uses all your space in your car when you are travelling! We are wondering what kind of map you used when you were travelling to Kelowna? We sure hope you didn’t have to use a STONE map!

      The Grade Three Bloggers 🙂

  7. David

    Did the grade 3 bloggers look at electronic maps? Are there any differences between these types of maps and paper maps. I work for the City and here is a link to City maps

    • The Grade Three Bloggers

      Hi David!

      Thanks for the amazing comment! We didn’t look at electronic maps in the classroom, but many of us have family members who use them all the time so we are very familiar with them! We loved your map link. We checked out the Calgary Attractions map. At first, we thought the cowboy hats were showing us where stampede events were … or where farms were … but … when we clicked we discovered that the hat symbol showed places where people might like to visit. We liked the way, if you clicked on it, you could check out the address and phone number for the attraction too! We would love it if the hat symbols were clickable to show us photos of those attractions too! (Some of us think it would be wonderful if, when we clicked on the attraction, we were magically transported to that spot … kind of like the Magic School Bus! Do you think the City would work on that for us?)

      The Grade Three Bloggers 🙂

  8. Julia

    Hi grade 3’s, You guys are doing a wonderful job and I think you guys will do great things when you guys get older! WOW you guys are so smart! My friend Sarah has been coming home and showing me the things you guys have been learning and you guys are SO SMART and INTELLIGENT I believe you will be so smart in the future and do wonderful things. Keep up the great work.


    • The Grade Three Bloggers

      Hi Julia!

      We love your beautiful comment because it made us feel REALLY good! We think it’s really cool that Sarah showed you the blog! We are wondering what your favourite part was about the library in Peru?

      Thanks for making us feel SO special!

      The Grade Three Bloggers 🙂

  9. Doris

    I like maps too and maps are now easily accessible in cars’ GPS system and in Internet. My favourite map is Google Earth. Grade three’s, have you found your home at Google Earth?

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