Just in time for back-to-school: New distance learning resources are available on Wide Open School.
You can illustrate geography and earth science lessons and use maps on topics like the Colonial Overseas Trade and the War of 1812 in history lessons. Bonus: There are Spanish versions of several activities for ESL students and a Hispanic heritage section.
You can also encourage kids to check out site elements on their own, but you may need to provide a little guidance to ensure lessons are clear. Several interactive maps, for example, include 90-second historical event summaries, which would be great for kids to review at home. One details 5,000 years of religion; students can see how different sects spread across the world. You can also distribute two-page geography skill-building worksheets that feature reading, graphics, and questions. However, you'll need to create your own answer key or email the site for a list of answers before grading the assignment.Continue reading Show less
Maps101 is a website that focuses on history, geography, civics, and earth science. The site also offers news updates, games, and activities on current events, women's history, and other topics. Teachers provide log-in information for kids to access the Maps101.com resource site, which was designed primarily for educators.
Kids can view, download, or print Maps101 maps, and K-12 teachers can use them as visuals in geography, history, politics, and economics lessons. The site, sponsored by map product provider Maps.com, features reference atlases, maps in Spanish, and activities for kids. Younger users in kindergarten through third grade can view very basic maps of continents, the solar system, and familiar places like their bedroom. The site also has lesson plans, a geography glossary, and other handy items for teachers.
Maps101 offers a number of interesting resources. Kids can view antique maps of more than 25 cities, Spanish-language continent and world maps, renditions that show mountains, rivers, and other landforms, and Congressional district maps. Some also touch on scientific subjects, such as annual deforestation rates.
In general, Maps101.com provides excellent materials for student research and educators' presentations. You'll find more than just maps: Geography articles and news items are posted once or twice a week, kids can take quizzes, and topic-based activity suggestions are available. You can also customize maps using the Map Sketch tool.
Resources are listed according to Common Core standards, which is a nice touch to help teachers find appropriate maps. Students, however, may have a slightly harder time navigating the site. Maps101 says it has more than 4,500 maps, lesson plans, articles, and other items; there's certainly no shortage of things to look at. However, individual pages tend to favor long lists, which don't always make it easy to scan and assess what's available. Breaking up content into smaller sections with subheads or extra pages would make the site’s substantial resources easier to find. The site is also on the pricey side, but if your school plans to use it within lots of classes, it can be worth it.
Key Standards Supported
Reading History/Social Studies
Describe how a text presents information (e.g., sequentially, comparatively, causally).
Distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Identify key steps in a text’s description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).
Reading Informational Text
Describe the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.
Interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively (e.g., in charts, graphs, diagrams, time lines, animations, or interactive elements on Web pages) and explain how the information contributes to an understanding of the text in which it appears.
Explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text, including what happened and why, based on specific information in the text.
By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 4–5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.
Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.
By the end of the year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grades 4–5 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
Integrate information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words to develop a coherent understanding of a topic or issue.
Cite textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
Analyze in detail how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text (e.g., through examples or anecdotes).
By the end of the year, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 6–8 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.
Speaking & Listening
Include multimedia components (e.g., graphics, sound) and visual displays in presentations when appropriate to enhance the development of main ideas or themes.
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.