Recently, I have been using a program called Neighborhood Map Machine to support the Grade 2 Social Studies unit on Communities and the Grade 3 unit on Mapping and Landforms.
Above: A map mystery of an island community created by a student.
Overall, I’ve been very impressed with the program. Not only does it have many map mysteries and activities that reinforce mapping skills such as measurement, compass work, coordinates and direction but one of my favorite features is the ability for students to create their own maps and mysteries.
Above: Students creating 3D models from their maps designed using Map Machine
Creating in general allows students to access higher-order thinking skills according to Bloom’s Revised Digital Taxonomy
Neighborhood Map Machine allow students to not only create their own map and add roads, houses, people, buildings and landforms but also record audio, video or text clues for a mystery. They choose a mystery location and have students follow their own clues to find the secret location. All of this involves some considerable higher-order thinking since they need to plan their clues in advance and ensure that they communicate their clues clearly.
A colleague of mine had a great idea to take this a step further. We found out that you can print 3D nets of the buildings so we decided to have the students create a 3D model of their 2 D map that they had done during technology time.
I would love to hear how others have used this program in the classroom!
3D model done by some Grade 2s