Activities Using Maps

As map librarians in higher education, we are often developing new methods and approaches for teaching and learning from maps. Although we primarily interact with college-aged students and professors, we find that the complexity of maps can intimidate even the most sophisticated learner (and us!) and basic map reading and analysis skills are the first step, no matter the learning level.

We favor interactive learning experiences that guide the learner to engage with the map. To look at different details closely. To let lightbulbs go off. To make connections. To ask questions. To be inspired.

While we are dedicated to serving our students and faculty here, we have had opportunities to engage with younger students and find them to be invigorating learners that sharpen our own skills in teaching and learning.

Because of this, we are excited to create and provide activity sheets intended to engage a broad range of learning levels.


Australian Adventure

Learn about Australia's geography, colonization, and Indigenous peoples through historic maps. Also, practice your skills as a cartographer when you draw your own map!

Ages 8-14


Battle Plan

Have you seen the movie Home Alone? In the movie, Kevin McCallister draws a map of his house and sets up obstacles to protect it from the bad guys, and now it's your turn! Draw a map of your house and use obstacles pulled from the maps in our collections!

Ages 4-12


Fly Around The World!

Fly around the world using latitude and longitude! This quick activity will introduce learners to the coordinate system and how to locate places on Earth using their latitude and longitude.

Ages 8-14


Left In / Left Out

Deciding what should be in a map is no easy feat! Mapmakers have to make a lot of little decisions for what should be left in and what should be left out. This activity will give you the opportunity to decide what stays and what goes!

Ages 8-18


Map In Your Brain!

Learn how your brain stores spatial information! This activity guides learners through mapping how their brain stores information about the spaces around them. Do you remember routes? Views? Find out by drawing from your memory!

Ages 8-18


Real Monsters

Old maps are full of strange creatures! A long, long time ago, mapmakers had to draw these strangers based off descriptions written by others. Can you draw an accurate animal based off these descriptions? Or will you draw another strange creature? Try it out in this activity!

Ages 8-18