Learning the geography of the world can seem daunting, but Grade 6 found a dynamic approach to the process. In 20th Century Global Perspectives class, students created “life maps” on which they marked the places around the world that have contributed to their personal histories.
“We are using this beginning-of-the-year project to practice basic map construction and map reading skills,” said the class teacher Dana Karin. “Simultaneously, in sharing their maps, students are uncovering common interests and backgrounds.”
Using prompts including where the students were born, where their parents were born, and where they have lived and traveled, the students learned about each other, and about geography and world history too. Once they uncovered their personal histories, they mapped plans for the future by marking places they would like to visit one day.
“I loved working on my life map and sharing it with my classmates and teacher. It was a great way to get to know everyone, especially since we are all still making new friends. I learned that I have a lot in common with my classmates,” said Emily Balinsky ’28, who has added Egypt to the places she would like to visit.
The maps project culminated in a reflective essay about the places that have most impacted the students lives. “One of the most important places to me is Canada because it’s where my extended family lives. I have many memories of celebrating Hanukkah with my family there. I also learned how to ski in Canada! It’s like a second home to me,” Emily said.
Ms. Karin learned quite a bit about her students as well. “As it turns out, many sixth graders dream of traveling to Australia to see the kangaroos,” she said.