Would your family like to learn about far off lands without leaving home?
Do your kids enjoy finding interesting fun facts about other countries?
One of our favorite resources for gathering information about places around the world is an Atlas.
An atlas is a collection of maps. According to my geography loving children, however, atlases are much MORE than just books filled with pages of basic maps.
Why are we so fond of atlases? Atlases are a great tool for kids who are very visual. In addition to traditional outline and reference maps, most world atlases also include thematic maps to show population density, topographical data, animals, natural resources, etc. as well as interesting facts about continents and countries.
Historical atlases can help show changes to country boundaries over time or the movement of troops in battles. Our atlases of the United States help compare land formations and natural resources from different regions of the country using a variety of photos and graphics. Since my kids are big fans of maps we always include map work in our history and current events studies.
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Create Your Own Atlas
As homeschooled middle school (and soon to be high school) students my children are excited about a new Geography program called North Star Geography. We have searched for a hands-on, comprehensive geography program for older children for several years and this is the first one that really meets all of our needs.
North Star Geography offers many hands-on project ideas which we will share with you over the next several months. One project we are very excited about is the creation of our own atlas. With each lesson students add maps and interesting facts to their personal, one-of-a-kind atlas. This will be a great addition to each child’s portfolio and will be a resource they will want to keep for future reference.
Atlas Scavenger Hunt
To help spread our enthusiasm about atlases with your children we created a fun activity called a World Atlas Scavenger Hunt.
With this activity your students will learn information about places around the world from A-Z and become familiar with the format of an atlas.
- Students can work individually or in teams of 2-3 to complete the Atlas Scavenger Hunt (we have used this at home and in a Geography co-op setting).
- Each person/team completing the hunt will need an atlas and a printed copy of the Education Possible Atlas Scavenger Hunt. They will:
- Search through the atlas and use the clues to identify each location from A-Z.
- Write the name of the location in the appropriate box.
- Don’t pass out the answer key! That is provided only if needed.
- To take the learning a step further, consider this optional activity – After identifying each location from A-Z students place and label each location on a printed map.
What you Need to Complete the Atlas Scavenger Hunt:
- World Atlas Scavenger Hunt (The free promotion for this has expired, please enjoy this product at a great low price.)
- Several world atlases – one of our favorites atlases is the National Geographic Student Atlas of the World (yes, your students could find the answers to our hunt online, but for this activity we are suggesting you use a printed atlas to help your children understand how to navigate through the table of contents, maps, index, etc.)
- Printed maps (optional) – our favorite printable maps for this activity are WonderMaps by Bright Ideas Press.
We hope your family has fun learning about atlases!