|How do we learn about Geography?|
For children in the first grade, geography tends to start on their own street. From there, youngsters develop an awareness that the Earth continues beyond their own town or city, and even their state. In this unit, children will use maps, globes, stories, songs, photographs, and other items to gain a broader appreciation of our planet and the wonders it contains.
What Primary Sources Can Tell Us about Our World
Actual depictions of the planet, as well as representative ones, help us to learn more about our world.
Bird’s Eye View of San Francisco (published in 1858)
Bird's eye view of San Francisco, CA
George H. Goddard of Bristol, England, came to California in 1850 as part of the Gold Rush. His trip took six months aboard a ship that sailed around Cape Horn to San Francisco (see the map on page 18 of your Primary Sources Handbook). Goddard tried to mine gold, but with little luck. His training at Oxford University as an architect prepared him to work as a surveyor, appointed by the state government in Sacramento. He drew an image of San Francisco that, while out of scale, gives an accurate view of how streets were laid out among the hills of the city. Goddard also drew images of Stockton and other places in northern California. He died in Berkeley in 1906.
The Library of Congress Geography and Map Division’s Map Collections: 1500-2004
More than 4.6 million items reside in the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress. Its online Map Collections includes only a fraction of the division’s items, organized into seven categories: Cities and Towns, Conservation and Environment, Discovery and Exploration, Cultural Landscapes, Military Battles and Campaigns, Transportation and Communication, and General Maps. The Library of Congress began collecting maps when it was founded in 1800. Today the Library receives between 100,000 and 120,000 maps and 2,000 atlases each year!
Many Different Kinds of Maps: Making a Classroom Map Collection
1. Distribute a copy of the Goddard drawing to each child. Tell them that the drawing is like a map because it shows San Francisco and its streets as if they were looking at the city from above it, looking from the West toward the East. The drawing also accurately places the city within its geographic setting on the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay.
2. Ask the children to describe details of the map – hills, mountains, ships in the harbor, city streets, San Francisco Bay, the Pacific Ocean, and even buildings.
3. Invite the children to flip through their textbook to find examples of other maps. (A list of maps used in the textbook can be found on pages xi-xii, in the front of the book.) Encourage the children to explain what purpose each of these maps serve. Point out that these are just some examples—but that many other types of maps exist as well.
4. If possible, have on hand a variety of maps for the children to look at. These might include those found in travel brochures, highlighting a particular area; climate maps, such as those found in newspapers; road maps of your community; the floor plan map of a building, such as your school; and maps showing land elevations, such as those given out at some campgrounds.
5. Ask the children to suggest other types of maps they have seen, and where they have seen them. If necessary, prompt the children with questions like these:
6. Encourage the children to bring additional examples
of maps from home to share. Post these on a bulletin board for all to see,
placing those that serve a similar purpose near one another.
Additional Primary Sources
Image credits: a. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division: G4364.S5A3 1868 .G6; b. Siede Preis/Getty Images