Jun 25, 2013

Beginning Map Drawing

If you own the Classical Conversations Foundation Guide, hopefully you've checked out the hand-drawn maps by seventh-graders on pages 224, 225, 228, and 229. Wow! Free-hand maps of the continents and entire WORLD! 

I've really wanted to start teaching Mary how to draw maps, but it's always seemed like a mysterious art. And just plain hard! However, I want my girls to learn to do hard things, so, Mary had her first lesson today!

First, I opened up Leigh Bortins's The Core to page 151. After reading her suggestions, this is what I decided to do:

  1. I laminated (back-to-back) pages 7 and 10 of Brandy's incredible Continental Blob Mapping packet from Half a Hundred-Acre Wood. (By the way, did you catch her new list of Cycle 2 geography resources?! WOW! That's what actually inspired me to go ahead and start the map drawing with Mary!)
  2. I showed Mary how to fold a blank piece of letter-sized paper in half the 'hot dog' way and the 'hamburger' way. This, in itself, was no easy task.
  3. She used her pencil to draw a line down each crease, and then she labeled (with abbreviations) the Equator and Prime Meridian.
  4. Then I showed Mary how to line up her Equator with the Equator on page 7 of the packet mentioned above. (I'll use page 10 later)
  5. Using a ruler (for the first time!), she drew the five great circles of latitude onto her paper and labeled them.
  6. That's it! We actually didn't draw any continents today, and we won't for a while. Before we do, we're going to repeat these steps until Mary can set up her map easily on her own. When she has mastered drawing the Prime Meridian and great circles of latitude, then we'll start blobbing the continents.

Here she is continuing the great circle lines from the guide onto her own paper.

And here's her first completed map drawing assignment!

I like what Leigh Bortins has to say about this exercise on page 152 of The Core:

I know this doesn't sound like rigorous academics, but I promise you that it is, especially for children. Here's a short list of some of the skills they have been working on:
  1. Sitting still
  2. Holding a pencil correctly
  3. Drawing straight lines without a ruler (okay, so we're using a ruler for now, no biggie)
  4. Folding paper
I'm lovin' it!


  1. I'm lovin' it too! I've heard a couple of people talk about Blob mapping lately. I'm going to check out that blob mapping pack you linked to. Thanks for sharing these great idea. My son is the same age as your daughter I think, so this would be a great start for him too!

  2. So glad to see another happy blobber out there! If you are interested I have a few video tutorials showing my daughter complete her blobbing exercises and some tricks that worked for us.

    1. Oh, Kristen, I would love to see your blobbing vidoes! Are they on your blog?? Thanks so much! :)


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