I had already had the fourth grade students practice their map skills by using atlases and recording their findings with their tablets. I asked them to find several cities that they are required to know for their state social studies standards.
They used the index and photographed it with their tablets and then found the location on the map in the atlas and also took a picture of their partner pointing to the city. When they finished they brought their tablet to me and we just swiped through the photos to prove they had completed their assignment. No trees were destroyed in this activity! They love using their tablets (we are a 1:1 school).
Google Maps Meet Laminated Maps
These students are also required to be able to locate some natural features such as the Great Basin, Death Valley, the Great Lakes, etc. I found that many times the atlases don’t list these features in the index! I tried to think of a way for the students to show me they could locate these places.
We have a large stack of laminated maps, with the U.S. on one side and the world on the other. Partner that with a dry erase marker and a tablet and we have a fun hands-on activity.
I modeled using Google on my large screen to find a map for one of the features. I asked the students how they could figure out what state the feature was in and at least one student per class told me to zoom out by clicking on the minus sign (not all of them knew that, however). Then we made a mark on the spot and labeled it with a dry erase marker.
I paired them up and they took their tablet, a map and a marker. I listed the locations they needed to find on a large white board. They really had fun with this activity. I don’t know if it was using their tablet in the library or the dry erase marker!