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Study of Maps

March 31, 2021 | Bridget O'Dowd

The past few weeks, the kindergarten has been learning about maps! This social studies unit helps us as we transition to learning about ourselves and our community to expand our views and learn more about the similarities and differences we share with other children in the world.


We begun by sharing what we already know about maps.


We knew that they can tell you where to go. We know that pirates use maps to hide their treasure. We shared about maps we have seen before.


An airplane was built in drama. The children could be a pilot, a co-pilot, or a passenger. After a day of the passenger just enjoying the flight, a beverage service was requested.


The co-pilot is in charge of the map. They tell the pilot where to fly the plane. Some places they have been traveling: Brazil, Australia, Africa, Pokemon Land, Mexico, and Illinois. Quite the flight itinerary!


Then we began to look at different types of maps together. We looked at maps of Church Square Park, Hoboken, New Jersey, United States, and finally the whole world.


We noticed different colors and pictures on maps.

We attempted making our own maps! Treasure maps were a favorite topic so with a partner, the children hid a small treasure in the classroom and had to make a map of the classroom marking where it was. Once the children swapped maps, they found their hidden treasure!

Then we made maps of our own homes or rooms and got to share it with our classmates. They made sure to include the shape of furniture and rooms and labeled each place too!

We decided to consult with an expert to answer some of our questions. Luckily, Ms. O’Dowd’s brother is a geography major. Mr. Faley is a senior at Augustana College in Illinois. He answered some of our burning questions.

  • How can you tell what each place is on the map?
  • Why are maps so colorful?
  • How do people know if a map is a treasure map?
  • Why and when were maps invented?
  • Why is the globe a sphere?

The children also asked Mr. Faley how he uses maps. We were excited to find out that he has made maps and he even showed us one he made. We learned the word cartographer and what a cartographer does.  One child asked when he started learning about maps. He told us be started when he was 18 but was interested in maps since he was in kindergarten, just like us!

Bridget O'Dowd

Ms. O’Dowd came to Mustard Seed in 2017, after moving to Hoboken in 2016. She found a school and a community all in one package at Mustard Seed! Having taught kindergarten in Illinois before moving to New Jersey, Ms. O’Dowd has a passion for five-year-olds. She’s delighted to be a part of the kindergarten team and loves to read and share in story with students. Her favorite moment of the day is during a good read aloud, when she looks out and sees the faces of children showing empathy and emotion in response to the story. Ms. O’Dowd’s hobbies include exploring new neighborhoods, watching BBC documentaries, traveling to visit family, and eating her way through New York City.

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