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When is the last time you pulled out a road map or a road atlas to find your way to an unfamiliar destination? Did you know April 4th marks the beginning of National Road Map Week? In the age of GPS devices and smart phones, it’s still a valuable skill to be able to read a map well and find your way. Today’s Geography Quest: Road Map Edition!
Map Alternate Local Routes
How much do your kids pay attention to the area around them when you drive around town? Are they familiar with the routes you take from here to there?
- Have your kids map an alternate way to everyday places.
- Determine the distance to local destinations by using the street map.
- Identify landmarks along the way. Use the map to see the ones the map maker puts on the map.
- Put up a “road block” and see how many other ways they could find their way home from a favorite spot in town.
Map Routes to Relatives
Do you have far away family members? Do you regularly travel to your family or origin? We are the lone branch of both of our families who live in NY state. We must travel to see family.
- Map several ways to get to grandparent’s homes.
- Draw the route to visit the family member furthest away.
- Determine the time and distance of each family member’s house from yours.
- Choose the best scenic route for a family member’s home.
- Find the most practical way to get to that family member’s home.
- Seek out a route with a desired stop along the way– tell why you’d like to visit there.
Map Routes to Favorite Destinations
Have your kids always wanted to visit someplace in the U.S.? They can map the route to any of the following:
- Favorite amusement park
- The camp they want to attend this summer
- A trip to the beach
- The state they’d most like to visit
- Their favorite restaurant
- Map the route of your favorite vacation spot for the summer
Teach Road Map Symbols
Remember any road map symbols? Here are some to keep in mind:
- Interstate vs US route signs– Do you know the secret of the number system for Interstate highways? If not, see if you can notice a pattern or look it up!
- Mile markers– There are numbers on a map which denote mileage
- Distance key– This shows how many miles an inch is (or so)
- Highway/roadway lines– Denotes whether something is local, state, or feder highway by the type of line that it is
- Physical Features– like lakes, mountains, etc
- City & Town– Depicts how big a town is and distinguishes the state capitol from other cities and towns
A road atlas is still a great tool to have around even when a GPS is so much easier. Maps won’t fail you like technology sometimes can.
When is the last time you picked up and read a map of your state? Or a road atlas?