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MapZone® is a totally free, bright and lively web site produced by Ordnance Survey that aims to teach children, between 7 and 16 years, mapping skills in a fun way. This free resource offers interactive play with stimulating questions and answers together with animations and games to make the structured learning process a joy to come back to. Best viewed at a screen setting of 800 by 600 pixels and by downloading two small free software packages, Macromedia Flash Player and Macromedia Shockwave Player from the Macromedia site http://www.macromedia.com/downloads/, the site will be enjoyed at its maximum.
Homework help is a fully interactive site promoting a fun learning approach to map-reading skills covered by Key Stage 3 of the National Curriculum Geography programme in England and Wales (years 7–9) and the Framework for Environmental Studies People and Place strand in Scotland (years P7–S2).
What's in Homework Help?
The site is divided into several zones, each accessible from the home page – a virtual teenage bedroom.
MapAbility is a series of interactive activities and printable resources equipping children with basic mapping skills, covering map symbols, compasses and direction; grid references, relief and contour lines; measuring distance, compass bearings and understanding scale.
MapSchool focuses on the use of maps in both human and physical aspects of geography. Children are encouraged to find and interpret map evidence, using case studies of actual map sections from urban and mountainous areas. This section may in the future be expanded to cover more curriculum subjects such as using maps in history and mathematics.
MapTivity is a series of exercises designed to put children's newly acquired map skills to the test, covering map symbols, grid references, compasses and directions as well as understanding scale. Questions answered correctly during the exercises reward children with the chance to play fun, map-related games.
TeacherZone contains useful information for teachers on Homework Help and how it may be applied in the classroom.
ParentZone explains the role that maps play in children's learning between the ages of 11 and 14 and how Homework Help can contribute. It also includes a guide for parents planning walks with their children, including links to the country code, safety issues, the Met Office and a useful link to the Ordnance Survey product web site.
Resources boasts an interactive mapping tool, known as MapBuilder, that allows the design and construction of maps for use as an integral part of lesson plans or just for educational fun. There are three free versions covering Great Britain, Europe and the World. Also included is a downloadable version of the Map reading made easy leaflet, produced by Ordnance Survey to help children with their map-reading skills. The full range of printable resources from our MapAbility section is also available here.
Geograph.org.uk This website is an on-line photo library. All the images on the site can be used freely within the classroom and for personal use. You can also upload you own photos for any grid square in the British Isles. If yours is the first picture for a particular grid square you will have ‘bagged’ this square and you picture will be the first that visitors see. Currently there are over 1,000,000 images available to view and download form the site. All images are geo-referenced with Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 mapping.
It is aimed at Key Stage 3 to 4 students with elements appropriate to Key Stage 2.
Just as Homework Help is an online learning tool for map reading and paper mapping, so GIS Zone takes you through the various aspects of digital information and how this can be combined and displayed in a more meaningful and visual way.
The site starts with a definition of GIS, using visuals and animations to help. It covers the reasons why so much in life depends on the use of GIS; the benefits of using it and some of the key components that make up GIS such as hardware, software, databases, digital mapping and imagery.
This is followed up with case studies, including activity sheets for teaching.
Also included are valuable interactive exercises or missions in the form of educational games. These give students the chance to put into practice what has been learned in the previous sections. There is not always a single solution to these games, so this promotes discussion when the various results are compared.
Finally there are parent and teacher areas, supporting resources and an information section.
This is home to MapZone's brilliant free games selection. Many of the games are educational but all are great fun to play. The educational games can also be found through the Tools section located on the bottom navigation. New games are regularly added so make sure you don't miss out on the fun.