Saturday, January 26, 2013

Flat Pin Maps

I am nearing the end of my Elementary Montessori training, with hopes of starting an Elementary classroom soon.  I'm currently working on the Cultural Geography album.  It has been fascinating watching the progression of materials from Primary into Elementary.  I spend a great deal of time working on the Puzzle Maps in my Primary classroom.  By age four, most of the students have mastered the World Puzzle Map and can locate and name all of the continents.  By mid-kindergarten, many of the students have created their own maps and are now choosing to memorize the countries.  The progression of materials into Elementary is absolutely seamless.  Not only do these 6, 7, and 8-year-olds memorize the countries, they also memorize all of the capital cities and flags.  The primary piece of material used to teach these concepts is known as the Flat Pin Maps.  This might be a nice material for homeschooling parents to consider when facing the task of teaching the world's countries and capitals.  Obviously, this material is an investment (when purchasing all of the continents), and I look forward to the day when my school has access to this tremendous resource.  Here is a link to the Pin Maps of North America only.
These Pin Maps come four maps to a set: 3 control maps and 1 working map.  The working map has borders that are shown, but the map is not labeled. There are three holes in each country.  The other maps are used as a control.  One is labeled with the names of the countries, one with the capital cities, and the third shows the flag for each country.  The maps come with small plastic flags on pins.  The red set includes the names of the countries, the green set has the names of the capitals, the third set contains miniature colored flags.  The elementary child locates, labels, and names the countries, capitals, and flags.  Primary teachers could also use this material in their classroom, but I would put out only the country map with pins at first.  They could eventually work up to the flags, but I haven't met a kindergartner who was ready to memorize the capital cities.