Thursday, September 13, 2012
Connect With Maps
“For some minutes Alice stood without speaking, looking out in all directions over the country – and a most curious country it was… ‘I declare it’s marked out just like a large chessboard!’” Lewis Carroll
There is a geography app game for children (and adults) that help to learn about world countries. Three sections ask questions such as language or landmarks or capitals, and then there is another that is by shape only. You have to identify the country by its image, like a puzzle piece.
Two things surprised me while playing with my five-year-old grandson. One, how much I’d forgotten about world geography factually, and two, that it was almost impossible for me to identify a country based on shape only. However after playing the game only a few times, my grandson had almost instant recall on all the shapes and a high percentage of recall on flags. Whenever it was my turn he cheerfully showed me the right answers. The game has become a mutual teaching opportunity, as I in turn help share with the capitals. At least I had one high area to succeed in.
The ability to step back and see the landscape through an unexpected image opens up a flow of possible thematic and plot ideas that might not have occurred otherwise. It gives us a chance to stop and play again with our creativity, especially as we move deeper in the middle of the story, which sometimes becomes sluggish and difficult to navigate.
Twists and turns, ragged edges and soft flowing lines turn into new metaphors, new possibilities and new connotations to explore. What symbolism can we apply to a land that is shaped like a chessboard, or a stone dragon, or a blue marble?
1. Take different portions of the map you are using for your world. Make copies. Then ignore all the names and usual details and instead find shapes within in. Draw random lines around them.
2. Color-code them.
3. Or draw a shape over a section of the map and then look closely to see what is highlighted within that section. Color-code the new details.
Share: What perspective or theme or metaphor did you discover in your map world by seeing it as shape only.