In 1934, Lucy Sprague Mitchell called for teachers and students to make maps in order to better understand the world around them. Her inquiry method is still critical to developing geographic thinking in students and can be extended further. Map making can not only clarify relationships in our environments, it can also be used to develop students’ abilities in perspective taking. Making maps, sharing and juxtaposing of maps can support students in understanding that others experience the world differently. Maps can tell stories of our experiences in space that can expand our understanding of one another. This understanding of a map maker’s perspective extends to all maps and becomes a critical piece in students’ analysis of these contemporary and historical resources.

Author Biography

Abigail Kerlin

Abigail Kerlin is a member of the Teaching and Learning faculty at Bank Street College of Education where she teaches courses in Curriculum Development and Geography and serves as the Director of General Education programs.

Ellen McCrum

Ellen McCrum works as a coach/educational consultant and is an adjunct at Bank Street where she advises in the Math Leadership program and teaches Geography.

Kerlin and McCrum began their careers at the same public school, PS 234 in Manhattan. During their time at the school, they collaborated with colleagues to develop inquiry based Social Studies curricula, learned to harness students’ curiosity about their world to drive learning, and help students see themselves as researchers of their own environments. McCrum and Kerlin have collaborated as Geography instructors for over a decade, exploring the power of mapping experiences to support teachers and students in developing geographic thinking. They are continuing to research how pedagogical tools like juxtaposition of maps can deepen students’ geographic understandings at all ages.



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