Make Map Skills Relevant To Students

Teaching map skills in the special education classroom can be challenging. Often times it is a very abstract concept. This activity makes map skills relevant to special needs students!

As part of our life skills curriculum, we practice being able to state personal information every single day. We work on answering the questions in random order and from a variety of people in hopes that students will be able to use these skills if needed in the community. 

To prep this activity, we blow up a map that has all of the different towns my class lives in on it. It is a pain to enlarge the map and piece it all together. If possible, I highly recommend laminating your map so you can use it over and over!

Step 1: Ask all of your students to bring in a photo of their house. Tip: if a student doesn't bring in their photo, go to Google maps street view and you can screen shot a picture of their house. Once we have collected all of the pictures, the students take turns standing in front of the class and showing the class their picture and stating their address. 

You can also use these pictures as a way to target language skills. Have the class ask questions about the child's house. For example, "Do you have stairs in your house?" The child holding the picture can also describe the house for the class. For example, "My house is tan with a white door." 

Next, we find our school and mark it with a star sticker. Students then come up one by one to find the town they live in. We tape a string or yarn from the house picture to where they live on the map. Here is what our finished map looks like:

It is a fun and relevant way to make map skills come to life for the students. They LOVE seeing their house picture up on the wall and begin to get a better idea of where everyone lives.

How do you teach map skills in your class?

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