Phase explanation: Only after students have explored the concept or skill does the teacher provide the concepts and terms used by the students to develop explanations for the phenomenon they have experienced. The significant aspect of this phase is that explanation follows experience.

Using a Map

The next session saw both grade levels recreate a race track by only using a map. It was a powerful first-hand experience of the benefits of maps.

The Grade 5 students swapped maps of their tracks and then rebuilt another group's race track. To do this they layed out a grid on the classroom floor with masking tape. They then built the tracks using Base 10 materials. Once completed their track was shown to the original creators of the track who judged how successful the build was.

The Grade 2 students drew a grid overlay on top of their paper tracks. This in effect changed their tracks to maps. One of the maps was chosen by the grade to be built on the classroom floor. A large grid was made using masking tape. The children were reminded of scale drawings - referring to the popular childrens' scaling drawing activity (see the last photo). This was the connection with the challenge of 'scaling' up the paper track onto the classroom floor grid. The track was built using Base 10 longs.

For both grades discussion drew out the powerful nature of maps: maps can transmit detailed information across time and be used by people other than the authors of the map. Maps also use scale, giving the ability to change the size of the map itself, and yet retain the critical dimensions and shape of the content, in this case the race tracks.

Another benefit for both grades was the use of labelling grid coordinates (ABC123 etc). On both occassions this was not introduced by the teacher and yet independently the students wrote coordinates on the maps they were using to help them place the track accurately. Discussion followed to highlight to all students the benefits coordinates give, as well as the use of both letters and numbers to avoid confusion.

Grade 5 photos:
Laying a masking tape grid

Laying the track down.

Lots of discussion and decisions.

Building a track from the map.

Grade 2 photos:

Marking out grid lines onto the paper.

Ruling grid lines.

Track with grid overlay.

Proud track creators!

Building a large track from the map.

Everyone is involved.

Next Page
Example of a scaling drawing activity